An Unpolitical Political Philosophy? Some Remarks on Leo Strauss' «Notes on Lucretius»

  • Marco Menon Carl Friedrich von Siemens Stiftung - München


Abstract: In the first part of this paper, I tackle the problem represented by Leo Strauss' commentary on Lucretius' poem De Rerum Natura. Therefore, I try to demonstrate how it is possible to understand Epicurean poetry as “unpolitical” political philosophy, that is, as political action on behalf of philosophy. Poetry acts as some kind of mediator between the city and philosophy, that is, by sweetening the repulsive truth concerning the nature of things. Lucretius' poem introduces therefore young readers to the philosophical way of life; at the same time, the Epicurean teaching may attract unjust and powerful men by promising them liberation from the terrors of religion. In the last paragraph, I concentrate on the peculiar knowledge of man's soul gained by poetic wisdom.


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