Thoughts on Leo Strauss's Interpretation of Aristotle's Natural Right Teaching

The Review of Politics 78 (3):419-442 (2016)
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Abstract

The essay discusses the interpretation of Aristotle's natural right teaching by Leo Strauss. This interpretation ought to be seen as the result of an investigation into the history of philosophy and of an attempt to philosophically address political problems. By virtue of this twofold origin, the Straussian commentary is unorthodox: it deviates from traditional Aristotelianism (Aquinas and Averroes) and it seems alien to the text of the Nicomachean Ethics. Strauss's criticism of medieval variants results from their incapacity—shared by contemporary political thought—to address a perplexing issue: political exception. He sees in Aristotle's political teaching a way to escape from this failure: the unification, in natural right, of the requirements of statesmanship and ethics. The discovery of this way allowed Strauss to produce an interpretation of natural right that articulates important points pertaining to Aristotelian political science.

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André Luiz Cruz Sousa
Universidade Estadual de Maringá

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