Esoteric philosophy: Leo Strauss and sociolinguistics

Science and Philosophy 7 (2):27-48 (2019)
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Leo Strauss’ controversial theory of esoteric philosophy, as presented in Persecution and the Art of Writing, sparked a fierce debate. Opponents and proponents of the theory utilised a wide range of perspectives to support their arguments. By investigating esoteric philosophy from a sociolinguistic perspective, this paper introduces a novel perspective to the Strauss dispute. In PAW Strauss is mistaken regarding esotericism and its role in philosophy. On one hand it is reasonable to endorse Strauss’ persuasive account on the origins of esoteric writing. The Straussian account provides a plausible sociological background as to why philosophy, per se became an esoteric fliedH. On the other hand it seems as Strauss ascribed undue significance to possible clandestine massages that may be found within works of philosophy because philosophy is mostly already done in an esoteric linguistic space.


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