Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Ius Honorarium is reading Richard L. Velkley’s Heidegger, Strauss, and the Premises of Philosophy
[A]ccording to Velkley, there is a “convergence” in the thought of Heidegger of Strauss on the question of Being and the recovery of philosophy from the grips of modern metaphysics. Strauss learned from Heidegger that a return to the ancients was possible, but the manner and meaning of this return took on a different degree of importance in Strauss’ thought. Both men wanted to wrest free of “the tradition” of Western philosophy, but from Strauss’ view, only he was, presumably, successful. Heidegger remained within the orbit of history and thus missed the radicality of philosophy’s questioning. “Being” may have remained mysterious in Heidegger, but the “access point”—if one can call it that—, that is, philosophy, was still apparent. Philosophy could be, in Heidegger’s hands (or the hands of his epigones), abstracted to the level of a “method” for recovering the answers to Being’s riddles. From Velkley’s vantage point, it is this aspect of Heidegger’s thought which Strauss disapproved of and critiqued. As such, Strauss’ (in)famous critique of historicism, memorialized on the opening chapter of Nature Right and History, is not a critique of Heidegger’s thought on moral grounds, i.e., on the basis that Heideggarian historicism leads to nihilism, but rather than it obscures philosophy’s unrelenting cross examination of all nomos, no matter how “sacred.”
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