Leo Strauss on the Machiavellian Moment(s) in Aristotle
Cover of Political Science Reviewer 46.1


Leo Strauss

How to Cite

Leo Strauss on the Machiavellian Moment(s) in Aristotle. (2022). The Political Science Reviewer, 46(1), 127-162. https://politicalsciencereviewer.wisc.edu/index.php/psr/article/view/714


This article examines Leo Strauss’s account of the political philosophy of Aristotle and Machiavelli.  It makes the case that while Strauss provides a surface presentation that exaggerates the differences between the political philosophy of each thinker, he subtly reveals that there are numerous parallels in their thought on a number of important points. Strauss views the cosmology of Aristotle and Machiavelli to be similar and to have had a practical impact on their political philosophy. In addition, he makes clear while each thinker prioritized philosophy over politics, both saw it as necessary that philosophy take politics into account, or that it be politically responsible. Finally, Strauss believes that both Aristotle and Machiavelli presented their teaching in a guarded, esoteric manner.  The article concludes with some speculation as to why Strauss presents the political philosophy of these thinkers in a way that exaggerates their differences, while only subtly revealing their similarities.