Senior Fellow: October 2016–March 2017
Research Project: What is Zetetic Political Philosophy? The Case of Leo Strauss
Harald Bluhm’s contribution will consist of two parts. The first is a review essay on the differences between the recent American and German literature on Leo Strauss. In the US, Strauss’s thinking is a matter of political and philosophical debate, while in Germany there is no academic school of Straussians, nor a political wing of Straussianism. Starting from this observation, Bluhm will shed light on how the American and German literature interprets Strauss’ political philosophy. Strauss’ scepticism, inherent in his philosophical return to Plato and Socrates, will arise as an essential question. The second contribution is a paper on when and how Strauss coined and used the term ‘zetetic.’ Bluhm will analyse the way Straussians developed this term as a label for his political philosophy. Bluhm aims to clarify the distinctive character of Strauss’ understanding of ‘zetetic’ political philosophy as a kind of sceptic prima philosophia. The starting point for his research is the current increase in literature and journals devoted to ‘zetetic philosophy.’ In discussing these subjects, Bluhm will focus on the differences between zetetic, sceptic, relativist, and historicist approaches.
Harald Bluhm is professor for political theory and history of ideas at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg.