Leo Strauss is known to many people as a thinker of the right, who inspired hawkish views on national security and perhaps advocated war without limits. Moving beyond gossip and innuendo about Strauss's followers and the Bush administration, this book provides the first comprehensive analysis of Strauss's writings on political violence, considering also what he taught in the classroom on this subject. In stark contrast to popular perception, Strauss emerges as a man of peace, favorably disposed to international law and skeptical of imperialism - a critic of radical ideologies who warns of the dangers to free thought and civil society when intellectuals ally themselves with movements that advocate violence. Robert Howse provides new readings of Strauss's confrontation with fascist/Nazi jurist Carl Schmitt, his debate with Alexandre Kojeve about philosophy and tyranny, and his works on Machiavelli and Thucydides and examines Strauss's lectures on Kant's Perpetual Peace and Grotius's Rights of War and Peace.
Robert Howse is the Lloyd C. Nelson Professor of International Law at New York University Law School, where he serves on the advisory board of the Center for Law and Philosophy. He has taught as a visiting professor at Harvard University, the University of Paris I (Pantheon-Sorbonne), and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and has previously held positions at the University of Michigan and the University of Toronto. His publications include, with Bryan-Paul Frost, the translation of the interpretative essay for Alexandre Kojeve's Outline of a Phenomenology of Right and The Federal Vision: Legitimacy and Levels of Governance in the US and the EU, co-edited with Kalypso Nicolaidis, as well as several articles on twentieth-century political thinkers, including Strauss, Kojeve and Schmitt.
1. Introduction: reopening the case of Leo Strauss; 2. Warrior morality and the fate of civilization: Strauss's encounter with Carl Schmitt and German nihilism; 3. Legitimacy and legality, thinking and ruling in the closed society and the world state: the Strauss/Kojeve debate; 4. Strauss's Machiavelli: fallen angel and theoretical man; 5. Thucydides versus Machiavelli: a moral-political horizon of war and law; 6. Justice and progress: Strauss's assessment of modern international law; 7. Conclusion.