Las Torres de Lucca. International Journal of Political Philosophy, Vol 4, No 7 (2015)

Depth and Surface. Max Weber, Leo Strauss, and the Practical Nature of Political Philosophy.

Luciano Nosetto


According to Leo Strauss, Max Weber has been the most salient proponent of modern social science, that is to say, of a value-free social science. The second chapter of Strauss’ Natural Right and History consists of a critical overview of Max Weber’s perspective and, in particular, of his attempt to build the modern social science edifice upon the ground of the distinction between facts and values. The work here delivered consists of a comment or close reading of the chapter of Strauss on Weber. The aim of this reading is to show how the Weberian distinction between facts and values dilutes the most basic skills of the man of science, leading towards a nihilistic social philosophy, and towards an absurd social science. At the same time, Strauss’ reading examines the Weberian diagnosis of modern civilization, by means of an analysis of the sociological and political figures of the specialist, the philistine, and the extremist. After an account of Strauss’ critic of Weber, this article considers the Straussian proposal of a return to political philosophy in its classical sense.