words, “prudence” is central, notnmerely to textual analysis, but to theninterpretation of life. A philosophicalnconsideration of the good is also, atnleast implicitly, a contribution to politicalngood sense.nIn his analysis of “the two ingredientsnof western culture,” Strauss laysnprimary emphasis upon Plato and thenHebrew Bible. Gadamer, as it were,nFor Immediate ServicenChroniclesnNEW SUBSCRIBERSnTOLL FREE NUMBERn1-800-435-0715n28 / CHRONICLESnILLINOIS RESIDENTSn1-800-892-0753nreplaces the Hebrew Bible by Aristotlen(which is not to imply that Aristotle isnneglected by Strauss). Strauss, despitenhis great respect for the Hebrew tradition,nwill strike many readers as anTalmudic version of Latin Averroism,nor, to adopt an expression closer to hisnessays, a Maimonidean whose Aristotelianismnis Platonic at the core.nGadamer emphasizes the fundamentalnsimilarities rather than the differencesnbetween Plato and Aristotie orntheir common Socraticism. Similarly,nStrauss distinguishes between Plato,nwho did not claim to have a mission,nand Socrates, who did make thisnclaim. In this light, we seem to detectnin these two volumes a testimony tonthe central position of Socrates in thenWestern tradition.nThis leads us to the principal problemnraised by both books. Socrates wasna man who claimed that he knew onlynthat he did not know. In the samentradition, Strauss reinterprets the socallednPlatonic Ideas as fundamentaln”questions.” It is true that Strauss rais­nnnes the possibility that Socrates knewnthe difference between good and evil.nBut he does so in such a way as tondemote badness and goodness fromntheir status among the most importantnthings, as well as to leave us with thendistinct impression that Socrates wasnan atheist in the political sense of thenword. This makes Socrates hard tondistinguish from Nietzsche.nThe same problem arises by implicationnfrom Gadamer’s more “technical”nessays. According to Gadamer,n”the common problem, basic to bothnAristotie’s and Plato’s investigations, isnhow the logos ousias (the statement ofnbeing, of what a thing is) is possible.”nThis statement is for both thinkers onenof formal structure, whether of interrelatednideas or of essential predicates.nNevertheless, Gadamer insists uponnthe fundamentally Socratic or practicalncore of the Platonic-Aristoteliannanalysis of the good: upon Plato’s conceptionnof the end of all things asnexpressed in the “measure” or “beauty”nof their formal structures, and Aristotle’snconcern with knowledge of “thenright thing to do.”nTo restate this crucial point, Gadamerninsists that “Aristotie . . . holdsnfast to the Socratic heritage in Plato:nthe good is the practically good.” Henalso denies that Plato at any stage innhis thought intended his ideas to benentirely separate from the world ofnthings, deeds, and speeches. Gadamernconcludes: “What Aristotie rejects asnsuch in Plato’s philosophy is not thenstructural order of the whole but thenderivation of the structural order fromnthe hen (one) and the ontological primacynthat Plato gives to mathematicsnas a consequence.”nThis is not the place to enter intonthe technical details of Gadamer’snanalysis or of the original texts. Ournquestion is rather: What is the connectionnbetween phronesis or sound judgmentnand formal structure, whether asnarticulated by Plato or by Aristotie? Nonone could doubt that it is crucial fornsound judgment to understand the naturesnof things to a degree that permitsnvalid practical inference. But the kernelnof the practical inference is anperception of the good in a sense thatndoes not reduce to formal structure.nOne has to say that Gadamer’s analysesndo not cast any light on thenconnection between formal structuren