Sunday, October 12, 2014

Leo Strauss on Natural Law

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For Aristotle there is harmony between the laws of society and natural law.
For Plato and Socrates, there is a tension.

Strauss concedes that Plato or Socrates, Cicero or even Aristotle never formulated their doctrines on natural law as clearly as Saint Thomas who does not leave room for any doubt.

Strauss thinks that this absence of doubt may have led to the disaster of Europe´s 20th century, when two macro ideologies tried to exterminate each other.

Strauss did not believe that philosophy could on its own construe  laws acceptable to all the people on Earth.

Ratzinger said the same in his debate with Habermas, when he was not yet the Pope but just a controversial cardinal of his Church: we cannot all accept the same basic points.

Strauss considers universal harmony on basic matters impossible (and maybe not desirable either), and he thinks that therefore Revelation has to remain present as a continuous reminder to philosophy. -- As used by Strauss, who is Jewish, the term Revelation refers to the books surrounding the Decalogue, i.e. the first part of the Bible, not its last book.

However, this would not mean that when life gets tough you must google the Bible for advice, but remain open to its literally wider horizon.

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Quote

 
Leo Strauss

 “The Thomistic doctrine of natural right or, more generally expressed, of natural law is free from the hesitations and ambiguities which are characteristic of the teachings, not only of Plato and Cicero, but of Aristle as well…. No doubt is left…” (History of Natural Right, p. 163).

Stanford Encyclopedia
The Platonic-Socratic view of natural right points to the philosopher's lack of inner attachment to the laws of society.
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/strauss-leo/

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