Dictionary of Arguments


Philosophical and Scientific Issues in Dispute
 
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Disputed term/author/ism Author
Entry
Reference
Darwinism Strauss Pfotenhauer IV 42
Darwinism/Strauss, Fr. D.: (D. Fr. Strauss, Der alte und neue Glaube, 1872, 2nd edition Leipzig, 1904, in particular p. 60ff) thesis: following Darwin's example, it can be shown that all events have always been a higher development, that even without a rational minded creator the world follows a continuously executed overall plan. For in blind natural phenomena and the worst of coincidences, only the more viable will prevail in the end, which for Strauss also means morally better things. ---
Pfotenhauer IV 43
NietzscheVsStrauss: In contrast, Nietzsche reminds us of "the nameless sufferings of humanity", which inadvertently scorn such "truly nefarious ways of thinking", (F: Nietzsche, David Strauss der Bekenner und Schriftsteller, 6; Nietzsche KGW III, 1, p. 188) this "shameless philistine optimism" (p. 187).

StraussDFr I
David Friedrich Strauss
Der alte und der neue Glaube Hamburg 2012


Pfot I
Helmut Pfotenhauer
Die Kunst als Physiologie. Nietzsches ästhetische Theorie und literarische Produktion. Stuttgart 1985
Hermeneutics Strauss Gadamer I 300
Hermeneutics/Code/Leo Strauss/Gadamer: There is one exception to this anticipation of perfection: the case of misplaced or encrypted writing. This case poses the most difficult hermeneutical problems.(1) This exceptional case of hermeneutic behaviour is of exemplary importance in that here the pure interpretation of meaning is transgressed in the same direction as when historical source criticism goes back behind tradition. Although this is not a historical but a hermeneutical task, it can only be solved by using a factual understanding as the key. Only then can the disguise be deciphered - just as one understands irony in conversation to the degree that one is in fact in agreement with the other. The apparent exception thus confirms all the more that understanding implies agreement.
GadamerVsStrauss: Whether Strauss is always right in carrying out his principle, for example in Spinoza, is doubtful to me. "Disguise" implies a maximum of consciousness. Accomodation, conformism, etc. do not have to be conscious. In my opinion, Strauss did not pay enough attention to this.(2) ((s) Cf. >Radical Interpretation).


1. Leo Strauss in: Persecution and the Art of Writing).
2. Cf. a. a. O. , p. 223ff., as well as my work: „Hermeneutik und Historismus«, vol. 2 of Ges. Werke, p. 387 ff. In the meantime, these problems have been much discussed - on too narrow a semantic basis, it seems to me. Cf. D. Davidson, Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation, Oxford 1984.

StraussDFr I
David Friedrich Strauss
Der alte und der neue Glaube Hamburg 2012


Gadamer I
Hans-Georg Gadamer
Wahrheit und Methode. Grundzüge einer philosophischen Hermeneutik 7. durchgesehene Auflage Tübingen 1960/2010

Gadamer II
H. G. Gadamer
The Relevance of the Beautiful, London 1986
German Edition:
Die Aktualität des Schönen: Kunst als Spiel, Symbol und Fest Stuttgart 1977
History Strauss Pfotenhauer IV 42
History/Strauß, Fr. D./NietzscheVsStrauss/Nietzsche: Nietzsche's anger is inflamed by the unclouded history optimism of a David Friedrich Strauss. He awakens (D. Fr. Strauss, Der alte und der neue Glaube, 1872, 2nd edition Leipzig, 1904, especially p. 60ff) the impression that he was reserved to bring the Theodice efforts of the 18th century to a successful conclusion through modern, scientifically founded optimism of progress. Thesis: following Darwin's example, it can be shown that all events have always been a higher development, that even without a rational creator the world follows a continuously executed overall plan. For in the blind natural phenomena and the worst of coincidences, only the more viable will prevail in the end, which for Strauss also means morally better things.
---
Pfotenhauer IV 43
NietzscheVsStrauss: In contrast, Nietzsche reminds us of "the nameless sufferings of humanity", which inadvertently scorn such "truly nefarious ways of thinking", (F. Nietzsche, David Strauss der Bekenner und Schriftsteller, 6; Nietzsche KGW III, 1, p. 188) this "shameless philistine optimism" (p. 187).

StraussDFr I
David Friedrich Strauss
Der alte und der neue Glaube Hamburg 2012


Pfot I
Helmut Pfotenhauer
Die Kunst als Physiologie. Nietzsches ästhetische Theorie und literarische Produktion. Stuttgart 1985
Interpretation Strauss Gaus I 24
Interpretation/Leo Strauss/Ball: Straussians – followers of the late Leo Strauss (1899–1973) – claim that a canon of works by Plato and a handful of other authors contains the Whole Truth about politics, a truth which is eternal, unchanging, and accessible only to the fortunate few (...). Gaining access to this truth requires a special way of reading and of interpreting what one reads. StraussVsLiberalism: (...) Strauss saw the history of modern Western liberal political thought as a story of degeneration and enfeeblement. He and his followers contrasted the vigour of classical Greek and Roman political thought with the resigned ennui of slackminded modern liberal thinkers. Modern liberalism is a philosophy without foundations. Having eschewed any grounding in nature or natural law, modern liberalism, from Hobbes to the present, is reduced to a spineless relativism and is therefore without the normative foundations and philosophical resources to resist the winds of twentiethcentury fanaticism blowing from both right and left.
StraussVsHistoricism: The present being bankrupt, students of political philosophy must look to the past for guidance; they must be historians but not ‘historicists’.
Knowledge and guidance of the sort we require are not easy to come by, however. They require that we read these ‘old books’ aright - that we decipher
Gaus I 25
the real meaning of the messages encoded by authors fearful of persecution and wishing to communicate with cognoscenti through the ages (Strauss, 1952)(1). StraussVsLocke/StraussVsHobbes: To communicate with the great thinkers of antiquity is to appreciate how far we have fallen. The rot began in the seventeenth century, with the advent of modern liberalism, and that of Hobbes and Locke especially (Strauss, 1953)(2). They disavowed the ancient wisdom and the older idea of natural law, favouring instead a view of politics founded on security and self-interest. The ancient ‘philosophical’ quest for the good life was transmuted into the modern ‘scientific’ search for safety, security, and the accommodation of competing interests.
1) VsStrauss: Straussian interpretations have been criticized on a number of grounds. One is that they rely on the sort of supposed ‘insider’s knowledge’ that is available only to those who have been initiated into the mysteries of Straussian interpretation (and who in turn conveniently dismiss criticisms by non-Straussian outsiders as being hopelessly ignorant and uninformed).
2) VsStrauss: Another is that they assume, without argument or evidence, that the ‘real’ text does not correspond, point for point, to the written and publicly available ‘exoteric’ text; the real or ‘esoteric’ text remains hidden from public view, its meaning inaccessible to the uninitiated and unworthy.


1. Strauss, Leo, 1952. Persecution and the Art of Writing. Glencoe, IL: Free.
2. Strauss, Leo, 1953. Natural Right and History. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Ball, Terence. 2004. „History and the Interpretation of Texts“. In: Gaus, Gerald F. 2004. Handbook of Political Theory. SAGE Publications.

StraussDFr I
David Friedrich Strauss
Der alte und der neue Glaube Hamburg 2012


Gaus I
Gerald F. Gaus
Chandran Kukathas
Handbook of Political Theory London 2004
Liberalism Barber Brocker I 681
Liberalism/BarberVsLiberalism/Barber: Thesis: in American democracy reigns a "lobbyist policy" "politics of images", a "politics of mass society" instead of genuine citizen participation. (written in 1984). (1) Liberalism or the concept of representation associated with liberalism, which destroys participation, was responsible for this. (2)
Brocker I 682
Liberal Democracy/Barber: focuses on individual rights and an electoral government. Problem: liberalism misunderstood "politics as keeping predators".
Brocker I 683
The core of liberalism is an instrumental understanding of democracy. Politics is then there to protect individuals against external interference and to achieve this protection in such a way that it is compatible with the supposedly unchanging characteristics of individuals. Liberalism tends to summarize the characteristics of individuals in pessimistic descriptions.
Brocker I 684
Liberalism/Barber: the pre-conceptual framework is characterized by ideas such as "property", "territory", "borders", "sanctions", "freedom" and "power". Aspects such as human interdependence, mutual assistance, cooperation, membership, brotherhood, community and citizenship are neglected. (3) Method/Liberalism/Barber: the methodology of liberalism is a "Cartesian" one, i.e. knowledge is gained through the application of a reliable method.
BarberVsLiberalism: Politics is not the application of truth to the problem of human relationships, but the application of human relationships to the problem of truth. (4)
Brocker I 685
BarberVsLiberal Democracy: thesis: liberalism creates a type of person whose psyche is susceptible to the totalitarian temptation by throwing the human back on itself. (Haus: here parallels to Hannah Arendt's thinking are revealed.) Nevertheless: BarberVsArendt/BarberVsStrauss, Leo: these are nostalgic theories. (5)


1. Benjamin Barber, Strong Democary, Participatory Politics for a New Age, Berkeley CA, 1984, Dt. Benjamin Barber, Starke Demokratie. Über die Teilhabe am Politischen, Hamburg 1994, S. 12.
2. Ebenda S. 13.
3. Benjamin Barber Strong Democray. Participatory Politics for a New Age. Twentieth-anniversary edition, Berkeley/Los Angeles/London 2003 S. 34f.
4. Ibid. p. 64f.
5. Ibid. p. 100.
Michael Haus, „Benjamin Barber, Starke Demokratie“ in: Manfred Brocker (Hg.) Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert. Frankfurt/M. 2018

PolBarb I
Benjamin Barber
The Truth of Power. Intellectual Affairs in the Clinton White House New York 2001


Brocker I
Manfred Brocker
Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert Frankfurt/M. 2018