A Book For Lovers of Wisdom

This course will help guide you through Strauss's commentary on Xenophon's Hiero and shed light on Strauss's debate with the Hegelian philosopher Alexander Kojeve about the relation between tyranny and wisdom.

Maybe that sounds a little narrow to you. Maybe you don't know who these people are. Well, this is a course on some big themes. Pleasure. Virtue. Honour. Recognition. Tyranny and wisdom. The nature of the philosophical life. The relationship between rulers and intellectuals. The meaning of history. It's an introduction to a way of reading, writing, thinking, being.


An inquiry into the relationship between two ways of life and two visions of the good.

On Tyranny is one of those books that can change your life. This course is designed to give you access to it, so that you can reread and enter into it and let it affect you until it transforms your understanding. It's a book for lovers of books and lovers of wisdom.

Reading “On Tyranny” in parallel with the course, I was struck by how much more digestible the text and more understandable the context was with Michael’s guidance. Though I tend temperamentally to favor Strauss’ worldview, I’ve learned a lot from how Michael interprets Kojeve’s perspective and the context he presents around the two worldviews. Overall, this was a masterclass in pedagogy and evenhandedness and made me both want to learn more about Strauss through Michael’s lens and explore more of the ideas that this course opens up.

—Alex K. (@kaschuta), CURRENT STUDENT