Repost-Via C-SPAN-The Historical Context Of Allan Bloom

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Thanks to a reader.

Quite a varied discussion on Bloom’s surprise 1987 bestseller: ‘The Closing Of The American Mind

Does rock/popular music corrupt the souls of youth in preventing them from evening-out the passions; from pursuing higher things that a quality humanities education can offer?

Might such a lack allow political ideology to offer young people something to do, something to be, and something of which to be a part?

A questioning of premises, with varied disagreement, including that from an Emersonian.

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Heather McDonald At The WSJ: ‘ The Humanities Have Forgotten Their Humanity’

-Update And Repost- From YouTube: Leo Strauss On The Meno-More On The Fact/Value Distinction?’

Repost-From Darwinian Conservatism: ‘Nietzsche–Aristocratic Radical or Aristocratic Liberal?’

-Update And Repost: ‘A Few Thoughts On Allan Bloom–The Nietzsche / Strauss Connection’

Various Products Of Radical Reason And Reactions To Them- John Gray At The New Statesman

Repost-Roger Scruton At The New Atlantis: ‘Scientism In The Arts & Humanities’

From YouTube: Leo Strauss On The Meno-More On The Fact/Value Distinction?


Via a reader, a supplemental lecture (part of a course) on Strauss’ three waves of modernity:

Strauss briefly highlighted (about 40 years ago now in this video) what he saw as two intellectually/academically predominant ways of approaching political philosophy that have rejected it as a pursuit of the good:

1. Positivism-“The only form of genuine knowledge is scientific knowledge…and science knows only facts, or relations of facts.”-Video 1-Minute 4:40

Outside of (S)cience, you are only discussing values, or relations of ideas which are less than factual, and thus perhaps not knowable (or certainly not with the same claim upon (T)ruth).  Of course, this doesn’t prevent people from pursuing “The Great Society,” or “The Open Society” or other ideas which likely influence politics in the wake of positivism…but it can prevent the kind of project Strauss wanted to pursue.

Strauss also brings up:

2. Historicism-:  “All human thought, including scientific thought, rests ultimately on premises, which cannot be validated by human reason, and which change from historical epoch to historical epoch.”-Video 2-Minute 4:10.

This is mostly a critique of Hegel and absolute idealism.

From Aristotle to Locke, thinkers have presented really different and conflicting ideas on what a good society ought to be.  Historicism suggests that this is because they lived in different times, with different problems.  So, as you look back upon history you must see them as part of their contexts/cultures/times.  Yet, in so doing, the lens with which you understand their times assumes that you can have an absolute knowledge of time itself.

Paradoxically, like Hegel, you are then claiming to have absolute knowledge but also claiming that you can’t have absolute knowledge within the bounds of reason (or claiming that there are absolute ideas, however unknowable).

The Meno here.

Just a few ideas. Your thoughts and comments are welcome.

See Also On This Site:  From The Weekly Standard: Harvey Mansfield Reviews Paul Rahe’s “Soft Despotism, Democracy’s Drift”

Also, if Strauss relies so much on the reason/revelation distinction, and heavily on Plato and philosophical idealism (as opposed to empiricism, say) does he miss some of what that tradition has meant for political freedom in the U.S.?  Harry Jaffa At The Claremont Institute: ‘Leo Strauss, the Bible, and Political Philosophy’

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