Saturday, August 17, 2019

Darwinian Liberalism Solves Strauss's Problems of Natural Right

At the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association in Washington, DC, I will be presenting a paper for a panel on "Natural Right and Classical Political Philosophy, sponsored by the Claremont Institute.  The panel will meet on Friday, August 30, 8:00-9:30 am, in the Calvert Room of the Omni Shoreham Hotel.

My paper is entitled "Darwinian Liberalism Solves the Straussian Problems of Natural Right."

I argue that Darwinian liberalism can solve the four problems of natural right identified by Leo Strauss.  Darwinian liberalism defends the liberal social order as conforming to the twenty natural desires of evolved human nature.

This Darwinian liberalism solves the problem of teleology by appealing to the immanent teleology of human nature rather than the cosmic teleology of the universe.

It solves the problem of species by relying on an Aristotelian and Darwinian empiricist conception of species rather than a Platonic essentialist conception.

It solves the problem of reason and revelation by securing the freedom of thought and speech in a largely open society that allows for public debate over reason and revelation, although the debate remains irreconcilable.

Finally, it solves the problem of liberal democracy because a Darwinian aristocratic liberalism--like that defended by Friedrich Nietzsche in his middle writings--can appeal to evolved human nature as setting the standards for Darwinian natural right.

This paper is a case study in what I have called evolutionary political philosophy or biopolitical science, which employs a modern evolutionary science of human nature and human history to illuminate and even resolve some of the great debates in the history of political philosophy.


Jon said...

I think of myself as a smart layman, but more well versed in history than biology. So I was a little confused over the weekend when I was reading
Stephen Jay Gould's Ever Since Darwin. He considered Darwinism to be materialistic, but he didn't believe in biological determinism.

I can't picture a non-deterministic universe unless there is more to it than pure materialism.

Jon said...

Speaking of determinism, I think of Calvinism as deterministic. Works on Abraham Lincoln often refer to the Baptist Church he went to as a youth ad Calvinist. I thought that Baptists weren't Calvinist.

Jon said...

I found an answer to my question regarding Lincoln's boyhood church: