Leo Strauss credited Edmund Husserl’s phenomenology as a critical resource for his project of overthrowing modern political thought and vindicating the ancients. This may come as some surprise to readers of Strauss, given the prominence of his critique of historicism, which applies to Husserl as well. But Strauss’s late essay, “Philosophy as Rigorous Science and Political Philosophy” as well as posthumously published lectures and correspondence reveal significant debts to Husserl.
Husserl was not, moreover, a mere “negative influence” — i.e., someone whose ideas Strauss rejected. Husserl was a “positive influence,” meaning that Strauss accepted and incorporated some of his ideas. (more…)