TITLE

Facts, Values, and Evaluative Explanation: Contributions of Leo Strauss to Contemporary Debates

AUTHOR(S)
Abbott, James R.
PUB. DATE
March 2001
SOURCE
American Sociologist;Spring2001, Vol. 32 Issue 1, p50
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
As the 20th century comes to a close, sociologists remain mired in the long-standing debate surrounding facts and values. The tensions between value-neutral and value-relevant sociologists have raged for decades and no resolution appears likely; at least no resolution is likely within the parameters of the existing debate. This essay is an introduction to the work of social thinker Leo Strauss, whose orientation provides a different perspective on the issue. It was Strauss's conviction that sociologists were fiddling Neros, oblivious to the crisis of value they helped engender, but excused on grounds that they did not know they fiddled and that they did not know Rome burned. A value-flee social science that denied the possibility of reasoned discourse on value, while surreptitiously advancing a vision of the good, created little but confusion while undermining the basis on which any vision of the good could be defended. A value-driven social science, animated by what Strauss called the “historical sense,” likewise undermined the legitimacy of the value this social science was designed to serve while casting suspicion on all subsequent value claims. Works by Bellah, Wallerstein and Alexander, Seidman, Collins and Denzin, among others, are used for illustrative purposes. Following Strauss, it is suggested that evaluation and explanation cannot be divorced; theirs was a natural relationship that modern philosophy, beginning with Machiavelli, had unwittingly denied. Strauss advocated a social science that understood value as something to quest for, rather than something to be assumed, and he judged theory to be a guide for action, rather than its substitute. It is suggested that Strauss's reading of the classics could be of benefit to sociologists seeking resolution to the crisis of facts and values.
ACCESSION #
5404186

 

Related Articles

  • Leo Strauss and the dignity of American political thought. McWilliams, Wilson Carey // Review of Politics;Spring98, Vol. 60 Issue 2, p231 

    Opinion. Discusses the concept of political thought of American life, with reference to the texts written by the late Leo Strauss, an author. Significance of Strauss' books to political thought; How Strauss contributed to rearticulation and reanimation of American idealism; Details on his...

  • Strauss, Straussians, and Faith-Based Students of Strauss. Lawler, Peter Augustine // Political Science Reviewer;2007, Vol. 36, p1 

    An introduction to a series of articles on the work of Jewish-American political philosopher Leo Strauss is presented which includes an article by Marc Guerra on clarifying the theologico-political problem according to Strauss, another by Ralph Hancock and Paul Seaton on Strauss's theory on...

  • LEO STRAUSS Y LA RECUPERACIÓN DE LA RACIONALIDAD POLÍTICA CLÁSICA. GARZÓN-VALLEJO, IVÁN // Díkaion;2009, Vol. 23 Issue 18, p297 

    Following Leo STRAUSS' thought, the article explains why recovering classical political rationality constitutes an answer to the crisis of reason which defines contemporary Western context, which has lead to distrust in the ability of human reason to expose, in an objective and normative way,...

  • Questions and Caves: Philosophy, Politics, and History in Leo Strauss's Early Work. Janssens, David // Journal of Jewish Thought & Philosophy (Routledge);Oct2000, Vol. 10 Issue 1, p111 

    Analyzes the theme of political philosophy in the early literary writings of Leo Strauss. Account of Strauss' criticism of contemporary philosophy; Traditional concepts of modern philosophy; Distinction between a true and false philosophy; Basis of modern political thought.

  • Philosophy and Law: Leo Strauss as a Student of Medieval Jewish Thought. Fradkin, Hillel // Review of Politics;Winter91, Vol. 53 Issue 1, p40 

    Explores philosopher, Leo Strauss' study of medieval Jewish thought. Books written by Strauss about medieval Jewish philosophy; Contributions of Strauss to the understanding of medieval Jewish thought; Role of Jewish medieval philosophy in Strauss' general legacy; Immediate purpose of Strauss'...

  • Strauss Before Straussianism: Reason, Revelation, and Nature. Gunnell, John G. // Review of Politics;Winter91, Vol. 53 Issue 1, p53 

    Focuses on the political philosophy of Leo Strauss. Impact of Strauss on American political science and political theory; Importance of studying Strauss' life before he came to the U.S. to understand the philosopher's thoughts; Factors that influenced Strauss' philosophical thought; Radical...

  • Leo Strauss: Between Athens and Jerusalem. Smith, Steven B. // Review of Politics;Winter91, Vol. 53 Issue 1, p75 

    Considers philosopher Leo Strauss's contribution to Jewish philosophy. Strauss' books with Jewish themes; Currents of neo-orthodoxy, political and cultural Zionism discussed by Strauss; Strauss' relation to Judaism; Factors that instigated Strauss' preoccupation with Jewish philosophy; Position...

  • Strauss Read from France. Lachterman, David R. // Review of Politics;Winter91, Vol. 53 Issue 1, p224 

    Discusses the French's reception of Leo Strauss' philosophy. Factors that helped Strauss' philosophy become popular in France; Criticisms made by French critics of Strauss' philosophy; Relationship between philosophy and the history of philosophy among the French; .

  • Leo Strauss and classical political philosophy. Bolotin, David // Interpretation: A Journal of Political Philosophy;Fall94, Vol. 22 Issue 1, p129 

    Profiles philosopher and scholar Leo Strauss. Background; Written works; Focus on the origin of political philosophy; Strauss' account of classical political philosophy; Strauss' view of the questionableness of philosophy; Study of the moral antagonism between philosophy and orthodoxy.

Share

Read the Article

Courtesy of THE LIBRARY OF VIRGINIA

Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics