Carl Schmitt and Leo Strauss: The Hidden Dialogue
Author(s): Heinrich Meier
In 1928, German philosopher Carl Schmitt published The Concept of the Political. It quickly became one of the most influential works of political philosophy published and remains a classic. In 1932, a young student of political theory named Leo Strauss published a critique of Concept and over the next two years, wrote several letters to Schmitt questioning aspects of his argument. Schmitt never answered Strauss's letters, but in his revision of the book, he changed a number of passages in response to Strauss's criticisms without even acknowledging them. In this volume, Heinrich Meier shows what this remarkable ''hidden dialogue'' reveals about the development of these two seminal thinkers.At the center of the dialogue, Meier argues, was the mutual attempt to define exactly what politics is and how it relates to the philosophical tradition and to modern society. Taking Hobbes's ''war of all against all'' as his inspiration, Schmitt challenged contemporary liberal society's unwillingness to admit that politics was literally ''a matter of life and death.'' Meier's book insightfully reveals how Strauss's critique forced Schmitt to see that the Hobbesian state was, instead, the very foundation of the liberalism he so despised.
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