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The Review of Metaphysics

Volume 73, Issue 2, December 2019

Alberto Ghibellini
Pages 285-309

The “Second Cave” and Historical Consciousness in the Correspondence of Leo Strauss and Gerhard Krüger

The correspondence of Leo Strauss and Gerhard Krüger is an invaluable document for the interpretation of their thought. By focusing on such themes as the “second cave” and historical consciousness, this article explores their views – as these unfold in the correspondence – concerning the possibility of philosophy and its search for a standard (Massstab). In doing so, it shows that, unlike Krüger’s ultimate acceptance of historicism and fideism, Strauss seeks to recover a more genuine, natural kind of philosophizing, whose precondition is regaining the Platonic “first, natural cave.” This, however, is possible for Strauss only if one adopts the tools of Heideggerian Destruktion, albeit with an opposite aim in view: not so much the indictment of the metaphysical and logocentric tradition, as its rehabilitation (at least of its original, “naïve” approach) through the destabilization of that indictment’s foundation, which is a historical consciousness that considers itself to be the last word.