Abstract: The intention of this paper is to show how Leo Straussʼ mature writings respond to the twofold necessity of political philosophy: contributing, at the same time, to the good of the city and to the good of the philosophers. In the first place, it will try to prove this point by analyzing in detail the Introduction to On Tyranny (1948), which represents an essential step in order to understand the intention of the author. In the second place, it will tackle the problem of justice, that is, of natural right, by concentrating on the so called “tyrannical teaching”. This teaching is a way to present a truth which the city cannot find acceptable, that is, an unpleasant truth concerning the irresoluble problem of justice and legitimacy. In conclusion, it will point to the tension between philosophy, i.e., search for knowledge, and the city, i.e., the realm of opinion. For the philosopher, as such, has to “corrupt” the young in order to pursue his search for knowledge of the whole, or the nature of all things. Therefore, he weakens the city, since philosophizing implies unbelief in the gods of the city.
Abstract: The decay of basic values has been deplored since Plato criticised the revaluation of virtues in democracies. Human reason was hoped to offer a reliable remedy against any fall in value and to secure the validity of all the basic values needed in theory and practice. But it failed to do so. The need for the validity of basic values and principles figured in Kant’s theory of law, most prominently in Kelsen’s theory of pure law (Reine Rechtslehre), and in Rawls’ theory of justice. ‘Validity’ was also discussed by Habermas and recently under ‘genesis versus validity’ by a number of philosophers. This paper argues, that so far the understanding of ‘validity’ suffers from a deficit of discriminating between un-derived and derived validities. While, e.g., the validity of the law of contradiction is un-derived, the validity of the equality of men and women is derived from the equality of man. Un-derived validities are not safe as is discussed with respect to the first principle of the German constitution, human dignity. The validity of this principle is under pressure from a growing number of open bioethical problems. The principle of human dignity is gradually obscured the more detailed the solutions are to solve those problems. This is obvious from Herdegen’s ever growing commentary. The paper discusses possible solutions to stop the decay of validities.