José Ortega y Gasset

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José Ortega y Gasset
JoseOrtegayGasset.jpg
Ortega y Gasset in the 1920s
Born9 May 1883
Died18 October 1955(1955-10-18) (aged 72)
Alma mater University of Deusto
Complutense University of Madrid
Era 20th-century philosophy
Region Western philosophy
School Continental philosophy
Perspectivism [1]
Pragmatism
Vitalism
Historism
Existentialism [1]
Existential phenomenology [1]
Lebensphilosophie (philosophy of life) [1]
Neo-Kantianism (early) [1]
Liberalism
Noucentisme
Main interests
History, reason, politics
Notable ideas
Metaphysics of vital reason [1]

José Ortega y Gasset (Spanish:  [xoˈse oɾˈteɣa i ɣaˈset] ; 9 May 1883 – 18 October 1955) was a Spanish philosopher and essayist. He worked during the first half of the 20th century, while Spain oscillated between monarchy, republicanism, and dictatorship. His philosophy has been characterized as a "philosophy of life" that "comprised a long-hidden beginning in a pragmatist metaphysics inspired by William James, and with a general method from a realist phenomenology imitating Edmund Husserl, which served both his proto-existentialism (prior to Martin Heidegger's) [1] and his realist historicism, which has been compared to both Wilhelm Dilthey and Benedetto Croce." [4]

Spain Kingdom in Southwest Europe

Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain, is a country mostly located in Europe. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula. Its territory also includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Melilla, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country (Morocco). Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are also part of Spanish territory. The country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar; to the north and northeast by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west and northwest by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean.

Philosophy Study of general and fundamental questions

Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental questions about existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Such questions are often posed as problems to be studied or resolved. The term was probably coined by Pythagoras. Philosophical methods include questioning, critical discussion, rational argument, and systematic presentation. Classic philosophical questions include: Is it possible to know anything and to prove it? What is most real? Philosophers also pose more practical and concrete questions such as: Is there a best way to live? Is it better to be just or unjust? Do humans have free will?

Alfonso XIII of Spain King of Spain

Alfonso XIII was King of Spain from 1886 until the proclamation of the Second Republic in 1931. Alfonso was monarch from birth as his father, Alfonso XII, had died the previous year. Alfonso's mother, Maria Christina of Austria, served as regent until he assumed full powers on his sixteenth birthday in 1902.

Contents

Biography

José Ortega y Gasset was born 9 May 1883 in Madrid. His father was director of the newspaper El Imparcial, which belonged to the family of his mother, Dolores Gasset. The family was definitively of Spain's end-of-the-century liberal and educated bourgeoisie. The liberal tradition and journalistic engagement of his family had a profound influence in Ortega y Gasset's activism in politics.

Madrid Capital of Spain

Madrid is the capital of Spain and the largest municipality in both the Community of Madrid and Spain as a whole. The city has almost 3.3 million inhabitants and a metropolitan area population of approximately 6.5 million. It is the third-largest city in the European Union (EU), smaller than only London and Berlin, and its monocentric metropolitan area is the third-largest in the EU, smaller only than those of London and Paris. The municipality covers 604.3 km2 (233.3 sq mi).

Ortega was first schooled by the Jesuit priests of San Estanislao in Miraflores del Palo, Málaga (1891–1897). He attended the University of Deusto, Bilbao (1897–98) and the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters at the Central University of Madrid (now Complutense University of Madrid) (1898–1904), receiving a doctorate in Philosophy. From 1905 to 1907, he continued his studies in Germany at Leipzig, Nuremberg, Cologne, Berlin and, above all Marburg. At Marburg, he was influenced by the neo-Kantianism of Hermann Cohen and Paul Natorp, among others.

Málaga Municipality in Andalusia, Spain

Málaga is a municipality, capital of the Province of Málaga, in the Autonomous Community of Andalusia, Spain. With a population of 571,026 in 2018, it is the second-most populous city of Andalusia and the sixth-largest in Spain. The southernmost large city in Europe, it lies on the Costa del Sol of the Mediterranean, about 100 kilometres east of the Strait of Gibraltar and about 130 km (80.78 mi) north of Africa.

University of Deusto Spanish private university

The University of Deusto is a Spanish private university owned by the Society of Jesus, with campuses in Bilbao and San Sebastián, and the Deusto Business School branch in Madrid. The University of Deusto is the oldest private university in Spain.

Bilbao Municipality in Basque Country, Spain

Bilbao is a city in northern Spain, the largest city in the province of Biscay and in the Basque Country as a whole. It is also the largest city proper in northern Spain. Bilbao is the tenth largest city in Spain, with a population of 345,141 as of 2015. The Bilbao metropolitan area has roughly 1 million inhabitants, making it one of the most populous metropolitan areas in northern Spain; with a population of 875,552 the comarca of Greater Bilbao is the fifth-largest urban area in Spain. Bilbao is also the main urban area in what is defined as the Greater Basque region.

On his return to Spain in 1908, he was appointed professor of Psychology, Logic and Ethics at the Escuela Superior del Magisterio de Madrid. [5] In 1910, he married Rosa Spottorno Topete, a Spanish translator and feminist, and was named full professor of Metaphysics at Complutense University of Madrid, a vacant seat previously held by Nicolás Salmerón. [6]

Psychology is the science of behavior and mind. Psychology includes the study of conscious and unconscious phenomena, as well as feeling and thought. It is an academic discipline of immense scope. Psychologists seek an understanding of the emergent properties of brains, and all the variety of phenomena linked to those emergent properties. As a social science it aims to understand individuals and groups by establishing general principles and researching specific cases.

Logic the systematic study of the form of arguments

Logic is the systematic study of the form of valid inference, and the most general laws of truth. A valid inference is one where there is a specific relation of logical support between the assumptions of the inference and its conclusion. In ordinary discourse, inferences may be signified by words such as therefore, thus, hence, ergo, and so on.

Ethics branch of philosophy that systematizes, defends, and recommends concepts of right and wrong conduct

Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct. The field of ethics, along with aesthetics, concerns matters of value, and thus comprises the branch of philosophy called axiology.

In 1917 he became a contributor to the newspaper El Sol , where he published, as a series of essays, his two principal works: España invertebrada ( Invertebrate Spain ) and La rebelión de las masas ( The Revolt of the Masses ). The latter made him internationally famous. He founded the Revista de Occidente  [ es ] in 1923, remaining its director until 1936. This publication promoted translation of (and commentary upon) the most important figures and tendencies in philosophy, including Oswald Spengler, Johan Huizinga, Edmund Husserl, Georg Simmel, Jakob von Uexküll, Heinz Heimsoeth, Franz Brentano, Hans Driesch, Ernst Müller, Alexander Pfänder, and Bertrand Russell.

El Sol was a Spanish newspaper published in Madrid, Spain, between 1917 and 1939.

The Revolt of the Masses is a book by José Ortega y Gasset. It was first published as a series of articles in the newspaper El Sol in 1929, and as a book in 1930; the English translation, first published two years later, was authorized by Ortega. While the published version notes that the translator requested to remain anonymous, more recent editions also record that its US copyright was renewed in 1960 by a Teresa Carey, and the US Copyright Office's published list of US copyright renewals for January 1960 gives the translator as J. R. Carey.

Oswald Spengler German historian and philosopher

Oswald Arnold Gottfried Spengler was a German historian and philosopher of history whose interests included mathematics, science, and art. He is best known for his book The Decline of the West, published in 1918 and 1922, covering all of world history. Spengler's model of history postulates that any culture is a superorganism with a limited and predictable lifespan.

Elected deputy for the Province of León in the constituent assembly of the Second Spanish Republic, he was the leader of a parliamentary group of intellectuals known as Agrupación al Servicio de la República [7] ("The Grouping at the Service of the Republic"), which supported the platform of Socialist Republican candidates, [8] but he soon abandoned politics, disappointed.

Province of León Province of Spain

León is a province of northwestern Spain, in the northwestern part of the autonomous community of Castile and León.

Second Spanish Republic the regime that existed in Spain, 1931 to 1939

The Spanish Republic, commonly known as the Second Spanish Republic, was the democratic government that existed in Spain from 1931 to 1939. The Republic was proclaimed on 14 April 1931, after the deposition of Alfonso XIII, and it lost the Spanish Civil War on 1 April 1939 to the rebel faction, that would establish a military dictatorship under the rule of Francisco Franco.

Leaving Spain at the outbreak of the Civil War, he spent years of exile in Buenos Aires, Argentina until moving back to Europe in 1942. [5] He settled in Portugal by mid-1945 and slowly began to make short visits to Spain. In 1948 he returned to Madrid, where he founded the Institute of Humanities, at which he lectured. [9] Upon his return to Spain, he often privately expressed his hostility to the Franco regime, stating that the government did not deserve anyone's confidence and that his beliefs were "incompatible with Franco." [10]

Philosophy

Liberalism

The Revolt of the Masses is Ortega's best known work. In this book he defends the values of meritocratic liberalism reminiscent of John Stuart Mill against attacks from both communists and right-wing populists. [11] Ortega likewise shares Mill's fears of the "tyranny of the majority" and the "collective mediocrity" of the masses, which threaten individuality, free thought, and protections for minorities. [11] Ortega characterized liberalism as a politics of "magnanimity." [11]

Ortega's rejection of the Spanish Conservative Party under Antonio Cánovas del Castillo and his successors was unequivocal, as was his distrust of the Spanish monarchy and Catholic Church. [11] [12] However, again in a manner similar to Mill, Ortega was open-minded toward certain socialists and non-Marxist forms of socialism, and even complimented Pablo Iglesias Posse as a "lay saint." [13] Under the influence of German social democrats such as Paul Natorp and Hermann Cohen, he adopted a communitarian ontology and could be critical of capitalism, particularly the laissez-faire variant, declaring that "nineteenth-century capitalism has demoralized humanity" and that it had "impoverished the ethical consciousness of man." [14]

"Yo soy yo y mi circunstancia"

For Ortega y Gasset, philosophy has a critical duty to lay siege to beliefs in order to promote new ideas and to explain reality. To accomplish such tasks, the philosopher must—as Husserl proposed—leave behind prejudices and previously existing beliefs, and investigate the essential reality of the universe. Ortega y Gasset proposes that philosophy must overcome the limitations of both idealism (in which reality centers around the ego) and ancient-medieval realism (in which reality is outside the subject) to focus on the only truthful reality: "my life"—the life of each individual. He suggests that there is no "me" without things, and things are nothing without me: "I" (human being) cannot be detached from "my circumstance" (world). This led Ortega y Gasset to pronounce his famous maxim "Yo soy yo y mi circunstancia" ("I am I and my circumstance") (Meditaciones del Quijote, 1914) [15] which he always put at the core of his philosophy.

For Ortega y Gasset, as for Husserl, the Cartesian 'cogito ergo sum' is insufficient to explain reality. Therefore, the Spanish philosopher proposes a system wherein the basic or "radical" reality is "my life" (the first yo), which consists of "I" (the second yo) and "my circumstance" (mi circunstancia). This circunstancia is oppressive; therefore, there is a continual dialectical interaction between the person and his or her circumstances and, as a result, life is a drama that exists between necessity and freedom.

In this sense Ortega y Gasset wrote that life is at the same time fate and freedom, and that freedom "is being free inside of a given fate. Fate gives us an inexorable repertory of determinate possibilities, that is, it gives us different destinies. We accept fate and within it we choose one destiny." In this tied down fate we must therefore be active, decide and create a "project of life"—thus not be like those who live a conventional life of customs and given structures who prefer an unconcerned and imperturbable life because they are afraid of the duty of choosing a project.

Raciovitalismo

With a philosophical system that centered around life, Ortega y Gasset also stepped out of Descartes' cogito ergo sum and asserted "I live therefore I think". This stood at the root of his Kantian-inspired perspectivism, [1] which he developed by adding a non-relativistic character in which absolute truth does exist and would be obtained by the sum of all perspectives of all lives, since for each human being life takes a concrete form and life itself is a true radical reality from which any philosophical system must derive. In this sense, Ortega coined the terms "razón vital" ("vital reason" or "reason with life as its foundation") to refer to a new type of reason that constantly defends the life from which it has surged and "raciovitalismo", a theory that based knowledge in the radical reality of life, one of whose essential components is reason itself. This system of thought, which he introduces in History as System, escaped from Nietzsche's vitalism in which life responded to impulses; for Ortega, reason is crucial to create and develop the above-mentioned project of life.

Historical reason

For Ortega y Gasset, vital reason is also "historical reason", for individuals and societies are not detached from their past. In order to understand a reality we must understand, as Dilthey pointed out, its history. In Ortega's words, humans have "no nature, but history" and reason should not focus on what is (static) but what becomes (dynamic).[ citation needed ]

Influence

Ortega y Gasset's influence was considerable, not only because many sympathized with his philosophical writings, but also because those writings did not require that the reader be well-versed in technical philosophy.

Among those strongly influenced by Ortega y Gasset were Luis Buñuel, Manuel García Morente  [ es ], Joaquín Xirau  [ es ], Xavier Zubiri, Ignacio Ellacuría, Emilio Komar, José Gaos, Luis Recasens, Manuel Granell  [ es ], Francisco Ayala, María Zambrano, Agustín Basave  [ es ], Máximo Etchecopar, Pedro Laín Entralgo, José Luis López-Aranguren  [ es ], Julián Marías, John Lukacs, Pierre Bourdieu, Paulino Garagorri  [ es ], Olavo de Carvalho, Vicente Ferreira da Silva, Vilém Flusser and Félix Martí-Ibáñez.

The Ortega hypothesis, based on a quote in The Revolt of the Masses , states that average or mediocre scientists contribute substantially to the advancement of science.

German grape breeder Hans Breider named the grape variety Ortega in his honor. [16]

The American philosopher Graham Harman has recognized Ortega y Gasset as a source of inspiration for his own object-oriented ontology.

La rebelión de las masas (The Revolt of the Masses) has been translated into English twice. The first, in 1932, is by a translator who wanted to remain anonymous, [17] generally accepted to be J.R. Carey. [18] The second translation was published by the University of Notre Dame Press in 1985, in association with W.W. Norton & Co. This translation was by Anthony Kerrigan (translator) and Kenneth Moore (editor), with an introduction by Saul Bellow.

Mildred Adams is the translator (into English) of the main body of Ortega's work, including Invertebrate Spain, Man and Crisis, What is Philosophy?, Some Lessons in Metaphysics, The Idea of Principle in Leibniz and the Evolution of Deductive Theory, and An Interpretation of Universal History.

Influence on the Generation of '27

Ortega y Gasset had considerable influence on writers of the Generation of '27, a group of poets that arose in Spanish literature in the 1920s.

Works

Much of Ortega y Gasset's work consists of course lectures published years after the fact, often posthumously. This list attempts to list works in chronological order by when they were written, rather than when they were published.

See also

Notes

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Holmes, Oliver, "José Ortega y Gasset", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2011 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.).
  2. José Ortega y Gasset called Dilthey "the most important philosopher in the second half of the nineteenth century" in his Concord and Liberty (David K. Naugle, Worldview: The History of a Concept, William B. Eerdmans, 2002, p. 82).
  3. Graham 1994 p. 159: "Since 1923 Ortega had probably written (at least edited) anonymous articles for Espasa-Calpe on James, Peirce, and Schiller."
  4. John T. Graham. A Pragmatist Philosophy of Life in Ortega y Gasset. (University of Missouri Press, 1994), p. vii.
  5. 1 2 Datos biográficos
  6. Holmes, Oliver (2017), Zalta, Edward N. (ed.), "José Ortega y Gasset", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2017 ed.), Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University, retrieved 2 June 2019
  7. Encarta Encyclopedia Spanish Version: Agrupación_al_Servicio_de_la_República Microsoft Corporation Spanish Version . Archived 2009-10-31.
  8. Holmes, Oliver. "José Ortega y Gasset". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  9. Philosophy Professor: Jose Ortega Y Gasset Archived 16 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  10. Dobson, Andrew (19 November 2009). An Introduction to the Politics and Philosophy of José Ortega Y Gasset. Cambridge University Press. p. 38.
  11. 1 2 3 4 Dobson, Andrew (19 November 2009). An Introduction to the Politics and Philosophy of José Ortega Y Gasset. Cambridge University Press. pp. 60–72.
  12. Enkvist, Inger (2002). "José Ortega y Gasset - The Spanish philosopher who saw life as an intellectual adventure". CFE Working Paper Series. 18: 16.
  13. Dobson, Andrew (19 November 2009). An Introduction to the Politics and Philosophy of José Ortega Y Gasset. Cambridge University Press. pp. 46–47.
  14. Dobson, Andrew (19 November 2009). An Introduction to the Politics and Philosophy of José Ortega Y Gasset. Cambridge University Press. pp. 52–55.
  15. Ortega y Gasset, José. Obras Completas, Vol. I. Ed. Taurus/Fundación José Ortega y Gasset, Madrid, 2004, p. 757.
  16. Wein-Plus Glossar: Ortega, accessed 6 March 2013
  17. José Ortega y Gasset (1930/1950), The Revolt of the Masses, reprint, New York: New American Library, p. 4.
  18. as referenced by the Project Gutenberg eBook of U.S. Copyright Renewals, 1960 January – June.

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