By Oswald Sobrino, J.D.; M.A. (Econ.); M.A. (Theo.); M.L. (Master of Latin), doctoral student, University of Florida.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Routledge Encyclopedia on Ortega y Gasset



As part of my efforts to introduce more people to the seminal work of philosopher José Ortega y Gasset, I give you an excerpt from the excellent entry on Ortega in the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy (London, 1998):

The Spanish philosopher Ortega borrowed themes from early twentieth-century German philosophy and applied them with new breadth and urgency to his own context. Calling his philosophy 'vital reason' or ratiovitalism', he employed it initially to deal with the problem of Spanish decadence and later with European cultural issues, such as abstract art and the mass revolt against moral and intellectual excellence. Vital reason is more a method for coping with concrete historical problems than a system of universal principles. But the more disciplined the method became, the deeper Ortega delved into Western history to solve the theoretical and practical dilemmas facing the twentieth century.
. . . .
Ortega, one of the twentieth century's greatest essayists, deserves recognition as a brilliant transitional philosopher, bridging Husserl's phenomenology and Heidegger's ontology of existence with his own four principles [earlier listed in the entry as: "(1) my life is the 'radical reality', the framework in which all other realities (including reason) appear; (2) my life is a self-conscious problem of individual realization; (3) my problem amounts to deciding among specific possibilities for self-authentication; (4) the plurality of these possibilities defines my freedom in life; their quantitative finiteness, my limitation"].

You can find a concise, coherent explanation of those four principles, in detail, in my latest book pictured above. For the record, in my judgment, Ortega's work is not merely transitional to that of Heidegger but a still relevant and superior alternative to the work of Heidegger.


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