One of the best, most helpful, and most lucid treatments that I have read of the difficult thinker Leo Strauss was written some years back by the political theorists Catherine and Michael Zuckert. I am therefore excited to take a look at this new collection of essays honoring the work of the Zuckerts, Natural Right and Political Philosophy: Essays in Honor of Catherine Zuckert and Michael Zuckert (Notre Dame Press 2013), edited by Ann Ward and Lee Ward. The publisher’s description follows.
Inspired by the work of prominent University of Notre Dame political philosophers Catherine Zuckert and Michael Zuckert, this volume of essays explores the concept of natural right in the history of political philosophy. The central organizing principle of the collection is the examination of the idea of natural justice, identified in the classical period with natural right and in modernity with the concept of individual natural rights.
Contributors examine the concept of natural right and rights in all the manifold and interdisciplinary dimensions associated with the Zuckerts’ oeuvre. Part I explores the theme of natural right in the ancient and medieval political philosophy of Plato, Xenophon, Aristotle, and St. Augustine. Part II examines the early modern break from the classical tradition in the work of Montaigne, Spinoza, Montesquieu, Locke, and Hegel as well as the legacy of the modern natural rights tradition as explored by Leo Strauss and Pope John Paul II. Part III treats the theme of natural rights from the Puritans through the Founding period in such figures as Thomas Jefferson and Gouverneur Morris and up to the Progressive era with Booker T. Washington and Theodore Roosevelt. Part IV addresses questions of natural justice in literature, including works of Euripides, Cervantes, Shakespeare, Edith Wharton, and Tom Stoppard.