Modernity and What Has Been Lost

Paper $28
256 pages, 6" x 9", introduction, notes

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Modernity and What Has Been Lost

Considerations on the Legacy of Leo Strauss

Armada, Pawel and Gornisiewicz, Arkadiusz, editors

Modernity and What Has Been Lost comes out of a conference held at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland, on June 4–5, 2009 that sought to identify Leo Strauss’s intellectual background in re: the repudiation of a modern idea of homogenous, universal state (considered as an illegitimate synthesis of Jerusalem and Athens, i.e., the claims of Reason and Revelation). The world we live in, molded by science and historical relativism, may be described as hostile to human dignity or perfection, or abhorrent to those who love the search for wisdom. Straussian teaching consisted in the steady effort to reopen “the quarrel between the Ancients and the Moderns,” and refers to the esoteric way of writing practiced by the most profound thinkers of the past which has been apparently forgotten in the last three centuries. Strauss binds the concept of natural right with the question of maintenance of conditions for philosophizing, and it probably seems to him that such defense of philosophy is the highest task in our times.

However, one must be well aware that philosophizing always means a perilous way of life. Indeed, it may be destructive of the city (polis) itself as far as the city exists due to some crucial beliefs the philosopher might put in doubt. Reflecting on those issues, Strauss engaged in several highly important debates with his contemporaries, in an open way with, e.g., Carl Schmitt, Karl Löwith and Alexandre Kojève, and more tacitly with Martin Heidegger.