Leo Strauss, Political Science, and the Trouble with a “Great Books” Approach to the Study of Politics

In: Journal of the Philosophy of History
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  • 1 Department of Political Science, Pepperdine University

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I argue that Leo Strauss’s critique of political science has been deeply misunderstood. Moreover, once the true nature of Strauss’s critique is clarified, I argue that he does not provide a viable alternative to contemporary political science. Instead, his philosophy has mostly justified a “great books” approach to the study of politics, which has contributed to the self-isolation of political theory from the rest of political science. Political theorists should seek new ways forward that more substantively engage the concerns of the mainstream of the discipline.

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