Timofey Dmitriev 1
  • 1 National Research University Higher School of Economics, 20 Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation

The debate about the foundations of the political; or, Leo Strauss versus Carl Schmitt

2012, vol. 11, No. 3, pp. 26–40 [issue contents]

Schmitt and Strauss are often discussed in literature as if their conceptions of political had nothing in common. But as the author shows, Heinrich Meier careful study of the relation between Schmitt and Strauss tells us that the three editions of Schmitt’s Concept of Political and Strauss’ Comments (1932) may be seen as largely overlooked “hidden dialogue”. In his Comments Strauss highly praised Schmitt for his affirmation of political and its constututive role in the human existence in the face of its liberal negation. For Schmitt, the fundamental problem of liberalism was that it denounces the distinction between political, economy and morality and reduces the political to these other dimensions of human life. So understood, modern liberalism has a tendency to deny the sovereignity of the state and the existence of political as a higher instance of the human existence. Strauss’ main disagreement with Schmitt in this “hidden dialogue” was that his critique of liberalism was not radical enough because Schmitt failed to recognise that not philosophers of Enlightenment but Hobbes was actually the “founder of liberalism” and the apologist of the “idea of civilization”. According to Strauss, the first step in the radical critique of liberalism begins with the recognition of the naturalness of political, but such a step pressuposes the return to the classical vision of politics. Therefore in his discussion and critique of Schmitt’s Concept of Political Strauss defences the naturalness of the political and attempts to understand and defend the Socratic way of life as the realization of the philosophical love of truth.

Citation: Dmitriev Timofey (2012) Spor ob osnovakh politicheskogo: Leo Shtraus versus Karl Shmitt [The debate about the foundations of the political; or, Leo Strauss versus Carl Schmitt] The Russian Sociological Review, 3, pp. 26-40 (in Russian)
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