Leo Strauss's Critique of Martin Heidegger

Title: Leo Strauss's Critique of Martin Heidegger
Authors: Tkach, David W.
Date: 2011
Abstract: While remaining rooted in a comparison of some of the primary texts of the thinkers under scrutiny, my thesis also discusses several issues which arise in the mutual consideration of Heidegger and Strauss, specifically the questions of the ontological and political status of nature, the problem of ‘first philosophy,’ and the method by which to interpret philosophical texts, as well as a continuous analysis of Strauss’s appellation of ‘modern,’ as opposed to ‘ancient,’ and ‘religious,’ as opposed to ‘philosophical,’ to Heidegger’s thought. I first consider every moment in Strauss’s corpus where he discusses Heidegger’s thought. From this discussion, I identify four main lines of critique which may be extracted from Strauss’s writings on Heidegger. Then, I turn to Heidegger’s texts themselves in order to determine if Strauss’s critique indeed finds purchase there, addressing each of the lines of critique in turn. Finally, I consider Strauss and Heidegger in tandem, in light of the three questions identified above. I show that many of what Strauss determines to be Heidegger’s errors arose as a result of the way that Heidegger read ancient philosophical texts, and I suggest that Strauss’s approach, i.e., to consider the possible esoteric meaning of a text, in fact permits the reader to access an interpretation that is truer to the textual phenomena. This claim, however, is not intended to obscure the remarkable similarities between each thinker’s respective interpretive methods. I conclude that Strauss’s critique of Heidegger, vehement as it is, also indicates Strauss’s dependence on Heidegger’s thought for the inspiration of Strauss’s own philosophical project. The relation between Strauss and Heidegger, then, remains profoundly ambiguous.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/19809
CollectionThèses, 2009 - // Theses, 2009 -