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Philosophy Expert ot Talk on Leo Strauss, Friedrich Nietzsche

(Posted March 13, 2006)

HUNTINGDON, PA. -- Barry Gilbert, an instructor in expository writing at Harvard University, will lecture a Juniata College on "Leo Strauss and His Legacy" at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, March 16, in Neff Lecture Hall in the von Liebig Center for Science on the Juniata campus.

Gilbert will give another talk on philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche titled "Nietzsche's Truth" at 4 p.m., Friday, in Neff Lecture Hall.

Both talks are free and open to the public.

Gilbert's talk on Leo Strauss, an influential political philosophy professor who taught at the University of Chicago, will focus on the philosophy behind Strauss' theories. Strauss's teaching career was controversial because he rejected the behavioral approach to the study of politics. As a political theorist, he emphasized finding hidden meanings in texts that were only for the enlightened few. These meanings, he taught, were hidden within language that may confuse the lay public. In addition, he believed the works of past philosophers, such as Plato or Aristotle, are not the product of Plato's era but are timeless.

In recent days, media and political reporters have linked Strauss' beliefs to the neoconservative movement in Republican politics. In addition, such writers as George Packer, author of "The Assassin's Gate" link Strauss' influence to the architects of the Iraq war, such as Paul Wolfowitz, now president of the World Bank, and Douglas Feith.

His talk on Nietzsche will take a similar tack in explaining how the German philosopher reached his beliefs on politics and history.

Gilbert started his academic career in 1999 as a visiting lecturer in philosophy at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. In 2001, he taught at Boston University as a lecturer in philosophy. He also taught at Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass. in 1996 and 1998 as a summer mentor/teacher.

He earned a bachelor's degree in philosophy in 1991 from Haverford College, in Haverford, Pa. in 1991. He earned a master's degree in philosophy in 1994 from Penn State University and went on to earn a doctoral degree in philosophy in 2006 from Boston University.

His areas of expertise include political philosophy and the life and ideas of Friedrich Nietzsche.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.