José Ortega y Gasset: Wikis

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José Ortega y Gasset
Full name José Ortega y Gasset
Born May 9, 1883
Madrid, Spain
Died October 18, 1955 (aged 72)
Madrid, Spain
Era 20th century philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
School Perspectivism, Pragmatism, Vitalism, Historicism, Existentialism
Main interests History, Reason, Politics

José Ortega y Gasset (May 9, 1883 - October 18, 1955) was a Spanish liberal philosopher working at the beginning of the 20th century while Spain oscillated between monarchy, republicanism and dictatorship.

Contents

Biography

José Ortega y Gasset was born May 9 , 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.

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 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.

Upon his return to Spain (1909) he was named numerary professor of Psychology, Logic and Ethics at the Escuela Superior del Magisterio de Madrid and in October 1910 he was granted the Chair (Cátedra) in Metaphysics of the Complutense University, empty since the death of Nicolás Salmerón.

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 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.

Ortega led the Republican intellectual opposition under the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera (1923–1930), and he played a role in the overthrow of King Alfonso XIII in 1931. 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 La Agrupación al servicio de la república[1] ("At the service of the Republic"), but he soon abandoned politics, disappointed.

Leaving Spain at the outbreak of the Civil War, he spent years of exile in Buenos Aires, Argentina until moving back to Europe in 1945. He settled in Portugal by mid 1945 and slowly began to make short visits to Spain. In 1948 he returned to Madrid and founded the Institute of Humanities, at which he lectured.[2]

Philosophy

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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. In order 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, as Hegel proposed, overcome both the lack of idealism (in which reality gravitated around the ego) and ancient-medieval realism (which is for him an undeveloped point of view in which the subject is located outside the world) in order to focus in the only truthful reality (i.e. life). He suggests that there is no me without things and things are nothing without me, I (human being) can not be detached from my circumstances (world). This led Ortega y Gasset to pronounce his famous maxim "Yo soy yo y mi circunstancia" ("I am myself and my circumstance") which he always situated in 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 where life is the sum of the ego and circumstance. This circunstancia is oppressive; therefore, there is a continual dialectical exchange of forces 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 Nietzsche-inspired perspectivism, 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.

Razón Histórica

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).

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, Joaquín Xirau, Xavier Zubiri, Emilio Komar, José Gaos, Luis Recaséns Siches, Manuel Granell, Francisco Ayala, María Zambrano, Agustín Basave, Máximo Etchecopar, Pedro Laín Entralgo, José Luis López-Aranguren, Julián Marías, John Lukacs, and Paulino Garagorri.

Ortega y Gasset influenced existentialism and the work of Martin Heidegger.[3]

German grape breeder Hans Breider named the grape variety Ortega in his honour.[4]

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.

  • Meditaciones del Quijote (Meditations on Quixote, 1914)
  • Vieja y nueva política (Old and new politics, 1914)
  • Investigaciones psicológicas (Psychological Investigations, course given 1915-16 and published in 1982)
  • Personas, Obras, Cosas (People, Works, Things, articles and essays written 1904-1912: "Renan", "Adán en el Paraíso" -- "Adam in Paradise", "La pedagogía social como programa político" -- "Pedagogy as a political program", "Problemas culturales" -- "Cultural problems", etc., published 1916)
  • El Espectador (The Spectator, 8 volumes published 1916-1934)
  • España Invertebrada (Invertebrate Spain, 1921)
  • El tema de nuestro tiempo (The theme of our time, 1923)
  • Las Atlántidas (The Atlantides, 1924)
  • La deshumanización del Arte e Ideas sobre la novela (The Dehumanization of art and Ideas about the Novel, 1925)
  • Espíritu de la letra (The spirit of the letter 1927)
  • Mirabeau o el político (Mirabeau or politics, 1928–1929)
  • ¿Qué es filosofía? (What is philosophy? 1928-1929, course published posthumously in 1957)
  • Kant (1929–31)
  • ¿Qué es conocimiento? (What is knowledge? Published in 1984, covering three courses taught in 1929, 1930, and 1931, entitled, respectively: "Vida como ejecución (El ser ejecutivo)" -- "Life as execution (The Executive Being)", "Sobre la realidad radical" -- "On radical reality" and "¿Qué es la vida?" -- "What is life?")
  • La rebelión de las masas (The Revolt of the Masses, 1930)
  • Rectificación de la República; La redención de las provincias y la decencia nacional (Rectification of the Republic: Redemption of the provinces and national decency, 1931)
  • Goethe desde dentro (Goethe from within, 1932)
  • Unas lecciones de metafísica (Some lessons in metaphysics, course given 1932-33, published 1966)
  • En torno a Galileo (About Galileo, course given 1933-34; portions were published in 1942 under the title "Esquema de las crisis" -- "Scheme of the Crisis"; Mildred Adams's translation was published in 1958 as Man and Crisis.)
  • Prólogo para alemanes (Prologue for Germans, prologue to the third German edition of El tema de nuestro tiempo. Ortega himself prevented its publication "because of the events of Munich in 1934". It was finally published, in Spanish, in 1958.)
  • History as a system (First published in English in 1935. the Spanish version, Historia como sistema, 1941, adds an essay "El Imperio romano" -- "The Roman Empire").
  • Ensimismamiento y alteración. Meditación de la técnica. (This title is not easily translated, because the title uses a neologism and there is a play on words. Literally, it is "Sameness-making and alteration", but it could also be read as "The making of sameness and difference." In either case, the subtitle means "A meditation on technique." 1939)
  • Ideas y Crencias (Ideas and Beliefs: on historical reason, a course taught in 1940 Buenos Aires, published 1979 along with Sobre la razón histórica)
  • Teoría de Andalucía y otros ensayos • Guillermo Dilthey y la Idea de vida (The theory of Andalucia and other essays: Wilhelm Dilthey and the idea of life, 1942)
  • Sobre la razón histórica (On historical reason, course given in Lisbon, 1944, published 1979 along with Ideas y Crencias)
  • Prólogo a un Tratado de Montería (Preface to a Treatise on the Hunt [separately published as Meditations on the Hunt], created as preface to a book on the hunt by Count Ybes published 1944)
  • Idea del Teatro. Una abreviatura (The idea of theater, a shortened version, lecture given in Lisbon April 1946, and in Madrid, May 1946; published in 1958, La Revista Nacional de educación num. 62 contained the version given in Madrid.)
  • La Idea de principio en Leibniz y la evolución de la teoría deductiva (The Idea of the Beginning in Leibniz and the evolution of deductive theory, 1947, published 1958)
  • Una interpretación de la Historia Universal. En torno a Toynbee (An interpretation of Universal History. On Toynbee, 1948, published in 1960)
  • Meditación de Europa (Meditation on Europe), lecture given in Berlin in 1949 with the Latin-language title De Europa meditatio quaedam. Published 1960 together with other previously unpublished works.
  • El hombre y la gente (Man and the populace, course given 1949-1950 at the Institute of the Humanities, published 1957; Willard Trask's translation as Man and People published 1957; Partisan Review published parts of this translation in 1952)
  • Papeles sobre Velázquez y Goya (Papers on Velázquez and Goya, 1950)
  • Pasado y porvenir para el hombre actual (Past and future for the man of today, published 1962, brings together a series of lectures given in Germany, Switzerland, and England in the period 1951-1954, published together with a commentary on Plato's Symposium.)
  • Goya (1958)
  • Velázquez (1959)
  • Origen y epílogo de la Filosofía (Origin and epilog to Philosophy, 1960),
  • La caza y los toros (Hunting and Bullfighting, 1960)

See also

References

  1. ^ Encarta Encyclopedia Spanish Version: Agrupación_al_Servicio_de_la_República Microsoft Corporation Spanish Version [1]. Archived 2009-10-31.
  2. ^ Philosophy Professor: Jose Ortega Y Gasset
  3. ^ The Dehumanisation of Art Princeton University Press 1972 page 146.
  4. ^ Wein-Plus Glossar: Ortega, accessed April 13, 2008

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Were art to redeem man, it could do so only by saving him from the seriousness of life and restoring him to an unexpected boyishness.

José Ortega y Gasset (1883-05-091955-10-18) was a Spanish philosopher.

Sourced

  • Were art to redeem man, it could do so only by saving him from the seriousness of life and restoring him to an unexpected boyishness. The symbol of art is seen again in the magic flute of the Great God Pan which makes the young goats frisk at the edge of the grove.
    All modern art begins to appear comprehensible and in a way great when it is interpreted as an attempt to instil youthfulness into an ancient world.
    • "Art a Thing of No Consequence" in The Dehumanization of Art and Ideas about the Novel [La deshumanización del Arte e Ideas sobre la novela] (1925)
  • No one knows toward what center human things are going to gravitate in the near future, and hence the life of the world has become scandalously provisional. Everything that today is done in public and in private — even in one's inner conscience — is provisional, the only exception being certain portions of certain sciences. He will be a wise man who puts no trust in all that is proclaimed, upheld, essayed, and lauded at the present day. All that will disappear as quickly as it came. All of it, from the mania for physical sports (the mania, not the sports themselves) to political violence; from "new art" to sun-baths at idiotic fashionable watering-places. Nothing of all that has any roots; it is all pure invention, in the bad sense of the word, which makes it equivalent to fickle caprice. It is not a creation based on the solid substratum of life; it is not a genuine impulse or need. In a word, from the point of view of life it is false.
    We are in presence of the contradiction of a style of living which cultivates sincerity and is at the same time a fraud. There is truth only in an existence which feels its acts as irrevocably necessary. There exists today no politician who feels the inevitableness of his policy, and the more extreme his attitudes, the more frivolous, the less inspired by destiny they are. The only life with its roots fixed in earth, the only autochthonous life, is that which is made of inevitable acts. All the rest, all that it is in our power to take or to leave or to exchange for something else, is mere falsification of life. Life today is the fruit of an interregnum, of an empty space between two organizations of historical rule — that which was, that which is to be. For this reason it is essentially provisional. Men do not know what institutions to serve in truth; women do not know what type of men they in truth prefer.
    The European cannot live unless embarked upon some great unifying enterprise. When this is lacking, he becomes degraded, grows slack, his soul is paralyzed. We have a commencement of this before our eyes today. The groups which up to today have been known as nations arrived about a century ago at their highest point of expansion. Nothing more can be done with them except lead them to a higher evolution. They are now mere past accumulating all around Europe, weighing it down, imprisoning it. With more vital freedom than ever, we feel that we cannot breathe the air within our nations, because it is confined air. What was before a nation open to all the winds of heaven, has turned into something provincial, an enclosing space.

Unsourced

  • A revolution only lasts fifteen years, a period which coincides with the effectiveness of a generation.
  • An "unemployed" existence is a worse negation of life than death itself.
  • Being an artist means ceasing to take seriously that very serious person we are when we are not an artist.
  • Better beware of notions like genius and inspiration; they are a sort of magic wand and should be used sparingly by anybody who wants to see things clearly.
  • Effort is only effort when it begins to hurt.
  • Excellence means when a man or woman asks of himself more than others do.
  • In order to master the unruly torrent of life the learned man meditates, the poet quivers, and the political hero erects the fortress of his will.
  • Law is born from despair of human nature.
  • Liberalism is that principle of political rights, according to which the public authority, in spite of being all-powerful, limits itself and attempts, even at its own expense, to leave room in the state over which it rules for those to live who neither think nor feel as it does, that is to say as do the stronger, the majority.
  • Life is a series of collisions with the future; it is not the sum of what we have been, but what we yearn to be.
  • Living is a constant process of deciding what we are going to do.
  • Love is that splendid triggering of human vitality the supreme activity which nature affords anyone for going out of himself toward someone else.
  • Our firmest convictions are apt to be the most suspect, they mark our limitations and our bounds. Life is a petty thing unless it is moved by the indomitable urge to extend its boundaries.
  • Stupefaction, when it persists, becomes stupidity.
  • Tell me to what you pay attention and I will tell you who you are.
  • The characteristic of the hour is that the commonplace mind, knowing itself to be commonplace, has the assurance to proclaim the rights of the commonplace and to impose them wherever it will.
  • The difficulties which I meet with in order to realize my existence are precisely what awaken and mobilize my activities, my capacities.
  • The metaphor is perhaps one of man's most fruitful potentialities. Its efficacy verges on magic, and it seems a tool for creation which God forgot inside one of His creatures when He made him.
  • There may be as much nobility in being last as in being first, because the two positions are equally necessary in the world, the one to complement the other.
  • To be surprised, to wonder, is to begin to understand.
  • To live is to feel oneself lost.
  • Under the species of Syndicalism and Fascism there appears for the first time in Europe a type of man who does not want to give reasons or to be right, but simply shows himself resolved to impose his opinions.
  • We cannot put off living until we are ready.
  • We distinguish the excellent man from the common man by saying that the former is the one who makes great demands on himself, and the latter who makes no demands on himself.
  • We do not live to think, but, on the contrary, we think in order that we may succeed in surviving.
  • We live at a time when man believes himself fabulously capable of creation, but he does not know what to create.
  • Men play at tragedy because they do not believe in the reality of the tragedy which is actually being staged in the civilised [sic] world.

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