Philosophy, History, and Tyranny

Reexamining the Debate between Leo Strauss and Alexandre Kojève

Edited by Timothy W. Burns & Bryan-Paul Frost

Subjects: Political Philosophy, Jewish Studies, Philosophy, History Of Philosophy, Political Science
Series: SUNY series in the Thought and Legacy of Leo Strauss
Paperback : 9781438462103, 380 pages, July 2017
Hardcover : 9781438462097, 380 pages, December 2016

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Table of contents


Timothy W. Burns and Bryan-Paul Frost

1. The Place of the Strauss-Kojève Debate in the Work of Leo Strauss
Timothy W. Burns

2. The Philosophic Background of Alexandre Kojève’s “Tyranny and Wisdom”
Murray S. Y. Bessette

3. The Place of the Bible in the Strauss-Kojève Debate
Daniel E. Burns

4. Leo Strauss’s Decisive Reply to Alexandre Kojève
Nasser Behnegar

5. Who Won the Strauss-Kojève Debate? The Case for Alexandre Kojève in His Dispute with Leo Strauss
Bryan-Paul Frost

6. The Epistolary Exchange between Leo Strauss and Alexandre Kojève
Mark J. Lutz

7. Kojève’s Hegel, Hegel’s Hegel, and Strauss’s Hegel: A Middle Range Approach to the Debate about
Tyranny and Totalitarianism
Waller R. Newell

8. History, Tyranny, and the Presuppositions of Philosophy: Strauss, Kojève, and Heidegger in Dialogue
Richard L. Velkley

9. The Notion of an End of History: Philosophic Origins and Recent Applications
James H. Nichols, Jr.

Appendix A: Critical Edition of Alexandre Kojève,“Tyrannie et sagesse”
Emmanuel Patard

Appendix B: “Tyranny and Wisdom”
Alexandre Kojève


The first comprehensive examination of the debate between Leo Strauss and Alexandre Kojève on the subject of philosophy and tyranny.


On Tyranny remains a perennial favorite, possessing a timelessness that few philosophical or scholarly debates have ever achieved. On one hand, On Tyranny is the first book-length work in Leo Strauss's extended study of Xenophon, and his "Restatement" retains a vivacity and directness that is sometimes absent in his later works. On the other, "Tyranny and Wisdom" is perhaps the most succinct yet fullest articulation of Alexandre Kojève's overall political thought, and it presents what may be the most uncompromising alternative to Strauss's position as a whole. This volume contains for the first time a comprehensive and critical examination of the debate from scholars well versed in the thought of Strauss, Kojève, Hegel, Heidegger, and the end of history thesis. Of particular interest will be the appendix, which offers for the first time Kojève's unabridged response to Strauss, a response previously available only from the Fonds Kojève at Le Bibliothèque Nationale de France. Accessible to students and scholars alike, this volume works equally well in the classroom and as a resource for more advanced research.

Timothy W. Burns is Professor of Political Science at Baylor University and the editor of Brill's Companion to Leo Strauss' Writings on Classical Political Thought. Bryan-Paul Frost is Elias "Bo" Ackal Jr. /BORSF Endowed Professor of Political Science at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the coeditor (with Jeremy J. Mhire) of The Political Theory of Aristophanes: Explorations in Poetic Wisdom, also published by SUNY Press.