Leo Strauss: 15 Political Philosophy Courses Online


In 1949, Leo Strauss, the Ger­man-Jew­ish emi­gré, land­ed at The Uni­ver­si­ty of Chica­go, where he spent decades teach­ing and writ­ing on polit­i­cal phi­los­o­phy, espe­cial­ly the polit­i­cal thought of the Ancients. Strauss’ think­ing skewed con­ser­v­a­tive, and if he was some­times con­tro­ver­sial while alive, he has become only more so in death (1973). Nowa­days he’s con­sid­ered right­ly or wrong­ly the “intel­lec­tu­al god­fa­ther of the neo-con­ser­v­a­tive polit­i­cal move­ment,” if not an “intel­lec­tu­al force behind the Bush admin­is­tra­tion’s plan to invade Iraq.” Although Strauss com­ment­ed occa­sion­al­ly on con­tem­po­rary pol­i­tics (Harper’s has more on that), he spent most of his time work­ing through major philo­soph­i­cal texts, and through his com­men­taries, devel­op­ing his own philo­soph­i­cal posi­tions, which were gen­er­al­ly hos­tile to the Enlight­en­ment project and mod­ern individualism/liberalism.

Strauss was unques­tion­ably an influ­en­tial fig­ure even if he still divides us, and now, cour­tesy of U. Chica­go, you can lis­ten to 15 of his phi­los­o­phy sem­i­nars online. They were record­ed between 1959 and 1973, and some rep­re­sen­ta­tive titles include Montesquieu’s The Spir­it of the Laws (a course that Paul Wol­fowitz took dur­ing the ear­ly 70s), Niet­zsche’s Beyond Good and Evil, Hobbes’ Leviathan, and Hegel’s The Phi­los­o­phy of His­to­ry.

More sem­i­nars will be com­ing online. For now, we have cat­a­logued all 15 exist­ing sem­i­nars in the Phi­los­o­phy sec­tion of our big col­lec­tion of 1100 Free Online Cours­es.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Wal­ter Kaufmann’s Lec­tures on Niet­zsche, Kierkegaard and Sartre (1960)

Phi­los­o­phy with John Sear­le: Three Free Cours­es

Exis­ten­tial­ism with Hubert Drey­fus: Four Free Phi­los­o­phy Cours­es

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