This essay calls into question Zuckert's claim in Postmodern Platos that Strauss provides the best contemporary defense of the superiority of the philosophic life against the claims of Nietzsche and Heidegger that it leads to nihilism and despair. For her, Strauss persuasively draws on Plato, read through Alfarabi and Maimonides, to defend this view by showing that the philosopher understands the true ends of human life as a whole which is part of the whole, and thus provides a vision of the noblest, best, and most beautiful. I argue that this claim is implausible, that Strauss's Platonic vision of the ends of human life is obscure, and that even if correct, it does not offer an answer to the question of the relative value of these heterogenous ends, and thus does not demonstrate that the philosophic life is more worth living than any other form of life.
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