“Reopening the Quarrel between the Ancients and the Moderns: Leo Strauss’s Critique of Hobbes’s ‘New Political Science'”

Devin Stauffer, The American Political Science Review, v. 101, no. 2 (May, 2007): 223-233

Abstract: Leo Strauss’s greatest project was his attempt to resurrect classical political philosophy by reawakening the quarrel between the ancients and the moderns. This essay illuminates Strauss’s view of that quarrel by considering a crucial stage in the development of his understanding of the most important differences between ancient and modern political philosophy. Strauss’s critique of Hobbes in The Political Philosophy of Hobbes culminates in a striking comparison of Hobbes’s distinctively modern approach to political philosophy with the approach of Plato and Aristotle. By examining Strauss’s critique of Hobbes’s “new political science,” this essay brings out the view of the deficiencies in modern political philosophy that led Strauss to conceive of the possibility of a genuine return to classical thought.