Program Dates

Austin, TX

January 2-7, 2024


On Natural Right and History

On Natural Right and History

“If our principles have no other support than our blind preferences, everything a man is willing to dare will be permissible. The contemporary rejection of natural right leads to nihilism—nay, it is identical with nihilism…”
“[Classical political philosophy] reproduces, and raises to its perfection, the magnanimous flexibility of the true statesman, who crushes the insolent and spares the vanquished. It is free from all fantasticism because it knows that evil cannot be eradicated and therefore that one’s expectations from politics must be moderate. The spirit which animates it may be described as serenity or sublime sobriety.”

Leo Strauss’s writings point the way to a radical recovery of the full meaning of philosophy in the West. He wrote interpretations of works by a wide range of figures, including not only Plato, Aristotle, Thucydides, Marsilius of Padua, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke, Rousseau, Burke, Nietzsche, Weber, and Carl Schmitt, but also the Bible, Aristophanes, Xenophon, Lucretius, Al-Farabi, Judah Halevi, Maimonides, Lessing, Moses Mendelssohn, Herman Cohen, and Heidegger. He is widely known for defending natural right, especially in its classical form, against the challenges of relativism and historicism, reopening the quarrel between the ancients and the moderns in political philosophy, emphasizing philosophy as a way of life, sharply criticizing value-free social science, stressing the centrality of the theological-political problem, and distinguishing between the exoteric and esoteric teachings of writers of the past.

Students will investigate these themes through one of Strauss’s major works, Natural Right and History and in his pathbreaking essay, “What is Political Philosophy?”. In addition to seminars, students will enjoy the opportunity to explore Austin through various events and activities.

details And Requirements


Participants must be:

  • Currently enrolled undergraduate juniors or seniors or recently graduated seniors in any field;
  • Currently enrolled graduate students (master’s or doctorate) in any field;
  • Anyone between the ages of 21-35 with an interest in Leo Strauss

Travel Stipend: All participants who reside outside of the greater Austin region will receive a $300 travel stipend to help defray the costs of travel.

Tuition & Expenses: Due to the generous support of our donors, tuition is free. Accommodations will be provided for participants living outside Austin, TX. Meals are also provided to all participants. All other expenses, including the purchase of books, are the responsibility of participants.

Location & Dates

Austin, TX. January 2-7, 2024.

learn about future programs

Join the Waitlist



january 2, 2024
session 1
Strauss, Natural Right and History, Introduction (Rotner)


january 3, 2024
session 2
Strauss, Natural Right and History, Chapter 1 (Blitz)
session 3
Strauss, Natural Right and History, Chapter 2 (Lynch)

Lunch Talk: Greg McBrayer, Ashland University (Political Science), “Weber & Strauss: The Theologico-Political Problem and the Sociology of Religion”


january 4, 2024
session 4
Strauss, Natural Right and History, Chapter 3 (Nadon)
session 5
Strauss, Natural Right and History, Chapter 4 (Stauffer)

Lunch Talk: Alex Priou, UC-Boulder (Herbst Program), “Strauss on Plato’s Symposium”


jan 5, 2024
session 6
Strauss, Natural Right and History, Chapter 5a (Stauffer)
session 7
Strauss, Natural Right and History, Chapter 5b (Nadon)

Lunch Talk: Daniel O’Toole, Hillsdale College (Political Science), “Strauss on the Best Regime and the Rule of Reason”


jan 6, 2024
session 8
Strauss, Natural Right and History, Chapter 6a (Rotner)
session 9
Strauss, Natural Right and History, Chapter 6b (Lynch)

Lunch Talk: Jacob Howland, University of Austin (Provost; Dean, Intellectual Foundations), “On Strauss’s ‘Three Waves of Modernity’”


jan 7, 2024
session 10
Strauss, “What is Political Philosophy?,” What is Political Philosophy? (Blitz)


Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Meet the




Mark Blitz
Claremont McKenna College
Chris Lynch
Missouri State University
Chris Nadon
Claremont McKenna College
Loren Rotner
Devin Stauffer
University of Texas at Austin
Gregory McBrayer
Ashland University
Alex Priou
University of Colorado Boulder
Daniel O'Toole
Hillsdale College
Jacob Howland


Undergraduate Program (Fall 2024)

Our distinctive undergraduate curriculum will combine the rich and varied inheritance of the past with the most compelling ideas of the present to help students see things whole, form sound judgment, and translate knowing into doing and making. Students will train with the world’s leading scholars and innovators, while creating and building with purpose.

News & Updates

"It's An Academic Dream Team"

"'We Don't Want To Be Yale': New UATX Constructing A Different Model Of Excellence"

"How To Build A University Unafraid Of True Intellectual Diversity"

Our Principles

UATX prepares thoughtful and ethical innovators, builders, leaders, public servants and citizens through open inquiry and civil discourse. Our commitment to the pursuit of truth arises from our confidence that the nature of reality can be discerned, albeit incompletely, by those who seek to understand it, and from our belief that the quest to know, though unending, is an ennobling, liberating, and productive endeavor.