The Role of History in Latin American Philosophy

SUNY series in Latin American and Iberian Thought and Culture
Jorge J. E. Gracia and Rosemary Geisdorfer Feal, editors

The Role of History in Latin American Philosophy
Contemporary Perspectives

Edited by Arleen Salles and Elizabeth Millán-Zaibert

State University of New York Press

Latin American—History. ISBN 0-7914-6427-X (hardcover : alk. address State University of New York Press. or otherwise without the prior permission in writing of the publisher. photocopying. Arleen L. 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 . paper) 1. Millán-Zaibert. I. Valentine Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data The role of history in Latin American philosophy: contemporary perspectives/edited by Arleen Salles and Elizabeth Millán-Zaibert. electrostatic. Suite 305. F.—(SUNY series in Latin American and Iberian thought and culture) Includes bibliographical references and index. Albany © 2005 State University of New York All rights reserved Printed in the United States of America No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission. Series. mechanical. Salles. p.Published by State University of New York Press. magnetic tape. cm. 194 Washington Avenue. Albany. II. For information. NY 12210-2365 Production by Michael Haggett Marketing by Anne M. No part of this book may be stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means including electronic. Elizabeth. recording. III. Philosophy.

Martí Part II Writing the History of Latin American Philosophy in and Despite the Shadows of Its Colonial Legacy The Study of Philosophy’s History in Mexico as a Foundation for Doing Mexican Philosophy Mauricio Beuchot Philosophical Genealogies and Feminism in Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz María Luisa Femenías A Philosophical Debate Concerning Traditional Ethnic Groups in Latin America and the History of Philosophy León Olivé v vii 1 19 21 43 57 75 107 109 131 159 . Gracia Explanatory and “Argumentative” History of Philosophy Carlos Pereda History and Philosophy in the Latin American Setting: Some Disturbing Comments Eduardo Rabossi Breaking with the Past: Philosophy and Its History in Latin America Oscar R. E.Contents Acknowledgments Introduction Arleen Salles and Elizabeth Millán-Zaibert Part I Successful and Unsuccessful Models for Establishing a History of Latin American Philosophy The History of Philosophy and Latin American Philosophy Jorge J.

vi Contents How and Why to Foster the History of Philosophy in Postcolonial Contexts Horacio Cerutti-Guldberg Bibliography Contributors Index 197 215 229 233 .

As a result of that conversation. F. In a conversation with Jorge Gracia at a 1995 meeting of the American Philosophical Association. Ezequiel de Olaso from Argentina and Fernando Salmerón of Mexico enthusiastically supported the project and agreed to contribute articles. The contributors were selected on the basis of the quality of their published work in the area of the relation between philosophy and history. she was encouraged to prepare an anthology on how the ways in which the history of philosophy was dealt with at Latin American universities had influenced the development of philosophy in Latin America. Argentina. Salles. and the particular perspective each author could contribute to the discussion. the historical perspective of Beuchot and Martí. With their passing. Arleen L. Arleen contacted several Latin American philosophers and asked them to provide their views on the relation between philosophy and its history in Latin America. There were many philosophers who were supportive of the project. Chile. It is with great sadness that this expression of gratitude will never reach them—they died during the course of the project. hence we have the more analytic style of Rabossi. The authors who vii . important philosophical voices were lost. the feminist perspective of Femenías. who studied philosophy in Buenos Aires. and Pereda with the more suggestive style of Cerutti. began to reflect on how the pervasively historical approach to philosophy throughout Latin America affected the very conception of philosophy in the region. and Peru). One goal of the collection was to provide a representative range of views on the issue of history’s role in the development of Latin American philosophy.Acknowledgments The idea for this project began as one of the editors. and the sociopolitical approach of Olivé. We invited scholars from many countries in Latin America (including Brazil. Gracia.

and who works in the area of Latin American philosophy. We do believe. joined the project in 1999. and to the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments. and that not every philosopher we contacted was able to accept our invitation. editing the selections. and Uruguay. We wish to thank JoAnne Engelbert for her translation of Beuchot’s paper. Salles is grateful to Jorge Gracia for his consistent responsiveness to her concerns and for his valuable advice. that the articles that deal with the ramifications of the colonial period on the development of views of history in Latin America raise points that apply to both Spanish and Portuguese America. This panel discussion provided important impetus for the project. and translating some of the revisions that were sent in by the authors. . and hence that our reference to “Latin American Philosophy” in the title of this work is not misleading. Elizabeth Millán-Zaibert. Salles organized a panel for the Society for Iberian and Latin American Thought at the American Philosophical Association on the topic addressed in the collection. however. who spent a year teaching at the Universidad Simón Bolívar in Caracas. Perhaps most troubling is the absence of a voice from Brazil and an analysis of the effects of the Portuguese colonial presence in Latin America. Mexico. and we wish to express our gratitude to both of these students for their good work and to DePaul for the institutional support. Millán-Zaibert wishes to thank her husband. In 1999. who were receptive to our comments and suggestions and tirelessly went through many revisions of their work. the revisions were translated by Millán-Zaibert. We are grateful to Michael Rinella at SUNY Press for his support of this project. Cuba.viii Acknowledgments accepted our invitation come from Argentina. Both editors worked on the translation of Cerutti’s paper. coauthoring the introduction. Femenías’ paper was translated by Salles and revised by Millán-Zaibert. Olivé’s paper was sent in English. These funds enabled Melissa Avila and Melissa Campos to prepare the general bibliography. The editors are grateful to the contributing authors. for his unflagging support and his valuable comments and criticisms. the revisions were translated by Millán-Zaibert. We regret that more articles could not be included in this collection. Venezuela. and to Gus and Emma for their loyal support throughout the preparation of the volume. Leo Zaibert. The Dean’s Office of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences of DePaul University provided funding for two undergraduate assistants for Millán-Zaibert.

and German are recognized as important philosophical languages. the lack of general knowledge regarding Latin American philosophy can be attributed to many factors. In philosophy graduate programs throughout the United States. Spanish is relegated to the realm of magical realism or of immigrant fruit pickers. Latin American philosophy was neglected in the United States. French. and this is in part due to the fact that while English. Few major philosophical texts from Latin America have been translated into English.1 Given the rich and interesting history of Latin American philosophy. We believe that the contributions included in this volume demonstrate that there are original positions to be found in the work of Latin American philosophers and so that at least some philosophical work from Latin America offers new insights and solutions to problems. like the political one. one of which is a language barrier.Introduction Arleen Salles and Elizabeth Millán-Zaibert Until quite recently. Hence. was dominated by the colonizers. contemporary philosophical voices of the Latin 1 . students are encouraged to learn French and German and to read the philosophers who wrote in those languages. During the early history of Latin American philosophy. hence making it relevant to philosophers from other regions of the world. the contributions from Latin American thinkers were generally viewed to be mere copies of the work done by Spanish and Portuguese philosophers. such neglect is regrettable—the result of uninformed prejudices rather than of well-grounded judgments. Nowadays.” as the general view was that the intellectual tradition. there was not much interest in investigating the contributions from the “colonies. but Spanish is dismissed as a philosophically irrelevant language: a consequence of the view that the philosophical discussions in Latin America are mere echoes of discussions carried out in the United States or Europe. One goal we have in presenting this collection is to introduce some important.

and how they propose to overcome these hurdles. The main philosophical centers during the early colonial period were Mexico and Peru. and the major issues addressed in the colonies were similar to those prevalent in .2 European figures and traditions have usually been considered superior to anything autochthonously Latin American. the two places where there had been substantial indigenous empires and rich natural resources such as gold and silver. The Major Periods of Latin American Philosophy The Colonial Period and the Rise of Scholasticism in Latin America The history of Latin American philosophy can be broken down into three major periods. 1550–1750). who were sent by the Spanish and Portuguese Crowns to convert the indigenous people. The texts studied were those of medieval scholastics and of their Iberian commentators. The colonial past of Latin America has created a host of socioeconomic problems that continue to plague the region. a brief overview of the major periods of the history of Latin American philosophy is in order so that the reader will have a basic reference point for some of the points raised by our authors. The first recognized period of Latin American philosophy is the colonial period (ca. According to the prominent Mexican philosopher. and they also use the very history of Latin American philosophy to put forth arguments to contest the view that Latin American philosophy is inferior to the philosophy of Europe or the United States. a certain sense of inferiority affects the philosophers of Latin America and leads them to see their own philosophical tradition as less valuable than the traditions of Europe. The contributions of the philosophers included in this collection shed light on the roots of some of the generally dismissive views of Latin American philosophy put forth by Latin American philosophers themselves.2 Introduction American philosophical tradition. coveted by Europeans. Philosophy has not been free of the problems that accompanied the conquest of America by Spain and Portugal and the ensuing centuries of Spanish and Portuguese domination. The authors of this collection discuss some of the historical reasons for the tendency to devalue Latin American philosophy. Leopoldo Zea (1912–2004). The colonial period was shaped by the philosophical concerns of the Iberian clergy. Before turning to a discussion of how the authors included here address the ways in which history has been a hurdle for the development of philosophy in Latin America. It is our hope that this collection will help eliminate some of the prejudices that stand in the way of a serious reception of Latin American philosophy in the United States.

and so a complete break with scholasticism was in order. any colonial power. a view that has led to ruptures in Latin American intellectual history and which has created serious hurdles for establishing a coherent history of Latin American philosophy. Samuel Ramos (1897–1959) claims that scholasticism was used as an ideological weapon to protect the status quo and maintain an oppressive regime in New Spain (as Mexico was known during the colonial period). the century of independence movements in Latin America. thus infecting their intellectual tradition. shares Ramos’s generally disdainful view of scholasticism. The Mexican philosopher. Several authors in this collection address the damaging legacy of such a dismissive view of the colonial past. and the history of Latin American philosophy is said to begin with the period of independence. Nonetheless. Mauricio Beuchot. In their contributions to this volume.Introduction 3 Spain and Portugal. logical and metaphysical questions dominated philosophical discussion. Ramos is just one of a considerably large number of leading philosophers who has promoted a view of scholasticism as an instrument used to maintain the power and privilege of Spain and thereby contribute to the passive attitude of the Mexicans. Leopoldo Zea. One of the authors. three entire centuries of intellectual history are cast aside. but also the century between the fall of scholasticism and full independence.5 Yet.6 In his contribution to this collection.4 Ramos claims that when Mexico broke from Spain. thus. these interpretations of scholasticism have led many historians to ignore not only the two centuries of colonial thought shaped by scholasticism. humanistic aspect of this movement. Among other things. such as Ramos’s. On such accounts. who had little freedom to develop positions critical of the colonial powers and so did next to nothing to speak out against the injustices committed in the name of both crown and church. Oscar Martí and Mauricio Beuchot discuss the hazards of ignoring three centuries of thought and argue that we can only approximate a complete understanding of the history of Latin American . the scholastic emphasis on abstract speculation did not preclude a dedication by some of the period’s thinkers to the political and legal questions raised by the colonization of the Americas. has done much work to show that narrow readings of scholasticism. are oversimplistic and do not do justice to the scholastic movement. fresh start for a region no longer dominated by or dependent on. The 1800s. one of Mexico’s most important philosophers. are presented as a kind of clean. a philosophical revolution was needed to complement the political revolution. demonizing the entire colonial period as one in which the authority of the Spanish and Portuguese crowns and the Catholic church restricted the thought of the region’s thinkers.3 Critics of colonial scholasticism often overlook the progressive. Oscar Martí discusses the ramifications that such dismissals of scholasticism have had on the development of philosophy in Latin America.

to gain independence from Spain and Portugal. Yet. 1781–1865) were important figures of this movement. This period has been lauded as fundamental for the development of an intellectual tradition free from dependence on colonial powers for its models of thought. and it was generally interpreted as a kind of panacea for the ills caused by too long a reliance on the allegedly nonprogressive tendencies of scholasticism. another source of the thought of this period is found in the liberal ideas of the French philosophes. 1811– 1888). Latin American intellectuals equated positivism and its ahistorical method with progress not only for philosophy. and they remain important points of reference for Latin American philosophers. Positivists emphasized the explanatory value of empirical science and rejected metaphysics. This second major period of Latin American thought is named after the goals that the intellectuals of the New World had. The disenchantment with positivism heralded a new period in Latin American thought. and political needs of the newly liberated countries of Latin America. namely. educational reform. 1812–1884). and Andrés Bello (Venezuela.4 Introduction philosophy if we take a close. In Mexico. The independentist period was followed by positivism (1850–1910). Testifying to this is the preservation of the positivist inscription “Order and Progress” on the Brazilian national flag. Positivism exerted an unusually strong influence in Latin American society. there was a notable influence of European philosophical trends: a strong influence of Utilitarianism was reflected in the emphasis on progress and the move to make ideas tools for social change. but for society in general. which formed the foundation of scholasticism. Positivism’s warm reception hinged upon the promise of progress it offered. Independence and the Rise of Positivism A break with scholasticism was attempted during the independentist period (1750–1850). and progress. who made reason a measure of legitimacy in social and governmental matters. objective look at its entire history. not just those parts deemed virtuous and free of colonial dominion. critics of scholasticism note a crucial difference between the “imported” ideas that bolstered independence from the colonial power and the “imposed” ideas of the colonizers. financial. . Yet. while thinkers no longer turned to Spain and Portugal for models of thought.7 Each of these thinkers emphasized experience over theoretical speculation and was interested in issues of social justice. positivism’s popularity quickly waned. Juan Bautista Alberdi (Argentina. Domingo Faustino Sarmiento (Argentina. and when that promise was not delivered. the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz adopted positivism as its official philosophy. This was in part a response to the social.

for example. 1918). He focused on Mexican culture. Alejandro Korn (Argentina. a term coined by Francisco Romero.” A major figure of this generation who played a central role in the development of philosophical anthropology was Samuel Ramos. Raimundo de Farias Brito (Brazil. many philosophers have discussed the impact of the colonization on the development of culture in Mexico. 1891–1962) was also dedicated to the development of philosophical anthropology. Carlos Vaz Ferreira (Uruguay. and included Alejandro Octavio Deústua (Peru. other crucial influences in the overcoming of positivism and its legacy were vitalism and intuitionism. as “the generation of forgers. In addition to the work of the founders. Yet. Ramos’s book. José Ortega y Gasset. El perfil del hombre y la cultura en México (Profile of Man and Culture in Mexico) (1934). and this in universal terms rather than the culturally specific parameters outlined by Ramos. 1862–1917). thereby inspiring interest in what is culturally unique to Latin American nations. and his Teoría del hombre (Theory of Man) (1952) was highly influential. 1871–1964). This particularist tendency grew as result of a historical event that . 1872–1958). 1860–1936). In the case of Mexico. b. This group of thinkers became known as the founders. Enrique Molina (Chile. France. especially the versions imported from French philosophers such as Émile Boutroux and Henri Bergson. 1882–1959). 1883–1946). 1849–1945). Since the twentieth century there has been a tension in Latin American thought between those philosophers who focus on the universal human condition and those who focus on the particular conditions of specific cultural circumstances. Romero sought to develop a view of the human in terms of intentionality and spirituality. and Germany have been characterized by Francisco Miró Quesada (Peru. and Antonio Caso (Mexico. Ortega introduced the thought of German philosophers such as Max Scheler and Nicolai Hartmann to a generation of Latin American thinkers. thereby expanding the philosophical dialogue of the entire region.Introduction 5 Stabilization and Contemporary Latin American Philosophy (1910–present) The third period of Latin American Philosophy began with the generation of thinkers who adamantly rejected the central principles of positivism. arguably the most important force in the transition from positivism to vitalism was the influence of the Spanish philosopher. Francisco Romero (Argentina. José Vasconcelos (Mexico. The generation shaped by the founders and by the ideas imported from Spain. These thinkers began to develop thoughts that culminated in the development of what can be called philosophical anthropology. was the first attempt at interpreting Mexican culture.

León Olivé addresses the central role that the concept of mestizaje (or the mixing of races and cultures) continues to have in contemporary Latin American philosophy. During the late 1930s and 1940s. Beuchot reminds us in his article. Eduardo Nicol (1907–1986). a significant group of thinkers from Spain arrived in Latin America. Luis Recaséns Siches (1903–1977). El positivismo en México (Positivism in Mexico) (1943). Juan D.6 Introduction brought two traditions into even closer contact with one another and heralded yet another stage in the development of Latin American philosophy. Among those who had a strong influence on the development of Latin American philosophy are José Ferrater Mora (1912–1991). Leopoldo Zea. José Gaos (1900–1969). José Gaos was one of the most influential of the transterrados and references to his influence are found in many of the contributions to this volume. mestizo race. Their presence helped to break some of the national barriers that had existed in Latin America before their arrival. spreading ideas and contributing to an ever broadening philosophical dialogue. those who had crossed over from their land to settle in various Latin American countries. due to the upheavals created by the Spanish Civil War. and this resulted in one of Zea’s most important books. psychoanalytic approach to the problem of cultural identity was transformed by Zea into a critique of philosophy and the articulation of a mestizo (racially/culturally mixed) consciousness. The source of this line of questioning can be traced back to the events following the colonization. García Bacca (1901–1992). Gaos was a student of Ortega and became the teacher of one of Mexico’s most important philosophers. where the source of many contemporary issues can be found. In Zea’s work. The conception of hispanidad that they inherited from the Spanish philosopher Miguel de Unamuno (1864–1936) and the need to establish themselves in their adopted land helped the process. One of Ortega’s most important insights was that in order to understand ourselves. In his article. they went from country to country. The term mestizo points to an interest in issues associated with race and culture. Ortega had a strong influence on Zea’s views. when the Spaniards mixed with the indigenous people to create what became known in the cultures of the New World as a new. we must understand our circumstance. and Joaquín Xirau (1895–1946). especially in . Through Gaos. Zea’s unique philosophical approach was also influenced by Ramos. The latter’s existential. for it opens a philosophical discussion concerning the meaning of the being of a person who is of both Spanish and indigenous heritage. a central problem is the meaning of the Latin American circumstance for the development of the philosophy of the region. These philosophers became known as the transterrados (trans-landed). José Ortega y Gasset (1883–1955). we would do well to pay more serious attention to the colonial period. Gaos encouraged Zea to study the history of Mexican thought. For this reason.

original intellectual tradition in Latin America has been a misunderstanding of how to approach the history of philosophy. the history of philosophy has not developed well in Latin America. This is not unique to Latin American philosophy. at best. Latin American philosophers must have a history to which they can turn in order to assess the merits of the philosophical work done through the years. while neglecting the traditions developed within Latin . second-rate imitations of trends started elsewhere. and Latin Americans themselves are suspicious of its value. Yet. This is demonstrated by the fact that when Latin Americans engage in any kind of philosophical activity. such histories are scarce. they do so by adopting the philosophical views of European or North American intellectuals. should the question of the role of history in Latin American philosophy be of interest to us? Let us return for a moment to a problem that Zea has addressed in his work. The articles of part I deal with the issue of why. that is. despite the fact that historical approaches to philosophy are highly valued. A major hurdle in the development of a strong. With this admittedly brief account of the history of Latin American thought in mind. Historiographers of the philosophical mainstream do not feel the need to refer to it. Latin American philosophy has suffered from an inferiority complex.” Jorge Gracia takes as a starting point the fact that neither Latin American philosophy nor its history has been taken seriously by the Western philosophical community. In the opening essay. then. let us now turn to an overview of how the contributors to this volume respond to the issue of the role that history has played in the development of Latin American philosophy. According to Zea. In order to determine whether this belief is justified and true. from the belief that the philosophical traditions of Latin America do not measure up to those of Europe and are. Why. “The History of Philosophy and Latin American Philosophy. The first four essays explore a range of theoretical issues surrounding specific problems that have hindered the development of a solid history of Latin American philosophy and of measures that need to be taken in order to overcome these problems. Part I: Successful and Unsuccessful Models for Establishing a History of Latin American Philosophy Views about the relation between philosophy and its history affect the way in which one approaches the very activity of doing philosophy.Introduction 7 the debates over multiculturalism and related issue of rights for the conquered indigenous groups of Latin America.

To this end. Pereda. if one uses the history of philosophy philosophically. yet nonphilosophical way.” This approach leads to the creation of a conceptual map for determining the location and relation of ideas and figures in the history of philosophy relative to each other and to us. like Gracia. and it provides essential description. Gracia examines several historiographical approaches to philosophy that are popular in Latin America such as the culturalist. Like Gracia. and evaluation not only of positions but also of problems and arguments and thus maintains a strong philosophical dimension. Gracia argues that one important reason why Latin American philosophers do not take the ideas of their contemporaries or of their philosophical ancestors seriously is because “Latin American philosophy is not as original as it could be” and this lack of originality can be traced to the fact that Latin American philosophers “use the history of philosophy in their philosophizing and in the teaching of philosophy in a nonphilosophical way and therefore suppress rather than develop genuine philosophical activity and originality. and it can help foster a rich philosophical tradition.” Gracia maintains that although the application of the history of philosophy is not necessary for all tasks of philosophy. Gracia traces many of the ills facing philosophy in Latin America to the fact that Latin American philosophy is studied and taught in a historical. is neither merely to show the flaws in these approaches nor to argue that philosophy and its history are incompatible. the ideologist. And the framework approach is critical in contrast to doxographical approaches to the history of philosophy which “lack dimensions of interpretation and evaluation essential to the philosophical task of developing a comprehensive and adequate view of the world. suggests a way to overcome these hurdles. he proposes something he dubs “the framework approach. Gracia’s goal.8 Introduction America. interpretation. They do not further the recognition of the value of philosophical ideas and of their relations. Carlos Pereda is primarily concerned with the issue of how certain approaches to the history of philosophy in Latin America have created hurdles for the development of a robust philosophical tradition in the region. The framework approach is not limited by the particularism of the culturalist approach: it does not reduce philosophy to a form of cultural expression. which instrumentalizes the history of philosophy and subordinates philosophy to a particular interest. then the history of philosophy in Latin America can be rescued from the unphilosophical soil in which it has been seeded. . however. He argues that they are philosophically useless because they are fundamentally nonphilosophical in nature. It seeks the truth about the positions it examines. but rather to insist on the possibility of a philosophical approach to the history of philosophy.” In short. and the doxographical approaches. thus having clear advantages over the ideological approach.

and this requires the kind of reconstructive process typical of an explanatory reading. and connecting arguments. In Latin America. truth. A tone of alarm and an accompanying urge for change in how the history of philosophy is received by Latin American philosophers continues in the next article of the collection. Argumentative history is concerned with generating debates by confronting arguments. reconstructing texts and discourses. works. “Explanatory and ‘Argumentative’ History of Philosophy. Eduardo Rabossi. In turn. this has resulted in a mistaken understanding of philosophical activity (which requires not only understanding. and train themselves to confront arguments and address questions of truth and relevance. discusses the uncritical ways in which the history of philosophy has taken over in Latin America. “History and Philosophy in the Latin American Setting: Some Disturbing Comments. and value. providing pieces of information without making it clear why the information is philosophically relevant. Rabossi is troubled by the general assumption that being a historian of philosophy is the appropriate way of being a philosopher in Latin America. . one must know what the author is saying.” “first-rate historical research is not as frequent as one would expect. Explanatory history is concerned with explaining the past. Pereda observes that an explanatory approach plays an important role in an argumentative reading.” by Argentine philosopher. He points to a strange situation. and philosophers to their time. they must go beyond doxographical accounts. but the evaluation of arguments) as history of philosophy. and it is guided by concerns about comprehension. who is well known for his work in analytic philosophy. Pereda argues. namely that while there is a widespread conviction that “being a historian of philosophy is a way—perhaps the way of being a philosopher. understand the argument in the first place. an argumentative reading plays an important role in determining and justifying the subject matter of an explanatory history.” Pereda delineates two different approaches to the history of philosophy and argues that the problem of Latin American philosophy is its tendency to sever the connections between them. Rabossi. The history of philosophy has been totally assimilated to a deficient version of explanatory history: it has become mere doxography.Introduction 9 In his article. the separation of these two kinds of readings has affected not only the history of philosophy but philosophy itself.” Rabossi calls for a more critical approach to the general view that the history of philosophy is philosophically relevant and indispensable to the development of the discipline. On the other hand. for in order to confront and evaluate arguments. having an especially pernicious effect on how philosophy is taught at Latin American universities. Pereda concludes that if Latin American thinkers really want to engage in philosophical inquiry.

According to Martí.” Latin America’s colonial past gave rise to a general disdain for the history of the region. inherently deficient. a period during which the authority of the Spanish and Portuguese Crowns and the Catholic religion silenced all philosophical voices that . Indeed. he points out.” Oscar Martí also focuses on the striking absence of histories of Latin American philosophy before the turn of the twentieth century. and historians of art are not artists in virtue of their status as historians. factors external to philosophy itself. An uncritical assumption that engagement with the history of philosophy is a necessary part of doing philosophy will not serve the field of philosophy well.” Rabossi goes on to question the philosophical merit of purely historical approaches to philosophy. asks Rabossi.10 Introduction He claims that “by doing the history of philosophy one gains in authority and prestige without being exposed to the hazards of having to induce progress in the state of the art. Martí considers several possible reasons for this. as Martí indicates: “Much of what passed as a Hispanic past and its philosophical tradition was rejected as biased—based upon backward and oppressive superstitions. Martí points out. being a historian of medicine does not make one a physician. there has been little high quality work in the history of philosophy carried out in Latin America. do we assume that a historian of philosophy is a philosopher? Rabossi calls for arguments in favor of the philosophical relevance of the history of philosophy in light of the fact that in Latin America it is uncritically assumed by many in the field of philosophy that the only way to be a philosopher is by doing the history of philosophy. Furthermore. and not enough philosophers to create one. beginning with the scholastic period of Latin American philosophy. and not deserving of a history. Why then. Martí also discusses reasons related to socioeconomic factors. Martí’s argument is centered around what he ultimately takes to be a more promising reason to account for the dearth of histories of Latin American philosophy: the fact that scholars in Latin America have to value the past in order to consider it worthy of writing about. none of these explanations adequately explains the scarcity of histories of Latin American philosophy. Rabossi points out that despite the high value placed on the relation between history and philosophy. it has been claimed that there was no philosophical tradition in Latin America. Yet. Some argue that there was no philosophical activity worthy of consideration in Latin America before the twentieth century: according to these voices. most Latin American thought was merely imitative and thus. afterall. Martí supports his claim with ample historical evidence. “Breaking with the Past: Philosophy and Its History in Latin America. In his article. being a historian of chemistry does not make one a chemist. that is. such as oppression and social turmoil that are taken to be impediments to the flourishing of philosophical activity in Latin America.

the contributions in part II are more concerned with the practical issue of writing a history of philosophy for a region overshadowed by its colonial past. one of Mexico’s leading historians of colonial philosophy. Martí points out that one of the independence period’s leading intellectuals. because by looking to the . Beuchot highlights three reasons why an awareness of the past is critical in order to do philosophy: (1) in order to have an adequate understanding of concrete philosophical problems of today. a new period in the history of Latin American thought was heralded. “and who would want to write about barbarism?” According to Martí. but that it is necessary and that we have an obligation to attend to the past. and during which time anything American was looked down upon as barbaric. with the authors offering theoretical solutions to the problem.Introduction 11 spoke out against them. (2) philosophical progress is impossible without a constant dialogue with the past. The past was seen as a source of gloom and lacking in progress. viewed the history of Argentina as a process from barbarism to civilization. Part II: Writing the History of Latin American Philosophy in and Despite the Shadows of Its Colonial Legacy The articles in part II of this collection explore the complexity inherent to the attempt to do the history of philosophy in a region still haunted by the specter of colonialism. “The Study of Philosophy’s History in Mexico as a Foundation for Doing Mexican Philosophy. In order to support his claims concerning the value of history for the activity of philosophizing. Unlike the articles in part I. we need to understand them genetically. Domingo Faustino Sarmiento. As the colonies began to break from Spain and Portugal. defends the view that the history of philosophy is not only useful to the development of the discipline. understanding the reason for the absence of histories of Latin American philosophy requires understanding the complicated relation Latin American philosophers have to the colonial past of their respective countries. In his article. positivism became the official position of many newly independent countries. Underlying Beuchot’s view is a contextual understanding of philosophy as an essentially situated activity that far from being threatened by particularistic considerations and values is enriched by them. and during the period of independence.” Mauricio Beuchot. modern thought replaced scholasticism. which are focused on the tension between the high value placed on approaching philosophy historically in Latin America and the fact that there is little original history of Latin American philosophy actually done.

that group of thinkers who are interested in issues related to cultural identity.” This leads these thinkers to dismiss the colonial period and its philosophers. Beuchot argues his case for the crucial role that history plays in philosophy by referencing a neglected period of thought: colonial philosophy. has led many indigenous scholars to “portray colonial thought as obscurantist and exclusively concerned with legitimizing genocide. María Luisa Femenías also point to the problems of ignoring the past. Beuchot contends. Beuchot discusses the concept of mestizaje. The colonial past.12 Introduction contributions of past philosophers we find both models that we can emulate and mistakes that we should avoid (in this way the history of philosophy provides us with a dialogue). dedicated most of his life to defending the rights of the indigenous people of New Spain. which was studied during the colonial period and continues to shape Mexican thought. arguing that justice calls for us to be vigilant about the spaces created (or . as Beuchot explains.” According to Beuchot. and (3) a serious study of the past enables us to come to terms with the tradition to which we belong.” The important relation between philosophy and history is not limited to the tradition in Mexico: progress in philosophy is linked to an understanding of the past. Beuchot’s careful historical work presents an accurate and detailed account of the figures and issues that shaped the colonial period. as Beuchot’s discussion of some of the leading thinkers of the periods demonstrates. yet this dismissal is based on a serious misreading of the period. discussions surrounding the meaning and legacy of mesitzaje continue to be of interest to contemporary philosophers trying to understand the issues raised by multicultural societies in their quest to establish norms that will take the needs and rights of conquered groups into account. to a kind of cultural mixing. especially. Bartolomé de las Casas. a deeper awareness of the strong humanistic tradition that has manifested itself as an enduring concern for the integration of its indigenous people and the question of their just treatment would enable contemporary Mexicans to deal with some pressing social problems. and with a clear sense of the history of Mexico we obtain clarity regarding the concrete problems that have been presented philosophically: problems such as ideological emancipation. theories and attitudes still prevalent today. As Beuchot explains. “[t]he history of ideas in Mexico is bound to the history of the country. According to Beuchot the neglect of the colonial period is unwarranted: the philosophers of the colonial period raised “problems. in the case of Mexico. Beuchot stresses that. for example.” To substantiate this claim. and even more importantly. national identity. and multiculturalism. the term mestizaje “refers not only to the racial mixing that went on during and after the colonization but also.

and history can serve each other in important ways. Moreover. Femenías deals with the arguments of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. spaces that would facilitate an appreciation of their contributions. “Philosophical Genealogies and Feminism in Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. Femenías points out that even well-intentioned alternatives to the exclusionary system of Hegel (for example. Sor Juana advocated the equality of men and women. Indeed. we are given a way to reflect on how philosophers in Latin America can create new spaces in the history of ideas. Yet.” represents the kind of approach that Pereda recommends in his essay. León Olivé is also concerned with how the history of philosophy grows when new issues are introduced. Femenías argues that philosophy and feminist thought are served by history and that they serve history. Sor Juana’s mastery of rhetorical techniques allows her to place herself in the unthreatening space traditionally occupied by women (and thus to slip by the censors) while defending her status as an intellectual woman. As Femenías points out. Femenías discusses the general problem of accommodating a figure like Sor Juana into any historical scheme: she was a woman. Femenías’s article provides a clear portrait of how the feminist reconstruction of history rescued the work of Sor Juana from philosophical oblivion and thereby also broadened the history of philosophy by enlarging the notion of who counts as a philosopher. how to construct a space in the history of ideas to accommodate and legitimize her contributions. that is. Femenías’s article also demonstrates that according intellectual women a place in the cannon was a problem that endured long after the colonial period of which Sor Juana was a part. in a time during which women were not even seen as subjects. Hispanic thinker. feminist thought. She delineates two kinds of feminism in Sor Juana. In his article. a feminist. traditional genealogies of thought leave no space for the contributions of a female.” By considering the problems that Sor Juana confronted. and demonstrated women’s rational capabilities by her witty poems and her famous “Response” to Sor Filotea. Femenías discusses Sor Juana’s feminism and her philosophy. a poet. Foucault’s work) failed to accommodate Sor Juana as a “woman/subject/poet/feminist/philosopher. and so Sor Juana’s contributions do not even show up on the Hegelian radar screen.Introduction 13 those that are absent) in the intellectual histories we create. “A Philosophical . she shows how philosophy. Sor Juana’s explicit feminism is underscored in some of her most famous poems where she defends the rights of women. Hegel’s account of the development of Spirit leaves women and the entire continent of Latin America out of the picture. and more than merely trying to explain the history of Sor Juana’s thought. Yet. and a philosopher. Her article. there is a more subtle kind of feminism displayed by Sor Juana’s rhetorical uses of language.

and the problem of cultural diversity and moral relativism. And given that “the multicultural situation in Mexico and in many Latin American countries is different from that in the United States. He is willing to concede that although beneficial. but also from Latin America.” Olivé discusses the role of the history of philosophy and the contributions made to the debate concerning multiculturalism in Latin America (especially in Mexico)—he is particularly interested in the issues of the rights of ethnic minorities.” Salmerón and Villoro were students of Gaos and therefore strongly influenced by Gaos’s teacher. (2) as ideas that provide a background for their analysis.” Olivé is particularly concerned with the role that traditions have played in the debates concerning multiculturalism in Latin America. Fernando Salmerón. to discuss the construction of the philosophical foundations of multiculturalism. Through a careful examination of their work. Yet. these thinkers “belong to the first generation which in the twentieth century developed a professional treatment of philosophy in Latin America. knowledge of the past is not necessary for shaping all ideas. and evolve. and Europe. the relationship between the state and minority groups. which is not the same as the situation in England or Spain. as a challenge to certain discussions of multiculturalism going on in Canada and the United States. he makes it clear that he does not believe that historical perspective and knowledge is always necessary to practice philosophy. Olivé organizes his discussion around the work of three prominent contemporary Latin American philosophers: Ernesto Garzón Valdés of Argentina. Ortega y Gasset. Olivé identifies three ways in which these thinkers use past philosophical ideas: (1) as ideas that shape their thought. that is problems that affect the state and its relationship to traditional ethnic groups. or for coming up with solutions to all philosophical problems. and Luis Villoro. and uses the work of Valdés.” it makes sense to look to the discussions from thinkers not only from the United States. to deal with the political and social problems concerning the situation of the indigenous groups in Mexico. Olivé contends that serious attention to history is necessary in order to address the problems surrounding multiculturalism in Latin America. and Salmerón. Olivé tries to show the mistake in any attempt to isolate historical considerations from the discussion of some of the key issues raised by multiculturalism in a Latin American context. As Olivé tells us. Olivé understands multiculturalism as “a normative concept which could justify the so-called ‘right to difference’ applied to cultures. the right of a given culture to preserve itself. that is to say. and (3) as ideas that constitute the object of philosophical analysis. Villoro. and the Mexican philosophers.14 Introduction Debate Concerning Traditional Ethnic Groups in Latin America and the History of Philosophy. flourish. reproduce. Canada. Yet. knowledge . Olivé points to the Nahuas of central Mexico.

dependence with domination. and closer attention to its “less spectacular moments”.Introduction 15 of history is critical.” not to “discourses. Cerutti is sympathetic to the view that the history of philosophy is philosophically relevant. “refers to the course of history and the situations that the course of history produces. Cerutti addresses some . we are told. Does There Exist a Philosophy of Our America?. After presenting these milestones and discussing their importance for the development of philosophy in Latin America.” Thus the history of philosophy is necessary to deal with issues of group rights for indigenous groups and other such issues raised by multiculturalism. interpretations.” Horacio Cerutti-Guldberg provides a useful summary of how the history of Latin American philosophy has been told since the postcolonial era. He begins his essay with an account of three historical milestones of the Latin American historiographical tradition: (1) a prologue to Emile Bréhier’s history of philosophy written by Ortega in 1942.” In his self-described “short and provocative essay. during this postcolonial period. according to Cerutti. according to Olivé.” According to Cerutti. Conflict between the History of Philosophy in Mexico and the History of Philosophy in General ). approaches or schools of thought. The term postcolonial. and (3) Augusto Salazar Bondy’s 1968 book. made the categories of alienation. which “started in the beginning of the nineteenth century” and has lasted until now. (2) the attempt by José Gaos to define the object of study of a history of Hispanic-American philosophy (in Gaos’s 1952 work. After a survey of the three decisive moments that shaped the Latin American historiographic tradition. And. these notions are such that “in order to understand those institutions and cultures correctly. Latin America has witnessed “at least two types of situations”: neocolonialism (exemplified by Puerto Rico) and dependence with domination (which has given rise to liberation philosophy). which. which is a reflection on the necessity of a reassessment of the history of philosophy. and then moves on to a discussion of the problems with how the history of philosophy is taught at Latin American universities and what measures need to be taken in order to move from a memory of what came before to the creation of a history of Latin American philosophy. and structural transformation essential topics of philosophical discussion in the Latin American region. Cerutti compares the Latin American tradition to contemporary African thought. it is necessary to understand the ideas constitutive of their identity as they were originally discussed and later developed. The last essay of the collection takes up the concrete problem of “How and Why to Foster the History of Philosophy in Postcolonial Contexts. Olivé argues that the notion of a state or of a culture both play a significant role in the examination of the particular needs and demands of indigenous groups.

coming from a region of former colonies. for “one cannot prolong or break with that which is not known. and that is not the way in which philosophical knowledge proceeds. some of it quite valuable. In the good company of several of the other contributors to this volume. except by coincidence. All of the authors agree that the history of Latin America and the way in which the history of Latin American philosophy has been handled. Despite the tone of alarm that runs through the collection. How can this situation of dependency be overcome? One way is to critically evaluate how philosophy is taught at Latin American universities. Cerutti faults the way that the history of philosophy is taught in the universities. in particular. who claim that philosophers have tended to ignore the colonial past and so ignore three decades of thought. Cerutti bemoans the prevalent method of philosophical instruction “carried out according to manualistic criteria and in a piecemeal way. which. which. Yet unlike Martí and Beuchot. (4) the recognition that thought is particular and situated—the upshot of this is an examination of Indigenous and Afro-American thought overlooked when the particular circumstances of Latin America are not attended to.” Like Beuchot. Cerutti emphasizes that the Latin American essayist tradition has been looked down on in comparison to the grand. and (5) an openness to different forms of expression. and which. in the case of Latin America would have to address the patterns of political domination. While there are some exceptions.” Cerutti then turns to a discussion of African philosophy. Cerutti argues that the memory of the colonized has been stripped. rigorous systems developed in other traditions. faces similar problems to those faced by Latin American philosophy. such as Gracia and Pereda. he advances a proposal to develop a history of philosophy for the postcolonial Latin American context that will fertilize philosophy rather than leading to what he calls an epistemically arid field.16 Introduction of the problems raised by Martí and Beuchot concerning the effects of the colonization on the history of the region.” Thus. the past has been distorted to “consolidate domination. there is also . (2) the determination of a starting point. the situation of dependency. (3) the definition of criteria that can be used to divide the history into different periods. in the case of Latin America. Cerutti emphasizes. Each of the articles in the collection sheds light on the tradition of Latin American philosophy and suggests ways for strengthening that tradition. have created hurdles for the development of philosophy in the region. Cerutti contends that philosophy cannot advance without attention to the past. would have to affirm the existence of pre-Colombian philosophy and its present-day cultural manifestations. Cerutti ends his essays with a discussion of the following pressing needs for such a history: (1) the delimitation of the object of study.

Included in the volume were articles from the leading figures doing work in the field. 1988). Thinking from the Underside of History (Lanham. Also indicative of the growing interest in the field is Jorge Gracia and Elizabeth Millán-Zaibert. editors. MD: Lexington. Values. 1999). . Alcoff ’s recent work on mixed race identity shows that much fertile ground remains to be explored in Latin American thought. Issues.” Philosophy Today 44 (2000): 30–40. Latin American Philosophy: Currents. See Samuel Ramos. edited by Naomi Zack (Lanham. 1959). for example. Notes 1. Debates (Bloomington.” The Philosophical Forum 20 (1989): 33–42 and “The Actual Function of Philosophy in Latin America.Introduction 17 much hope. Selected Writings of Andrés Bello (Oxford: Oxford University Press. MD: Rowman and Littlefield. Iván Jaksic. ed. and Andrés Bello: Scholarship and Nation Building in Nineteenth Century Latin America (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 3. Augelli (Lawrence. 2001). see. 1993). Aristotle and the American Indians (Chicago: Henry Regnery Company. Latin American Philosophy for the twenty-first Century. 2002). The Meaning and Problem of Hispanic American Thought. The Identity of Liberation in Latin American Thought: Latin American Historicism and the Phenomenology of Leopoldo Zea (Lanham. John P. August Salazar Bondy. editor. op. 2003). and the Search for Identity (Amherst. In the last few years. 1969). Gracia has published. See also: Eduardo Mendieta. 2. see her articles. Cf. One of the earliest signs of serious interest in Latin American philosophy by the philosophical community in the United States was the special double issue on Latin American philosophy edited by Jorge Gracia for The Philosophical Forum 20 (1989). 2004). 1997). IN: Indiana University Press. Latin American Philosophy for the twenty-first Century: the Human Condition. Academic Rebels in Chile: The Role of Philosophy in Higher Education and Politics (Albany: State University of New York Press. through his translation and scholarly work on the Venezuelan philosopher. “Identity: A Latin American Philosophical Problem. Andrés Bello and other key figures of the period. CO: Westview Press. editors. See his. Kansas: Center of Latin American Studies of the University of Kansas. Susana Nuccetelli. attention to the area of Latin American philosophy has been growing steadily.. More recently. and Latin American Philosophy: An Introduction with Readings (Upper Saddle River. Historia de la filosofía en México (Mexico: UNAM. 4. 2000). See also. NY: Prometheus Press. Ofelia Schutte’s work has also helped to generate interest in Latin American philosophy. cit. 1985).” in Jorge Gracia and Elizabeth Millán-Zaibert. Hispanic/Latino Identity: A Philosophical Perspective (Oxford: Blackwell. 1995) and “Habits of Hostility: On Seeing Race. NJ: Prentice Hall. is drawing attention to South American philosophical and political traditions. Mario Sáenz. Linda Martín Alcoff and Eduardo Mendieta. 2000). as each author has also offered solutions to the problem of how to create a history of Latin American thought that does justice to this rich tradition. MD: Rowman and Littlefield. There have been several studies highlighting the philosophical relevance of his work: see especially Lewis Hanke. Latin American Thought: Philosophical Problems and Arguments (Boulder. 2004). “Mestizo Identity” in American Mixed Race. especially as North American intellectuals become more interested in race. ed. Leopoldo Zea. See especially the work of Bartolomé de las Casas. see her Cultural Identity and Social Liberation in Latin American Thought (Albany: SUNY Press.

eds. The History of Philosophy in Colonial Mexico. 6. See especially. Andrés Bello: Scholarship and Nation Building in Nineteenth Century Latin America (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Iván Jaksic. Mauricio Beuchot. et al. trans. Author of a Nation (Berkeley: University of California Press. 1996). 1–18.18 Introduction 5. 1955). . 1997) and Iván Jaksic. La filosofía en México (Mexico: Libro-Mex. DC: The Catholic University of America Press.. 2001).. 1994). Elizabeth Millán-Zaibert (Washington. Cf. Selected Writings of Andrés Bello (Oxford: Oxford University Press. Sarmiento. esp. pp.. 7.. ed. See Leopoldo Zea. Iván Jaksic.

Part I Successful and Unsuccessful Models for Establishing a History of Latin American Philosophy .

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in part imposed by a system of ideological domination of first-world countries that emphasizes the marginal intellectual situation of Latin America. Augusto Salazar Bondy. we find philosophers who go beyond repetition.6 It is expressed by Latin American philosophers of very different persuasions. moved beyond the repetition of philosophical views and positions developed elsewhere. Indeed. The well-known Peruvian historian. reveals that the history of Latin American philosophy is not taken seriously. E.2 Moreover. primarily in Europe. Latin American thought is often characterized as something idiosyncratic.3 Historiographers of the philosophical mainstream. including some produced in Latin America itself. An even superficial perusal of those histories. many reasons and explanations of it have been proposed.4 And philosophyof-liberation historians do not tire of reminding Latin Americans of their intellectually servile attitude. Latin American philosophy has not. This fact is well known to Latin American philosophers. and with reason. for the most part. when mentioned. Occasionally. but more recently in the United States as well. Gracia State University of New York at Buffalo It is not an exaggeration to say that the history of Latin American philosophy does not have a presence in general histories of Western philosophy. and even exotic.5 Moreover.Chapter 1 The History of Philosophy and Latin American Philosophy Jorge J. then. a development of concern only to a few specialists who have particular interests in Latin American culture. do not feel the need to make reference to Latin American philosophy.1 Latin American philosophy is considered marginal to the history of Western thought. the view that Latin American philosophy generally lacks originality is a common place. appropriating the problems that prompted the views they borrow. claimed two decades ago that it is in part the Latin American complex of inferiority with respect to Europe and the United States that has contributed to the alienation of Latin American philosophy from the mainstream of Western philosophy. but it is seldom that we find even an 21 .

I would like to suggest that one important reason why Latin American philosophy is so disparaged. both within and without Latin America. they often talk of them as important figures in the development of ideas in their countries. Latin American philosophy is generally regarded as lacking originality and is not taken seriously even by the Latin American philosophical community. . like all the history of philosophy in Latin America. After all.22 The History of Philosophy and Latin American Philosophy attempt to give a solution to a problem that goes beyond what others have already suggested. Some critics of Latin American philosophy go further than this even. Yes.8 But do Latin Americans take seriously the ideas of their philosophical ancestors and of many of their contemporaries who presumably do philosophy when they are addressing philosophical issues and problems? No. therefore. claiming that there are in fact no philosophers in Latin America. they argue. I would like to suggest that one important reason why Latin American philosophy is not as original as it could be is that Latin American philosophers use the history of philosophy in their philosophizing and in their teaching of philosophy in a nonphilosophical way and. The most one can expect is the attempt to try to adapt the views of Europeans and North Americans to the cultural. In this essay. Latin American philosophy has had very little success in. there is merit in what many Latin American philosophers have done in the way of philosophy. but it is still a far cry from what many philosophers in Europe and the United States routinely do. then. Moreover. or even to criticize. or even in Latin America as a whole. is not just that it does not quite measure up to the philosophy carried out in Europe and North America. where is the evidence of the impact of Latin American philosophy outside of Latin America? Indeed. done nonphilosophically. it is that the history of Latin American philosophy is also. and there is little of philosophical value in the so-called history of Latin American philosophy. selling itself to philosophers within and without Latin America because its historians have treated it nonphilosophically. suppress rather than develop genuine philosophical activity and originality. is clear. and economic conditions in Latin America. they turn away from Latin America and pay attention rather to those of European and North American philosophers. There is also another reason. or at least attempt to do. we might say. even Latin Americans think so poorly of their own philosophers that they seldom refer to their views as anything that deserves attention. let alone come up with a new solution to it. political. for in spite of its faults and shortcomings. The situation. of course. when Latin Americans look for philosophical views to adopt. The reason that Latin American philosophy is not considered highly by philosophers goes beyond its quality. authenticity and even originality in this sort of attempt.7 There is.

even if only recent history. and (2) it involves areas of investigation that are uniquely philosophical such as ethics. particular objects or kinds of objects.9 As such. philosophy can be distinguished from other disciplines of learning in two ways: (1) It is more general insofar as all other disciplines of learning are concerned with restricted areas of knowledge involving specific methodologies. particularly when I reveal the shortcomings of different methodologies used in relation to Latin American philosophy. having been presented in texts. Gracia 23 But what does it mean to say that Latin American philosophy is studied and taught nonphilosophically? This should become clear as we go along. and even those philosophers who pride themselves in doing philosophy nonhistorically. but also when I present the way I believe it should be studied and taught.Jorge J. The first is that the aim of philosophy is to develop a view of the world. either because of conceptual inconsistencies. It is important to recognize that most philosophers everywhere rely heavily on historical texts of philosophy for . Second. The second point is that philosophy concerns the solution of philosophical problems. in fact this is almost impossible. which seeks to be accurate. and metaphysics. philosophy is taught with texts from historical figures. is to proceed so as to achieve the aims of the discipline. however recent they may be. To proceed philosophically. or any of its parts. and to proceed nonphilosophically is precisely to proceed in ways that divert oneself from achieving those aims. empirical evidence. that is. philosophy is not merely a descriptive enterprise. of problems that surface precisely when one tries to achieve the aim just stated. Finally. That these others may be contemporaries of theirs does not change the fact that their views. and supported by sound evidence. it also involves interpretation and evaluation. or inadequacies of other sorts. and to teach it otherwise would be both difficult and undesirable. if the culprit of both the state of Latin American philosophy and the lack of reputation it enjoys is the way the history of philosophy is studied. consistent. logic. are part of history. one way to try to remedy the situation is to eliminate the culprit. comprehensive. often present their views in reaction to the views of others. Let us do away completely with the study of the history of philosophy in Latin America and concentrate on doing philosophy. Some. is an obstacle to philosophy. Now. such as Latin. but in fact it is not a realistic alternative for at least four reasons. And. have gone so far as to say that the knowledge of certain dead languages. there have been Latin American voices who have suggested just that. First. then. Nonetheless. or both. E. although it is in principle possible to do philosophy without engaging in any kind of study of the history of philosophy. indeed. echoing Carnap. This solution seems to be an easy way out of the situation. perhaps I should anticipate what I say later by adding here three points.

the probability that Latin American philosophers will abandon the interest in their own intellectual history. can and does serve to help the contemporary philosopher. so that we may later compare them with a more philosophically fruitful approach. Rather than completely discarding the history of philosophy. represent some of the most popular approaches to the history of philosophy and thus should be sufficient to make my point. The emphasis in this approach is not to understand philosophical ideas considered as ideas that are supposed to address specific philosophical . Unfortunately. particularism. although limited. then. if treated correctly. there is not a single way in which the history of philosophy is used in philosophical contexts in Latin America. and indeed there is such variety in that use that an accurate description of it would require more space and time than I have at my disposal. the solution to the problematic situation of Latin American philosophy today is to teach and do both histories in a way that can help the philosophical task and underscore the philosophical worth of Latin American philosophy. and in general a desire to search for roots and cultural identity. the history of philosophy is an incredibly rich reservoir of philosophical opinion which. Wrong Approaches to the History of Philosophy How do Latin American philosophers use the history of philosophy? It would be easy to answer this question if the way the history of philosophy is used in Latin America were uniform.12 Given these limitations. These examples. I shall refer to three historiographical approaches: the culturalist. and even in their own philosophical history.13 The Culturalist Approach The culturalist approach tries to understand the philosophical ideas from the past as expressions of the complex cultural matrix from which they germinated. even if they do not prove in any conclusive way. there is no reason why the study of the history of philosophy should be an obstacle to philosophy.24 The History of Philosophy and Latin American Philosophy teaching the discipline and to expect a change in this would be unrealistic. is remote at a time when most parts of the world are seeing a revival of nationalism.10 Finally. Third. the ideological. the view I wish to propose. we must content ourselves with the brief examination of some of the ways in which Latin American philosophers use the history of philosophy.11 In principle. ethnicity. and the doxographical. both the history of philosophy in general and the history of Latin American philosophy in particular.

in brief. results in general rather than particular analyses of these ideas. Ideas. The culturalist understands past philosophies as part of a general cultural development. Culturalists. to the circumstances that give rise to them. are neither history nor philosophy. Among the most important exponents of this kind of historiography are Samuel Ramos and Félix Schwartzmann. is regarded as unimportant unless it can be used to tell us something about the spirit or mind of the times. as representative phenomena from a period or epoch. such as art. This approach conceives philosophical ideas as part and parcel of a culture. The analysis of arguments or particular opinions. moreover. but they are opposed to its evaluation. This leads frequently to the neglect of arguments and particular philosophical views. are not disembodied abstractions and do not result from abstract arguments. beginning in the second decade of this century. are concerned with the whole picture and because of that they often neglect details. social customs. The aim of historians of philosophy is not to evaluate past ideas or to see them as products of individual minds. Historians who employ this strategy concentrate on the description. Philosophical ideas are treated as symptoms of other factors which are more important for the historian to understand. thus revealing the conceptual foundations of the culture in which they originate. The historical accounts of culturalists have little use for even the cursory analysis of past arguments and philosophical views of individual philosophers. treating them as entities isolated from the cultural matrix that gave them birth. but is not interested in the philosophical value of those philosophies. ideas are acts which take place in particular circumstances and histories of ideas that discuss ideas abstractly. then. but they do so in terms of forces external to philosophy and to what the great majority of philosophers consider their task. for whom the study of Latin American thought is closely related to Latin American culture. Rather.Jorge J.14 For both. religion. The task of the history of philosophy. science. their aim is to reveal the connections between those ideas and the cultural mentality and background from which they sprung and which they represent. Culturalists seek to explain why this or that idea arose. and to a certain extent on the interpretation of the past. Gracia 25 issues and solve specific philosophical problems formulated by particular persons. The preoccupation with tying philosophical ideas with other aspects of culture. Latin American philosophy. and the like. and indeed any philosophy. In Latin America. considered as cultural human responses and reactions. literature. They seek general conclusions that they can then relate to other cultural phenomena. is to make clear the relations among ideas. the culturalist approach has been extensively used in part as a result of the great influence of José Ortega y Gasset’s perspectival and culturalist conception of philosophy. so the argument goes. . E.

” which in turn begins with a discussion of method. indigenism. Obviously. Philosophical interpretation and evaluation independently of cultural considerations are superfluous. is to uncover these relations. it was this book that created the framework that was eventually adopted for the culturalist study of philosophical ideas. what type of culture can it have? To this must be added that Ramos and his followers had inherited Ortega’s view that philosophy is a cultural expression. and customs of particular cultures. it is a classic locus. For this reason. Abstract questions of metaphysics and logic must be translated into concrete questions about the attitudes. values.26 The History of Philosophy and Latin American Philosophy must be approached as an expression of the culture in which it is found and. therefore. Culturalists often provide us with interesting and useful insights. and so on. if not impossible. It is here that we find the parameters for the study of philosophy as the cultural study of the history of philosophy. the Mexican bourgeoisie. the history of philosophy is the history of a cultural expression and must be studied in the same way other cultural expressions are studied. and let us devote ourselves to think how that culture would be in case it existed. The discussion of method ends with the following significant paragraph: Let us leave aside for a moment the question of whether “Mexican culture” has a reality or not. and then the question may be formulated as follows: given a specific human mentality and certain accidents of its history. The book begins with a chapter entitled. We know that a culture is determined by a certain mental structure of man and the accidents of his history. if this is the nature of philosophy. It is significant that Ramos’s book goes on to discuss such topics as cultural context. as a product that makes no sense unless it is placed in the cultural context in which it originated. Ramos’s El perfil del hombre y la cultura en México is not a good example of the culturalist approach in the history of philosophy insofar as it is not a book about the history of philosophy. Yet. what counts is the discovery of the relation of philosophy to the culture at large. “The Imitation of Europe in the XIXth Century. the influence of Spanish and French culture on Mexico. Let us find out these facts. in many cases their conclusions and explanations . This does not mean that we locate abstract deduction in a different plane than effective realities. The job of the philosopher in general and the historian of philosophy in particular. It is not my intention to criticize this approach insofar as it reveals the relations between philosophical ideas on one hand and the profound and frequently unconscious cultural currents which lead us to develop and adopt those ideas on the other.

The cultural analysis helps us to understand what the thinkers of a particular culture have in mind. Gracia 27 are not only correct but also enlightening. Philosophers are attracted by philosophical reasons. separates them from those who take a philosophical approach to the history of philosophy. therefore. but rather that they proposed philosophical reasons in support of their rejection. stands on the way of the development of a truly philosophical spirit and of the appreciation of the contributions of Latin American philosophers to philosophy. In short. The kind of causal explanation favored by culturalists.Jorge J. then. so popular in Latin America. Those who use this approach study the history of philosophy because they think that study helps them reach a goal to which they are committed but which is not a . and the cultural reasons why they do. But that has only limited interest for the philosopher. For example. the fundamentally nonphilosophical character of the culturalist approach. The kind of cultural particularism involved in the culturalist approach neither was. philosophers from the present cannot expect to understand philosophers from the past unless they themselves play the role of philosophers.15 But this is not all. nor is it in the present. so. But that kind of analysis does not make clear the philosophical reasons they consider to be the foundations of those ideas and. The similarity in the enterprises between the two is what makes success possible. something attractive to philosophers in general. and in fact it may be an obstacle to the philosophical evaluation of such ideas. or did. it is not important that Latin American philosophers rejected the position because they were culturally Latin Americans. This is the only way in which one can truly understand what one’s philosophical ancestors had in mind. or had in mind if they belong to the past. it may be true that the main reason Latin American philosophers ultimately rejected nineteenthcentury positivism is that this philosophy was contrary to cultural values deeply ingrained in Latin American culture and society. It does no doubt illustrate how nonphilosophical factors play a role in philosophy. E. From the philosophical perspective. both in the teaching of the history of philosophy and in the writing of the history of Latin American philosophy. including those who study the history of Latin American philosophy. but it tells us nothing concerning the philosophical reasons Latin American philosophers gave for rejecting it. The Ideological Approach The principal characteristic of this approach is that it involves a commitment to something alien to the history of philosophy. it does not help.

This was clearly a worthy motive that we find in some Latin American positivists like. that is. The nonphilosophical goal of the ideological approach allows for the use of nonphilosophical means to spread philosophical ideas. and discussed were nothing more than instruments and means to get something else. and results from a lack of clear awareness in those who adopt it concerning what they believe and the aims they pursue. Latin American intellectuals. were interested in personal gain. they believe they have already found it. No one can fail to understand the temptation to use and endorse ideas to bring about benefits to ourselves and those we care for. however. Also characteristic of it is an excessive sensitivity to criticism as well as a marked belligerence against any comment that might be construed even as remotely critical. do not seek the truth.16 Some of those who adopted the new ideology and studied the ideas of Comte. positivism became the official philosophy of Porfirio Díaz’s dictatorship. The ideas they studied. As a consequence. this approach often displays an apologetic tone. but in other cases it is not. As is well known. They therefore use the history of philosophy only for rhetorical reasons. and uses well-known formulas and clichés that it takes from the ideological current within which it functions. The reasons for the popularity of the ideological approach are quite obvious. however. the great Argentinean José Ingenieros. in contrast with philosophers and historians. A very interesting case of the use of the ideological approach in Latin America occurred in the nineteenth century. political. or they think it is impossible to find. their commitment was something alien to the ideas they adopted to reach it. which is neither philosophy nor history. obviously. for example. This latter motive. Spencer. Ideologues. concerned about the situation. defended. For the ideologue what is important is the object of commitment. was not disinterested. Regardless of the motive Latin American positivists had. In the majority of cases it is mixed. the continuity of the status quo that allowed them to have and preserve a privileged position in society.17 Others. And there is also the possibility of a cynical aim in ideology and that there is no real and true belief in the ideas promoted by the ideologue. In Mexico. and economic instability. In some cases the goal is disinterested and worthy of admiration. to convince an audience of what they themselves have already accepted. Proselytizing and even force are not to be ruled out.28 The History of Philosophy and Latin American Philosophy philosophical goal. The interest of many Latin American positivists on the philosophical thought that preceded them was ideological. . Indeed. did so because they were convinced that the positivist program was the best way to put an end to the instability of Latin America. imported from Europe the set of ideas we now know as positivism. at the time Latin America was going through one of its many periods of social. as Zea tells us. and other favorite authors of positivists.

for they involve social and practical gains. E. leading to interpretations polluted by mercenary considerations derived from the value they have for something else. not the understanding of the philosophical past. Among the most serious of these disadvantages is the loss of objectivity. Gracia 29 I doubt anyone would object to the use of ideas to bring about beneficial changes to society. They are interested in pushing their point of view so they can achieve the practical aim they have in mind. it is difficult to see that ideas from the past can be truly understood when the overall aim of the one who seeks to understand them is something other than their understanding. It reveals either a cynical and sophistical attitude toward historical knowledge or a naive. but its adoption has plenty of disadvantages. The emphasis on useful results. where knowledge and history have value only insofar as they can be used for some practical purpose. A second important disadvantage of the ideological approach is that it is impossible to carry on a dialogue with those who adopt it. If they engage in what appears to be a dialogue. but sometimes leads to intended revisions of it in order to bring it in line with the positions necessary to reach desired goals. there does not seem to be any advantage in adopting the ideological approach to study the history of philosophy. True dialogue requires the exchange of ideas with a view toward mutual and deeper understanding because in all dialogue there is the implication of the possibility of change in perspective in those engaged in dialogue. But ideologues leave no room for such possibility. they do so only as a means of achieving their predetermined goal and only insofar as it does not interfere with that goal. For the conscious and willing use of the history of philosophy for aims alien to that history is repugnant to the historical spirit. The practical aim the ideologue pursues is an obstacle to dialogue. But the benefits this approach produces are unrelated to the history of philosophy. whether intended for the social group or the individual. There is no exchange of ideas.Jorge J. interferes with the objective grasp of ideas themselves. for it is characterized by a nonliberal understanding of knowledge and the history of thought. This closed attitude and the duplicity with which ideologues engage in what appears to be dialogue has earned them both a bad name and the contempt of serious historians of philosophy and philosophers. This devaluation of objectivity may not just result in an unintended distortion of the past. and there is no possibility of change of opinion on the part of the ideologue. In fact. The history of philosophy requires description in addition to interpretation and evaluation. In short. and both are insurmountable obstacles to the history of philosophy. This attitude is a step backward to the time preceding the discovery of science by the pre-Socratics. but ideologues are concerned only . quasi-religious commitment to a cause.

18 Hirsch’s point is there is something immoral in the interpretation of a text that disregards an author’s intention. I do not say such ruthlessness of interpretation is never justifiable in principle. As a result. insofar as those aims have nothing to do with the text. consistent. but also the ideas themselves they proposed lost credibility owing to their association with an ideological program. but I cannot imagine a situation where it would be justifiable in the professional practice of interpretation. such anarchy is the direct consequence of transgressing the fundamental ethical norms of speech and its interpretation. We can do it by saying that there is something radically wrong with a nonphilosophical. D. finally. how can a student of philosophy bred in ideology learn to philosophize? The ideological teaching of the history of philosophy in Latin America not only destroys any possibility of learning how to do philosophy but gives all Latin American philosophy a bad name. Jr. Hirsch. and this is used merely as grist for one’s ideological mill. The peculiarly modern anarchy of every man for himself in matters of interpretation may sound like the ultimate victory of the Protestant spirit. If what is important is the defense of a point of view already .19 And. I do not favor this kind of intentionalist interpretation in all cases. ideological interpretation of a philosophical text. comprehensive. His argument is that to interpret a text independently from what its author intended is morally reprehensible. what prestige can a historiography have which is guided by interests that are not intrinsically tied with the ideas that are supposed to be studied? Who will take seriously a history of philosophy that does not itself take seriously the history of philosophy. As he puts it: To treat an author’s words merely as grist for one’s own mill is ethically analogous to using another man merely for one’s own purposes. their historical accounts of the history of philosophy are nonphilosophical and of little interest to philosophers. And the interpretative and evaluative judgments they reach are based on nonphilosophical considerations. but I do think we can apply this point to our situation.30 The History of Philosophy and Latin American Philosophy with the last two. Actually. Perhaps an analogy with E. but subordinates it to interests alien to it? In fact. Moreover.’s argument against the nonauthorial interpretation of texts might be useful. The reason is that it promotes methods that are not conducive to the achievement of the philosophical goal of developing a view of the world that is accurate. not only historical narratives and analyses of the philosophy favored by Latin America positivists. and supported by sound evidence.

In contrast. and Hume are gathered and treated together in the group of British empiricists because they all had similar views concerning human understanding. for the road to ideology and apology is very different from the one necessary for the development of philosophy as I have presented it. And Descartes.Jorge J. they pay particular attention to chronology. Malebranche. It is true that doxographers sometimes gather philosophers into schools. A very important aspect of doxographies of the kind we are examining is temporal succession. The most important feature of the life-and-thought doxographical approach is its concentration on the facts of the life and what are considered to be the fundamental ideas of various authors who are discussed serially. and there is not much in the way of subtle interpretation or evaluation of their views.20 Because of restrictions of space and the fact that Latin America is the first where it has been most frequently used. Gracia 31 accepted and unquestionable. for example. and even discourages interpretation. and Leibniz are put together into the group of Continental rationalists because they also held similar views of human knowledge. those who practice this method treat philosophers and their ideas to a great extent as atomic units unconnected with each other. which differed substantially from the view of empiricists. Elsewhere I have distinguished three different kinds of doxography found in histories of philosophy: life-and-thought. No attempt is made to discuss the reasons on the basis of which the figures in question reach their conclusions. but this is done rather mechanically and serves more to keep them separate than to show the historical connections among them. Thus. The Doxographical Approach The main feature of doxographical approaches is their emphasis on uncritical description. They usually pay no attention to the historical circumstances that may have had a bearing on the philosophers’ thinking. and their ideas are treated for the most part as single occurrences and listed as parts of a kind of creed to which the philosophers in question adhered. Authors are arranged chronologically rather than in an order that expresses the historical interrelations among them. Berkeley. there can be very little hope of achieving the goals of philosophy. to the degree that it seeks to provide accurate information about the past. I shall only discuss life-and-thought doxography. E. . and history-of-ideas doxographies. Locke. Although the aim of lifeand-thought doxography is historical. The doxographer aims to present views and ideas in a descriptive fashion without critical evaluation. But in both cases doxographers tend to ignore the connection among members of the groups. univocal-question.

They were writing information manuals. They were trying rather to present us with some basic information about past philosophers and their views. because it does not consider ideas and arguments in depth and evades the kind of interpretation and evaluation that are essential to a good philosophical account of the past. if the history of philosophy is treated doxographically in the classroom. and also historically accurate accounts of the relations among authors and their views. this approach is philosophically superficial. but the fact that it may be taken for more than it is and some historians will consider themselves satisfied with it.22 This book is little more than a compilation of data on the history of Latin American philosophy and yet it has been used widely to teach philosophy in Latin America. the doxographical approach is frequently used in the classroom and in the writing of histories of philosophy. The main problem with life-and-thought doxography when used in the history of philosophy is not what it achieves. They have not been trying to reconstruct the history of philosophy or to give a detailed account of it.21 Among these. this information is useful and the task of gathering it is not only legitimate but also historically relevant and necessary. The history of philosophy entails much more than the doxographer of this sort gives us: It requires critical analyses of ideas and the arguments used to support them. it distorts our perception of the way in which philosophical ideas are generated and develop because it does not present them as solutions to the problems that philosophers intended to solve through them. perhaps one that stands out is the History of Philosophical Doctrines in Latin America by Francisco Larroyo and Edmundo Escobar. We need to have works of reference where we can look up dates. then. titles of books. Still. Examples of its use in studies of Latin American philosophy are common. it gives a distorted view of the discipline. what we find in some classic doxographical works. and biographical information. . This is. An accurate historical account of philosophical ideas must present ideas in their proper context as solutions to problems if that is in fact how they were meant. discouraging such fundamental elements of its practice as argumentation and evaluation. Doxographies have a place in the history of philosophy. but it is a very limited place.32 The History of Philosophy and Latin American Philosophy This kind of history of philosophy does not reveal the historical connections among past philosophers and their views. Moreover. it should be noted that some of those who have adopted it have had a limited aim in mind. the sort of thing we find in encyclopedias and the like. we should not judge this approach too harshly. In addition. in fact. Clearly. In Latin America. summaries of thought. To this extent. the life-and-thought doxographical approach may be considered not only unhistorical but also historically distorting. First. Moreover.

was professor of the Universidad of La Paz from 1939 to 1955. Andrés Avelino has been concerned with logical problems. in Argentina. Augusto Pescador. Existentialism. (3) “Introduction to Modern Philosophy”. lack both historical and philosophical interest. They take up about a fifth of the book. Propagation. These are divided into seven chapters arranged chronologically and seriatim as follows: (1) “Pre-Columbian Thought”. Since 1955. More than thirty authors are discussed.) In the Dominican Republic. has been in charge of chairs of logic. and the material theory of values. from pre-Columbian thought to the present. E. maintaining that value has to be understood in a relation of dependence to a complex of . a Spanish emigree. The first two are devoted to methodological issues concerning philosophy and philosophical historiography. criticizes substantialist anthropology and psychology. and Doctrinal Controversies”. Risieri Frondizi (b. he is professor at the Universidad Austral of Chile. Consider. In axiology. In general these “descriptions. etc. and Positivism”. For Frondizi. philosophy is a theory of the totality of human experience. facts about the life and doctrines of the main representatives of the schools listed are packed together mercilessly. the discussions of phenomenology. (6) “Overcoming Positivism and Philosophy of Freedom”. His thought was articulated based on Hartmann. Enlightenment and Idealism”. Sobre lo que no sirve. he takes a position contrary to subjectivism and objectivism. 1910). Venezuela. and the USA. Utopian Socialism. Most of them receive no more than a brief mention or a short paragraph with a few important facts about their lives and doctrines. (2) “Transplantation. In the remaining twohundred pages. interacting acts with other subjects and things.” In these chapters. which takes up eleven pages of the sixty-five devoted to chapter 7. aesthetics. for example. Critical Idealism. and (7) “Catholic Philosophy.” devoid of interpretation and evaluation. History of Ideas. Historical Materialism. Underlining the importance of the self as a dynamic structure constituted by living. Analytical Philosophy.Jorge J. Their philosophical views are summarized in brief. Gracia 33 The book is divided into three sections. (Works: Lógica. professor in Buenos Aires since 1935 and founder of the Department of Philosophy of the University of Tucumán (1938–40). (4) “Americanist Doctrine. the authors go through the complete history of Latin American philosophical ideas. descriptive statements that make no attempt at interpreting their views or explaining their significance. Material Theory of Values. Consider the following comments: In Bolivia. existentialism. Phenomenology. and history of ideas. (5) “Eclecticism.

24 Eschalogists present us with a historical teleology that moves toward predetermined ends. they use many others. they want their study of the history of philosophy to help them deepen their philosophical knowledge.26 According to these. liberationists and postmodernist histories have become fashionable. isolating them as far as possible from interpretation and evaluation.23 There are also sociopolitical approaches. For example. and the doxographical—there is a common factor that unites them and that functions as a common obstacle for the philosophical appreciation of the ideas about which they try to give a historical account: They lack the appreciation of philosophical ideas in themselves. They want to advance their knowledge not only of the facts from the past. the ideological. ¿Qué son los valores? 1958) In short. But none of the three approaches presented makes possible this kind of advancement. Doxography lacks the dimensions of interpretation and evaluation essential to the philosophical task of developing a comprehensive and adequate view of the world. 1945. or furthers the appreciation of the contribution of historical ideas to philosophy.25 More recently. the function of the historian is to construct (perhaps I should say “make . which seeks to establish facts from the past in an objective form. Obviously. many use what I have called elsewhere the scholarly approach. Philosophers are interested in truth and in what the history of philosophy has contributed to that truth. but more importantly of truth itself. of their relations. historians of Latin American philosophy and teachers of philosophy in Latin America have not restricted themselves to the approaches I have described. because of the nonphilosophical character of the doxographical approach. (Works: El punto de partida del filosofar. This is the reason why histories that use the approaches we have described do not help create interest in Latin American thought or promote the practice of philosophy in Latin America. 1952.34 The History of Philosophy and Latin American Philosophy social and individual elements and circumstances. and of the value of those ideas. as mentioned earlier. Other Methodologies In spite of the great differences between the three historiographical approaches I have described—the culturalist. which search for the connection between the development of philosophical ideas and social and political events from the past. Substancia y función en el problema del yo. this approach interferes with the development of philosophy in Latin America and also is an obstacle to the proper appreciation of the contribution of Latin Americans to philosophy. Indeed.

the exposition of solutions that may be given to those issues.. nominal.” “categorial.” “predicate. conceptual. the framework is a set of carefully defined concepts. third. the analysis and definitions of the main concepts involved in the issues under investigation.g. or that the historian thinks should be used. real. terms that are commonly used. and for the study of the history of philosophy in Latin America. of an investigation into the doctrine of categories of Aristotle. interrelations). and (5) a set of criteria that will be used in the evaluation of theories of categories and of the arguments . the conceptual map would consist in the following: (1) the definition and analysis of terms such as “category.Jorge J. formulated problems. syntactic). the presentation of basic arguments for and objections against those solutions. And there are many others. for the common factor to all these approaches is the same one common to the ones I have given as examples before: the lack of philosophical aim. in the analysis of categories. second. the articulation of criteria to be used in the evaluation of the solutions to the problems under investigation and the arguments and objections brought to bear on them. is what I have called elsewhere.g.” and so on. finally. that is. (2) the formulation of problems related to categories (e. together with a discussion of their interrelationships.. (3) the presentation of various types of theories of categories (e. Gracia 35 up”) the history of Latin American philosophical thought in accordance with the underlying political program favored by members of this movement. E. stated solutions.28 (4) the investigation of arguments both for and against these theories (the need for brevity prevents me from giving examples). fourth. and adopted principles of evaluation.27 The Framework Approach The framework approach holds that in order to do history of philosophy it is necessary to begin by laying down a conceptual map of the issues in the history of philosophy that the historian proposes to investigate. I proceed to give a brief explanation of it next.” “predication. What should we do then? Is there no solution to this problem? Is there a historiographical approach that could overcome the mentioned obstacles and is available to Latin American philosophers? The answer to this question is affirmative. articulated arguments and objections.” “categoricity. and. But I need not say more. for example. In the case. the precise formulation of those issues. ontological status. This conceptual map is composed of five basic elements: first. the framework approach. And the approach I propose for the study of Latin American philosophy. all of which are related to the issues the historian proposes to explore in the history of philosophy. In short.

for historians are not tabulae rasae. The function of the conceptual framework in the approach I am proposing here is rather to help establish the differences and similarities among ideas that otherwise would be very difficult to compare. Most historians of philosophy consciously or unconsciously engage in surreptitious judgments that are passed on as part of historical description. historical objectivity requires that interpretation and evaluation be clearly identified as such . for example. and they should not be. it is inevitable that its categories affect any account being proposed in that discourse.36 The History of Philosophy and Latin American Philosophy that are used to support or undermine such theories. It reduces the cacophony of ideas to certain parameters according to which positions may be more easily understood. Nor is the framework guided by the teleological aim of the eschatologist’s historical schema. although the most useful rules are specific ones. An explicit framework makes clear. moreover. Anachronism cannot be completely eradicated from historical accounts. and it lays down the basis for possible evaluations and the determination of their development throughout history. Historians of philosophy go beyond those in order to make explicit the relations that could not have been made explicit in the past and to make judgments on the basis of evidence unavailable to the players in the historical drama. the framework should not ignore or try to eliminate real differences among views. The function of the framework is to serve as a conceptual map for determining the location and relation of ideas and figures in the history of philosophy relative to each other and to us. It is not to confirm a predetermined historical direction or to blur existing distinctions. and evaluated only to the extent they fit a developmental scheme leading to a prerecognized aim. Because a conceptual framework is always operational in any discourse. In this sense. that is rules the historian thinks have to do particularly with the topic in question. the approach satisfies the need for objectivity required by the accurate description of history and also provides the foundations for interpretation and evaluation that are essential to a philosophical approach to the history of philosophy. where philosophical developments are described. Finally. the way in which ideas and authors are being interpreted by the historian and the criteria according to which they are being judged. It does not seek to eliminate the complexity of the issues. and cultures as a doxography does. Moreover. interpreted. with coherence. authors. the aim of a historical account is more than just the re-creation of the acts of understanding of philosophers from the past. On the other hand. positions. The conceptual framework makes possible the translation of diverse nomenclatures and traditions to a common denominator that will allow the development of an overall understanding. or figures by arbitrarily simplifying them. In (5) could be included general rules that have to do.

and arguments. it is not possible to lay bare every assumption one holds. but also of problems and arguments. the very procedure requires paying attention to. The features that have been pointed out allow the framework approach to capture and integrate the most beneficial aspects of other historiographical approaches. This is the reason why the attempt at uncovering the interpretative and evaluative conceptual map at work in historical accounts must be made at the outset. rather than with the large-scale description of all philosophical dimensions of a historical period. then clarity is essential and any hidden assumptions and presuppositions must be exposed. and taking into account. examining the fundamental ideas involved in them. The reason for this is that the development and exposition of a conceptual framework of the sort that this historiographical approach requires would not be feasible if such a . however. There is. Some of the approaches described earlier were predisposed to concentrate on certain aspects of the past. whereas obscurity helps consensus. positions. and analyzing the sorts of arguments used for and against the solutions in question. Finally. problems. Clarity invites disagreement. This obviously makes it easier to disagree with the resulting account. interpretation. and evaluation not only of positions. E. and a sure way to make headway in the preservation of objectivity is by making the conceptual map at work in the historian’s mind as explicit and clear as possible. either in philosophy or in history. In the framework approach. The framework approach works best when it deals with an idea or problem or a closely knit set of ideas or problems. a limiting aspect of the framework approach that should not be ignored. for example. and evaluation as well as a clear indication of the historian’s own views on the issues under discussion. The doxographical approach. interpretation. If the aims pursued are truth and understanding. Gracia 37 and distinguished as much as possible from description. And all of this is accompanied by a statement of the criteria used for historical selection.Jorge J. The preparation of the conceptual framework used for the understanding of the past involves systematically distinguishing the various problems and issues that are pertinent. Rhetoricians know this fact very well and put it to good practical use. another advantage of the framework approach should not be overlooked: It considers essential to the historical account the description. This is the reason why ambiguity is so useful in political and legal documents. We need practical ways of recognizing what is or may be anachronistic. But philosophy and history are by nature opposed to such gimmicks. seemed to be concerned almost exclusively with positions to the neglect of arguments and problems. Obviously. formulating different alternative solutions. But the attempt must be made to do so as far as possible.

either they must be done using less philosophically appropriate methods. It would be fruitless to try to put together the techniques used by a scholar and an ideologue and a doxographer. or they must not be done at all. provided they are themselves based on more probing analyses which use the framework approach and their aim is informational rather than philosophical. The advantages of the framework approach are not a consequence of the eclectic aggregation of the methodologies of other historiographical methods. because it would be the product of a historical figure in a particular culture. even if such a combination were desirable. Finally. Therefore. There is. The notion of a general and neutral conceptual framework. the eclectic result would not necessarily constitute an effective method of procedure. therefore. not just by the eclectic aggregation of various procedures that by themselves have been found wanting. and at the same time make modest claims about the data they present. they must of necessity be doxographical. Some historiographers have argued that they must not be done at all. the conceptual framework could not be neutral. however. And that can be accomplished only through the sensitivity developed in the awareness of the need to balance the descriptive. But this assumption is contradicted by our experience of the wide conceptual chasm that separates the present from the past and one culture from another.38 The History of Philosophy and Latin American Philosophy framework were to cover all aspects of the thought of a period. In this way. The framework approach. faces limitations when it comes to the production of comprehensive histories of philosophy.30 It can be argued that this approach assumes that it is possible to develop a general and neutral conceptual framework that can serve as the grounds for comparison among widely differing views. interpretative. although they cannot themselves use it to the fullest. therefore. Considering the breadth that comprehensive histories must have. Moreover. for such a combination would be undesirable to the extent that its components have little to recommend for themselves. they are supported by conclusions reached through a sound methodology. and evaluative elements that enter into the historical account. To be so. for it suggests that comprehensive histories of philosophy cannot be carried out with the method I am arguing best suits the history of philosophy. for example. There are at least two serious criticisms that can be brought to bear against the framework approach. The first is that it assumes too much. Such general works need to rely on more specialized studies that themselves use the framework approach. This is an important corollary. no general framework that could be used to compare views from different periods of history.29 I believe there is some merit in them. it would have to come up with a concrete proposal for guidelines that the historian of philosophy should follow. .

Jorge J. E. Gracia


therefore, is nothing but a projection of a historian’s desire for objectivity, and can never be realized. In response, I would like to say that the endorsement of the framework approach and its implementation do not require the actual existence of a perfectly general and neutral conceptual framework. Indeed, part of the rationale for the framework approach is the awareness of the biased and culturally oriented perspective of every historian of philosophy. No historian is free from conceptual assumptions or looks at history from a completely neutral stance. This is why it is necessary to develop procedures that will promote, if not ensure, as much objectivity as possible. The function of the conceptual framework in the framework approach is to make explicit, as far as possible, both the historian’s understanding of the issues, arguments, and views with which he or she is dealing and his or her own views about how those issues are to be understood, as well as the relative value of contending arguments and views with respect to them. The generality and neutrality of the conceptual framework are not conceived as something given and required at the beginning of the historical inquiry, but rather as a methodological goal that regulates the process whereby the historian tries to understand and recover the philosophical past. The other serious criticism I would like to bring up is that the framework approach may become a kind of Procrustean bed in which ideas that do not fit are cut off and discarded, and others are stretched beyond what their proper elasticity allows. In short, the accusation is of having a preestablished scheme that the historian sets out to see substantiated in history, as did eschatologists such as Hegel and Augustine.31 This is certainly a danger for the framework approach. But those who practice the approach need not fall into it. First of all, the framework must be broad and general enough to include as many alternatives as possible, and it should also be open to alteration. The framework is not a system, a complete and circular set of ideas, but rather an open-ended set of guidelines. There has to be a reciprocal relationship between the conceptual framework and the textual study. Developments in the textual study should prompt modification in the conceptual framework and developments in the conceptual framework should heighten the awareness about possible interpretations of the texts. Moreover, if the historical context is kept ever-present, the danger of extravagant interpretations and wild evaluations will be substantially reduced. Finally, the explicitness of the conceptual framework should help guard against the implicit and disguised interrelations and evaluations that are woven into most historical accounts. In conclusion, then, I see the framework approach as the best way to study the history of philosophy in Latin America, including the history of Latin American philosophy. The synchronic and diachronic integration of


The History of Philosophy and Latin American Philosophy

ideas that it makes possible cannot be found in any other approach and its eminently philosophical character serves to train students of philosophy in the discipline and to present Latin American philosophy in the philosophical light necessary for it to be regarded with respect and interest by philosophers everywhere. The benefits of the use of the framework approach, then, are twofold: First, it serves as a proper tool to teach the history of philosophy in Latin America insofar as, in this way, the study of the history of philosophy ceases to be an obstacle to philosophy and becomes a tool of it; second, its use in the study of the history of Latin American philosophy in particular should make possible the appreciation of the value of this history by making clear its philosophical contribution to the history of philosophy in general. This in turn should help draw the attention of philosophers, both inside and outside Latin America, toward this substantial body of work.

1. None of the well-known histories of Western philosophy say much, if anything about Latin American philosophy. See, for example, the histories by Frederick Copleston, W. T. Jones, and Wilhelm Windelband. 2. For pertinent references, see Eduardo Mendieta, “Is There Latin American Philosophy?” Philosophy Today 43, Supp. (1999), 50–3. 3. One need only look at the materials published on Latin American philosophy to see that what is stressed is frequently what has to do with the particular identity that Latin American philosophy is supposed to have. Thus, whereas this topic is generally absent from discussions of other philosophies, it is a central topic of discussion when it comes to Latin American philosophy. The question of whether there is anything peculiar to Latin American philosophy is considered central to it. This perception is reinforced by the attitude of some Latin American philosophers themselves. See, for example, the works by Leopoldo Zea and Augusto Salazar Bondy mentioned later in this article. 4. Augusto Salazar Bondy, ¿Existe una filosofía de nuestra América? (Mexico City: Siglo XXI, 1968) and The Meaning and Problem of Hispanic-American Thought, ed. John P. Augelli (Lawrence, Kansas: Center of Latin American Studies of the University of Kansas, 1969). The latter is reprinted in Jorge J. E. Gracia and Elizabeth Millán-Zaibert, eds., Latin American Philosophy for the Twenty-First Century: The Human Condition, Values, and the Search for Philosophical Identity (Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books, 2004). 5. Enrique Dussel, Philosophy of Liberation, chapter 1, trans. Aquilina Martínez and Christine Morkovsky (New York: Orbis Books, 1985). 6. Mario Bunge has stated: “I don’t know if there is philosophy in Argentina. I know there are people who study, serious people … [but] they are not original. … it is still colonial philosophy.” “Testimonio de Mario Bunge,” in ¿Por qué se fueron? Testimonios de argentinos en el exterior, ed. Ana Barón, Mario del Carril, and Albino Gómez (Buenos Aires: EMECE, 1995), p. 60.

Jorge J. E. Gracia


7. An early attempt in this direction is José Carlos Mariátegui’s adaptation of Marxism to the Peruvian situation in his Seven Interpretative Essays on Peruvian Reality. 8. This is the attitude revealed in the historical works of authors like Abelardo Villegas. See, for example, his Panorama de la filosofía ibero-americana actual (Buenos Aires: EUDEBA, 1963). 9. For more on this, see Gracia, Metaphysics and Its Task: The Search for the Categorial Foundation of Knowledge (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1999), chapter 2. 10. Indeed, among Hispanics/Latinos/Latin Americans, this is very strong. See Gracia, Hispanic/Latino Identity: A Philosophical Perspective (Oxford: Blackwell, 2000) and Gracia and Iván Jáksic, eds., Filosofía e identidad cultural en América Latina (Caracas: Monte Avila Editores, 1983). Keep in mind, however, that this interest is of the sort I mentioned earlier, often ideological and often purely historical. 11. I have made this last argument in detail in Philosophy and Its History, chapter 3 (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1992); Spanish trans., Mexico, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 1998. 12. The history of Latin American philosophical historiography is still to be written. A valuable first step in this direction is Diego Pró’s study of this topic in the Argentinean context: Historia del pensamiento filosófico argentino (Mendoza: Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, 1973). 13. I discuss these historiographical approaches in more detail, but in a general context, in Philosophy and Its History: Issues in Philosophical Historiography, chapter 5. 14. The classic text which initiated this approach in Latin America is Ramos’ El perfil del hombre y la cultura en México (Mexico: Imprenta Mundial, 1934). This was followed by Hacia un nuevo humanismo (Mexico: La Casa de España en México, 1940). The most representative work of Schwartzmann is El sentimiento de lo humano en América, 2 vols. (Santiago: Universidad de Chile, 1950 and 1953). Many historians and philosophers have followed in the footsteps of Ramos and Schartzmann. Among the most influential are Leopoldo Zea, Abelardo Villegas, Eduardo Nicol, Augusto Salazar Bondy, and Ricaurte Soler. 15. I have discussed the contribution of this and other so-called sociological approaches to the history of philosophy in Gracia, “Sociological Accounts and the History of Philosophy,” in Martin Kusch, ed., The Sociology of Philosophical Knowledge (Dordrecht: Kluwer, 2000), 193–211. 16. Leopoldo Zea, Positivism in Mexico (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1974). 17. Ingenieros wrote two important historiographical works: Direcciones filosóficas de la cultura argentina (1915) and Evolución de las ideas argentinas (1918). 18. E. D. Hirsch, Jr., “Three Dimensions of Hermeneutics,” New Literary Theory 3(1972), 260. 19. The consequence is the well-known vitalist and spiritualist reaction against positivism in general. See Gracia, “Introduction: Latin American Philosophy Today,” Philosophical Forum 20, nos. 1–2 (1988–1989), 4–8. 20. Philosophy and Its History, chapter 5, pp. 246–53. 21. Examples of doxography are: J. L. Abellán, Filosofía española en América (1936–1966) (Madrid: Guadarrama, 1967); Manfredo Kempff Mercado, Historia de la Filosofía en Latinoamérica (Santiago: Zig Zag, 1958); Harold Eugene Davis, Latin American


The History of Philosophy and Latin American Philosophy

Thought: A Historical Introduction (New York: The Free Press, 1972); and Guillermo Francovich, La filosofía en Bolivia (Buenos Aires: Losada, 1945). 22. Francisco Larroyo and Edmundo Escobar, Historia de las doctrinas filosóficas en Latinoamérica (Mexico: Editorial Porrúa, 1968). 23. Some good examples are works of Mauricio Beuchot and Fernando Salmerón. For Beuchot, see Estudios de historia y de filosofía en el México colonial (Mexico: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 1991), and for Salmerón, see Cuestiones educativas y páginas sobre México (Xalapa: Universidad Veracruzana, 1980). 24. The work of Zea to which I referred earlier fits this approach. 25. Most of the work of José Vasconcelos falls within this category. See in particular, La raza cósmica (Barcelona: Agencia Mundial de Librería, 1925), Indología (Paris: Agencia Mundial de Librería, 1926), and Historia del pensamiento filosófico (Mexico: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 1937). 26. Horacio Cerutti-Guldberg defends this historiographical approach in Hacia una metodología de la historia de las ideas (filosóficas) en América Latina (Guadalajara: Universidad de Guadalajara, 1986). 27. What I say here has been taken, with appropriate modifications, from the more extended discussion in Philosophy and Its History (op. cit.), pp. 276–88. 28. I have discussed some of these in Gracia, Metaphysics and Its Task: The Search for the Categorial Foundation of Knowledge, chapter 9 (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1999). 29. Richard Rorty, “The Historiography of Philosophy: Four Genres,” in Richard Rorty, J. B. Schneewind and Quentin Skinner, eds., Philosophy in History: Essays on the Historiography of Philosophy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), p. 75. 30. Paul Eisenberg raises this objection in a discussion of Philosophy and Its History that appeared in Revista Latinoamericana de Filosofía 22, 1 (1996): 119–21. 31. This criticism is usually made by those who favor a scholarly approach. Kenneth Schmitz brings it up against my view in “La naturaleza actual de la filosofía se revela en su historia,” Revista Latinoamericana de Filosofía 22, 1 (1996): 97 ff.

Chapter 2 Explanatory and “Argumentative” History of Philosophy
Carlos Pereda Instituto de Investigaciones Filosóficas Universidad Autónoma de México

“History of philosophy” is an expression with a much more ambiguous sense than similar expressions such as “history of the French monarchy.” A history of the French monarchy does not have to be monarchical or French. But in the expression “history of philosophy” one can stress either the word history or the word philosophy. In section I, I shall begin by explaining how from this possibility two different types of history of philosophy can be elaborated: an explanatory history (EH), and an “argumentative” history (AH)—that is, a history that focuses on the discussion of problems and the assessment of the arguments that have been put forth to solve them. Then in section II, I will show the differences between that classification and other apparently similar but actually quite different ones. All this is a rather long roundabout way to end up discussing very briefly—to be sure the topic deserves a larger treatment—how the misuse of EH—or of some of its degraded forms—has yielded only negative consequences in Latin America (section III). Or perhaps I would rather say: the philosophical discussion displayed in sections I and II only intends to suggest a few alternatives to some of the most common vices found in Latin American philosophy and that are touched on in section III.

Putting emphasis on the word history gives us an EH of philosophical ideas. The depth and character of the explanation is, of course, variable. In the explanatory (or pseudo-explanatory) types of history found in handbooks of the history of philosophy, the explanation tends to limit itself to establishing the paternity of a thinker’s ideas, by pointing to the most salient influences he has undergone both from his predecessors and from his

of the religious conflicts in which those ideas took part. then the text will become for us a set of dialectical theses and rhetorical mechanisms. change. personal or social origins of a discourse. In many of these cases this results in a “cultural history” of philosophy. One can also inquire into the “what for” of those discourses. or of a social class considered in relation to certain features of a situation. the text will be read as an attestation of that individual’s personality. motives for writing what he or she wrote. one might investigate. if our purpose is to explain the behavior of an individual. or of the economical. well defined segment of history. the history of philosophy is considered as a doxographical exercise. That confers on the temporality of an EH its relative continuity: the temporal framework of that kind of history is supplied by the dates of a chronicle (although we should remember that a chronicle can only be used as a starting point). as a personal testimony. an intellectual history. any text is understood as an intellectual device. Perhaps we might also find it interesting to explain the project of an intellectual group. of her biography. for in many cases it involves the reintegration of a philosophical discourse (or a fragment of a philosophical discourse) into one or several of its contexts of production. and disappear? The elaboration of these explanations is a difficult task. It also brings him into relation with events belonging to his immediate past and future. But an EH can do something more than this. as well as their problems. If what is important is to discover how a text produces its persuasive effects. solutions and kinds of arguments appear. But from the point of view of EH. or as a social document. or its role in a certain context. or at least with some events of his times. But an EH not only connects an argument. the role of a certain debate in a certain tradition. and/or a thinker with his epoch. and then we will read the text as a document representing all those facts. A good EH of philosophy must try to become a specific.” so to say. Reading texts is often part of elaborating an EH. in this case of a history of ideas. and social changes of the society of tha time. It might for example begin by elucidating the argumentative machinery that certain discourses put to work: their rhetoric. the rhetorical. And then perhaps it might even try to explain their “why”: Why do certain discourses. . to a biography. their “how. or perhaps to the cultural tendencies of an epoch. An explanatory reading is an oblique reading: what the text says is not what matters the most. And although an EH may include detailed readings. The reader takes what the text says as data for reconstructing a certain historical sequence. for instance. for example into that of recent scientific developments. political. these readings will concern the works in connection to other ideas. a work.44 Explanatory and “Argumentative” History of Philosophy contemporaries—that is.

the questions we must ask from the point of view of an AH of philosophy are the kind of questions one asks in a philosophical discussion. Napoleon. Pericles. the history of philosophy can have a different relation to the past. an argumentative reading is a direct reading: one does not read in order to. the way I relate to that author can be very different from the way I relate to. see something else through the text—a rhetorical mechanism. what do I understand? This aspect of an argumentative reading triggers a reconstructive process. In an argumentative reading we consider what the text directly affirms or denies. An argumentative reading. The reader poses questions such as: Do I agree with what this author asserts? And regardless of my answer to that question: How does the text support those assertions? Or how could they be supported? In other words. questions about truth (or critical questions). I might have a very poor opinion of a certain author. The second aspect in an argumentative reading is an interest in truth. 2. Jefferson. EH can intervene directly or indirectly in this aspect). I call this perspective “argumentative” history of philosophy (though I am perhaps misusing the concept of history in doing so). is basically directed by three kinds of questions: comprehension questions (which as we will see may lead to problems of reconstruction). or Juárez. for an AH. and questions about value (evaluative or normative questions).) In opposition to an explanatory reading. like any other argument.Carlos Pereda 45 However. in which the reader tries to grasp one or several senses in the text. for example. were right in holding some opinion or that they reasoned about some important truths without understanding first what they were talking about (thus. but whatever that opinion may be. This first aspect of the process is the indispensable first step for any serious philosophical reading: it is not possible to say that Plotinus or Augusto Salazar Bondy. This is not however necessarily of interest. (Obviously all questions and the form in which one poses them have a complex history. or social documents. the facts of a biography. An author’s arguments need not necessarily constitute archeological remains to be recollected. Thus. and not those that the historian would ask. observed. personal testimonies. so to say. in an AH we do not face intellectual devices. what is important here is to find out what kind of evidence has been advanced in support of the . say. In contrast to an EH. and explained. at least in all its details. certain social interests or tendencies—as we do in the oblique readings of EH. The reader starts from questions like: Do I understand what the text says? And if so. They can also be arguments to be used for the solution of our own problems. We are confronted with arguments. Thus the model of an argumentative reading exhibits three basic aspects: 1.

However. try also to rescue the reliable assumptions hidden in those fetishes (the truths they distort). keeping these three aspects more or less separated can be a very useful exercise. aided by reconstructive questions. posing critical questions. whereas in an explanatory reading one only tries to grasp the historical relevance of the text. Through reconstructive questions the reader will seek to obtain data. for instance questions or suggestions. and most important by her critical and evaluative questions (both valuative and normative). don’t content yourself only with eliminating them. the fetishes in order to obtain. an evaluatory cycle is put to work in relation to the sentences the reader is reading. Finally. fetishes. and from these data try to find out which are mistakes or fetishes. and reliable assumptions rule: When confronted with perplexities. the reader may translate the text into his or her own language in order to test his or her understanding of it. reliable assumptions to nourish her thinking. try to gather a number of data. Thus. In relation to the claims made in the text. For instance. An argumentative reading commonly involves moving back and forth from the consideration of one aspect to that of another. The third aspect concerns the value of what is read. a third reading leads to an appraisal of the text. But in relation to the fetishes. of its importance both in general and for the reader him. and which constitute reliable assumptions. as a triple reading technique: In a first reading. Then. more precisely. it explores the issue of the relevance of the text as a whole or of some of its fragments. In a second reading the reader might consider the truth of each of the sentences in the text.or herself. the reader might attempt simply to understand the different assertions. one can also reconstruct the unfolding of any argumentative reading as an application of the data. or the truth or falsity of its assertions. a new appraisal of its utility can lead us to reconsider the meaning of the text. he or she will ask: How are they supported? Are they true or false? In relation to other speech acts. the reader will consider whether the presuppositions governing such questions or suggestions are true. and to consider whether that evidence convinces the reader (of the present day). Thus. Therefore. conflicts and problems. or. . it is not difficult to find argumentative readings that fulfill aspect three even though they do not conclude that the work satisfies the test proposed under aspect two. 3. For instance. as we said. she will try to separate the mistakes from those data and also.46 Explanatory and “Argumentative” History of Philosophy author’s position. often reciprocal relations between the different aspects are thereby established. and thus one can use such a model as a reading technique.

On the other hand. among many other representative cases. perhaps even a relatively passive reading. In the fourth place. the Neopositivist’s criticism of metaphysics. When this kind of reading is done in a radical manner and it clearly opposes the views expressed in the text. due to its literal character. one might wish to reach a relative balance among the three stages mentioned above: a certain critical accuracy with respect to . there is not only one kind of argumentative reading. According to the stress placed on each of the stages of the rule—on each of the steps of an argumentative reading—we may generate a specific kind of argumentative reading. Moreover. fallacies. our reading might try to pick up the suggestions hinted at in the text. The important point for this approach is the benefit the reader can get from the text. without caring too much about strict accuracy. Plato’s Theory of Ideas or Descartes’ mind-body dualism. Such are Kierkegaard’s attacks on Hegel’s “totalizations”. In the second place. fetishes. or Davidson’s analysis of Hume’s account of pride. are Luis Villoro’s use of so-called Gettier’s counterexamples in his theory of knowledge.Carlos Pereda 47 For instance. and perhaps even disregarding the question of whether our reading might. an approach that focuses on the elimination of mistakes. an approach that stresses the gathering of data or the comprehension aspect generates an interpretation in which loyalty to the text is the basic aim. A couple of examples. and they think it is necessary to investigate why we feel so attracted to them. are. where he constructs an “argumentative” history of his predecessors. This kind of reading will tend to be immanentist and in some cases. This kind of reading can already be found in the first chapter of Aristotle’s Metaphysics. the necessary and the contingent. in some sense. This attitude in its extreme form will lead us to a more or less explanatory argumentative reading as reasoned paraphrase. In this kind of reading one emphasizes the third aspect (or the relevance aspect). But they also seem to them very important fetishes. involve a misunderstanding of the text. but as a criterion for generating a classification of argumentative readings. Once again we can use the data. fetishes. big mistakes and even great fetishes. or Eduardo Rabossi’s criticism of the alleged need for a “philosophical”—moral or metaphysical— foundation for human rights. the a priori and the a posteriori. we get an argumentative reading as a critical debate. In the third place. and vices will be essentially critical. and reliable assumptions rule this time not to characterize an argumentative reading. for many people. Reading becomes here a stimulus for our own thinking: an argumentative reading as reflective production. the kind of reading involved in Quine’s objections to classical oppositions such as the analytic and synthetic. There are four basic kinds: In the first place. this kind of reading is very popular today.

we might wish to explain them historically and also to discuss and appraise their truth or value. however ideal. the absence of certain problems and of certain discussions during a period can also be deemed a most interesting fact—or symptom. both EH and AH begin by trying to understand the past. However. for if that happened. Thus it cannot be said that the reconstructive stage of an AH—the comprehension stage in the elaboration of such a history—plays the role of an EH. but without disregarding its possible fruitfulness. one that leads to an internal or external explanation of the content and production of the text. The two tasks commonly flow together in the ordinary work of a researcher. criticizing its faults. Clearly. an AH sometimes does not require explanations sensu strictu in order to proceed to the debate which interests it. However. But let us turn back to AH. One often finds that problems typically change or are abandoned. In an argumentative reading one begins by asking reconstructive questions such as: What does that text really say? In order to answer questions such as these. it is often (perhaps usually) not necessary to enter into explanatory questions like: What are the rhetorical strategies by means of which this text says what it says?. however. fetishes. as critical debate. elaborating materials for our own thinking. and all this without favoring any one of its three aspects. not to mention questions such as: What are the .48 Explanatory and “Argumentative” History of Philosophy the text. the argumentative reading would lose its distinctive character. time in this kind of history is radically discontinuous. which we might characterize as periods of simple scholasticism or mere nonsense. while an EH seeks to arrive at a strong comprehension. but by the dimensions of a discussion. as reflective production or as an argumentative reading in a strict sense). It is always possible to skip years and even centuries of philosophy when we cannot find any relevant piece of discussion of the problem and solution we are concerned with. and reliable assumptions rule. Nevertheless. Counterposing EH and AH does not imply that they lack all kinds of relations. cannot abolish the presence of any of the stages indicated by the data. Thus we engage in an argumentative reading as a debate with the text in a strict sense. one tries to be faithful to the three aspects of an argumentative reading: taking a text under consideration. and that sometimes there are dead periods. Since the structure of an AH is given not by the dates of a chronicle. whatever the emphasis or balance among the different senses we choose to apply. When studying the great ideas of the past. But confusion is bound to arise if we disregard the fact that these two types of history stem from different cognitive interests. Maybe for that reason we should consider the distinction as specifying two ideal types of history. the four kinds of reading (argumentative reading as reasoned paraphrase. An EH is much more than an explanatory reconstruction. That is to say.

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psychological motives or the social background that led this individual to say what he said? In the case of very alien texts—alien either in a normative or epistemic sense—the reconstructive stage in an AH may require the support of a fine-grained EH. But this support plays a mere auxiliary role. Doubts can be cast on the EH/AH opposition on the grounds that explaining involves making an argument. I myself believe that that is true (although some people don’t). Nevertheless, we can maintain the opposition between EH and AH without undertaking to elucidate the particular oblique form of argumentation which constitutes an explanation. For such an opposition need not involve any suggestion of a strict separation between explaining and arguing, but only a distinction between different perspectives, one concerned with merely explaining the past and the other with seeking truth through a debate grounded in the point of view of our present problems. Perhaps it would be clearer to speak of a “mere explanatory history of the past” and “an appropriating argumentative history from the standpoint of our time.” I have indicated that an EH often focuses on the first aspect of the argumentative history, that is, on the questions regarding comprehension, interpretation, and reconstruction which are required for the elaboration of an AH. But AH also exerts an influence on EH. An AH, and particularly its aspects two and three, determine the subject matter of EH as they constitute the canon by which the practice of EH is possible. This is more a practical matter than a theoretical one, for the expression “history of philosophy” does not designate a natural kind that can be used as an unproblematic starting point for our investigations: we must decide in the first place what we are going to study. That is the reason why AH has to constitute and justify the subject matter of EH: an AH must show that we are dealing with a living and important subject matter. However, AH seems to rest on a dubious supposition: that we stand in a more or less close connection with the troubles and even the problems of different times; that there is a noncontingent, deep continuity in the history of thought. We are assumed still to participate in the past. It is presupposed that the old ideas, in some sense, are still there and not just as ruins, but as living problems, constituting something like an argumentative memory. But we must show why such a presumption should be taken seriously. Our very statement of this doubt, or of the requirement that we meet it, already constitutes an answer to it. All the continuity we need—and it may even bridge “revolutionary” ruptures—does not require more than that: presumptions. Before I start reading a text, I have somehow located it in relation to my beliefs, the beliefs produced by the tradition in which I participate. Or, more precisely, in relation to those fragments of a tradition that those texts constitute. Sometimes my reading will agree with those


Explanatory and “Argumentative” History of Philosophy

presumptions and I will be able to carry out a fruitful argumentation. But sometimes I will have to reject them, and consider them as mere traditional superstitions. Thus a critical spiral will be put in play between our presumptions and our actual readings. (I must insist that it is both inevitable and unfair that great texts are very often ignored for the sole reason that a dominant tradition unjustifiably buried them with negative presumptions, as is the case with some Latin American texts. But in relation to the texts that are read, our judgments need not be a mere projection of prejudice. That is why presumptions, pre-judices or preliminary judgments in relation to a text, do not determine—or at least don’t have to determine—my judgment. They only shape my expectations as a reader.) Therefore, the general possibility of AH is not in need of any such highsounding assumption as that of “a noncontingent, deep continuity of the history of thought” (whatever that means). All we need is to acknowledge that the argumentative reading of the old texts rests on presumptions entrenched in a tradition, presumptions that somehow relate me to those texts. As to the possibility of a successful reading of any particular work, the matter can only be treated case by case and depends on contingent facts; for instance, the historical efficacy of certain presumptions, the real import of a text, my ability to argue with the text.

Taxonomical decisions, such as those involved in distinguishing EH and AH, are usually just verbal variations. Our expressions “explanatory history” and “argumentative history” are therefore worthy of suspicion. Aren’t we just giving different names to the old distinction between genetic history and systematic history, or repeating under different names the opposition found in the history of science between internal and external history? I believe these questions or objections should be answered in the negative. In all the cases referred to we can see that, if well formulated, those distinctions (which as we shall see are in fact very closely related) can only belong to an EH (and, in some cases, to the first or comprehension aspect of an argumentative reading). But let us not move too fast. First question: Shouldn’t we assimilate EH to genetic history, and AH to systematic history? Not at all. In a genetic history of an author or of an intellectual tradition one discerns the modifications, or successive stages of that author or that tradition. A systematic history, on the other hand, seeks to analyze the diverse thoughts or writings of that author or that tradition as belonging to a more or less articulated whole, a “system.” For instance, there are commentators who distinguish in Plato’s work three different

Carlos Pereda


stages: the Socratic stage in which one can find a theory of the concept or of definition but not yet a theory of Ideas, a mature stage marked by the full development of the theory of ideas, and a late stage critical of that theory. But there are also those who disregard or prefer not to emphasize those changes and try to show how one can find in Plato’s early works a sketch of a theory of ideas and in his final stage a development critical of that theory. Moreover, commentators of the latter sort will be interested in the first place in identifying some of Plato’s writings as fundamental to his work as a whole and in trying on the basis of those texts to characterize a “Platonic philosophy.” And something similar must be said about accounts of what has been called the “Platonic tradition.” But the distinction between those kinds of history has nothing to do with the distinction between AH and EH. If the distinction between genetic history and systematic history is a valid one, then both of them will be possible forms of EH. But is it a valid distinction? I think that the answer cannot be given a priori nor can it be a general answer at all. Some authors and traditions will find a genetic investigation more suitable for their purposes, while for others a more systematic investigation will prove more worthwhile. For that reason, following a rule of continuities and ruptures is more useful in doing EH than dwelling on an opposition between genetic and systematic history. Such a rule may work in two different ways: as a presumption or as a prescription. On the one hand, as a presumption, the rule reminds us of the fruitfulness of supposing that any author or intellectual tradition has experienced a certain continuity, a more or less explicit systematization of his ideas—a thematic continuity, or at least a continuity in the way the problems are focused—and that during the time characterized by such continuity there are also changes, corrections, and even radical shifts in the ideas of that author or tradition. The application of this rule as a presumption from case to case leads us to inquire after the specific kind of continuity and rupture that a certain author or tradition exhibits. On the other hand, the prescriptive use of the rule consists in the following piece of advice: whenever the role of continuity is excessively emphasized in the work of an author or a tradition, the most profitable position is to look for the changes, the ruptures, and conversely, whenever change has been emphasized, it is most profitable to look for continuities. These two uses of the rule of continuities and ruptures render the opposition between systematic and genetic history weak, and make it look like nothing more than a pair of alternative perspectives to bear in mind while elaborating an EH. Second question: Is the EH/AH distinction only a restatement of the opposition between internal and external history? Once again, we must


Explanatory and “Argumentative” History of Philosophy

answer in the negative. On the one hand, in an internal history of philosophy the development of ideas and their ramifications is the subject of inquiry; the connections of ideas with other ideas, both with those prior to and with those contemporary with them, are explained without taking into account the biographical or social conditions under which those ideas were produced or played a role. On the other hand, an external history aims to explain the biographical conditions that allow or prepare (perhaps even determine) a certain development of ideas. For instance, one could write an internal history of Kantian ethics from the point of view of how Kant adopts certain ideas from Christianity and Rousseau and gives them a systematic form. In contrast, an external history would focus on how Kant’s ethics can be understood as a philosophical response to his pietist education and to the political and social ideals of the French Revolution, and that perhaps it speaks for an emerging social class, the bourgeoisie, vindicating its values as universal. Here’s another example: one could write an internal history of nineteenth-century Positivism pictured as a reaction of thinkers such as Comte and Spencer to the impact of science in social life, or an external history of such school of thought as, for instance, Leopoldo Zea has done in his book El positivismo en México, in which the author tries to explain how the views of positivism were used in order to justify in ideological terms Porfirio Diaz’s dictatorship. But whatever the relevance we attribute to these types of history as types of history of philosophy, in both cases we are confronted with two possible forms of EH. Thus, the EH/AH contrast is not just another label for already current distinctions. In the distinction between genetic and systematic history or, more interestingly, in that between internal and external history, different interests are implied, and therefore the scope of our subject matter is determined within the broader boundaries of EH. On the contrary, the contrast between EH and AH is concerned only with the orientation of our judgment. In EH we reconstruct certain discourses, and sometimes we study their “how,” their “why,” or their “what for.” In an AH, on the other hand, we will be concerned to generate debates with certain texts, authors, or traditions, evaluating the truth and relevance those discourses still have for the present day, and by “present day” I mean the changing present day of successive readers. Again, different cognitive interests are pursued in each type of history.

The development of an EH of philosophy is thus a very productive enterprise in itself. However, if I am not mistaken, I think that in Latin America

It resembles then a mixture of groundless ethnographical sketches. little pieces of information that blur the philosophical relevance of the text and do not make clear why they should be of any interest to the reader. Moreover. EH cannot contribute any longer to make explicit the taken-for-granted presuppositions underlying the formulation of the problems that persist tacitly in our days. it is in the first place a harm affecting the life of the history of philosophy itself. That is why in our countries EH is often reduced to mere doxography. and must only be realized. It is thus often turned into a series of presentations of ideas along with.” or at least they do not represent the only ways one can conceive of and formulate those concerns. once it has been completely separated from AH. or to cultural history at best. a disadvantage for the life of philosophy in general. they do not stand for the “problems themselves. but a construction that varies through history and that is realized. the misuse of EH in Latin America has clearly affected the development of philosophy itself. it is very important to remember that many problems concerning the exclusion or inclusion of certain Latin American names in our histories of philosophy (thinkers such as Vaz Ferreira. and on how we support in each case with arguments those inclusions or exclusions. or. such history cannot help us to see why all standard problems are historically contingent: how. Therefore. or its consideration as a mere review of the ideas of the past. as “a disadvantage history inflicts on life. and has often encouraged a confusion between doing philosophy and doing history of philosophy. in other words. First. from the viewpoint of present interests. even worse. the discussion of today’s problems becomes a mere reminder of yesterday’s discussions at the expense of developing one’s own ideas. Thus. In this sense. or Vasconcelos come to my mind) or. Second. This holds both for fields such as morals and political philosophy as for the theory of knowledge and metaphysics (although in the former the geographical . has had terrible consequences. and more important.Carlos Pereda 53 the almost complete assimilation of the history of philosophy to EH. in some cases. the inclusion or exclusion of thought trends such as the so-called Latin American essay movement depend on our interests.” In this case. By neglecting the connections between EH and AH we tend to forget the fact noticed earlier: the expression “history of philosophy” does not denote a natural class with fixed and immutable boundaries. Francisco Romero. more generally. That is part of what Nietzsche characterized. the tendency to disconnect explanatory and argumentative history in Latin America greatly impoverishes explanatory history. a vague presentation of social and biographical data. a confusion between philosophy and the history of ideas. in a plaintive tone. and in the second place. Here are some examples.

part of more general concerns. Let us notice that the reduction of a philosophical reading to an explanatory reading leaves out a key component of any kind of philosophy. and a most confusing rhetoric. namely.” but they are different distinctions and play different roles. Surely all these distinctions show certain “family resemblances.54 Explanatory and “Argumentative” History of Philosophy differences will provoke more variations as to the concerns and their formulations than the latter). it gives us a better standpoint to reflect on them. “professional” philosophy in Latin America. of the way in which those problems are constituted and posed. this worry has been a major concern for those who have tried to develop a rigorous. . has been much neglected by Latin American philosophers. And it is also a matter of being aware of the way in which their significance is formulated and constituted. the repudiation or the confirmation of those demarcations. consider the recurrent problem of demarcating cognitive from noncognitive or pseudo-cognitive discourses. it leaves us without something like the central laboratories of philosophy. For instance. but more important. to be sure. a matter that. for example. both theoretical and practical. For this Latin American worry is. A brief reminder: the obsession in the thirties with distinguishing science from metaphysics (in Carnap). which an EH can reconstruct and place in context. relating EH with AH would lead us to take into account the many ways in which one can conceive of the distinction between responsible and irresponsible discourses. or science from pseudoscience (in Popper) are only two ways of posing the problems of demarcation (which in Popper yield direct political consequences. to be sure. one can also find in it many empty discourses. as his disqualification of Marxism and Psychoanalysis as scientific theories). Let us consider yet another example of the harms that the misuse of an even good EH can bring about. problems.” Although this intellectual trend includes. In any case. Relating EH and AH in order to restore the contingent character of our traditions and genealogies as well as our external demarcations between discourses and our internal distinctions within a discourse does not entail. Understandably. and an AH can put under discussion and appraise. alas. and achieve a better awareness not only of their solutions. Carnap and Popper’s ways of demarcating true knowledge from its noncognitive imitations are quite different and both have different connotations than. And I say “understandably” bearing in mind once again the well-known tradition of the “Latin American essay movement. as I have mentioned already. In such a case. common sentimentalism. the different kinds of argumentative readings. fundamental works. Plato’s proposal to separate doxa and episteme or than Kant’s distinction between legitimate and illegitimate uses of reason. Rather. solutions and distinctions.

” simply paraphrasing what has been rationally conceived and examined in other places. along with comprehension questions. we will never enjoy a real philosophical life. and even of any reflection. the assimilation of a philosophical to an explanatory reading is bound to lead us to conceive even contemporary authors as voices from the past. one reads the authors of the past as if they were contemporary authors. that is to say. but as interlocutors. In other words. But without a genuinely live philosophical discussion.Carlos Pereda 55 For in any argumentative reading. still worse. the delicate interchange of reasons between a proponent and an opponent. we will be reducing our work to “colonial habits. Now the act of rational discussion. we do not treat them as our predecessors. or. At best we would be training people to be researchers in the history of ideas. . documents and testimonies to be taken up into memory in order to elaborate a chronicle. as people who can help us in solving living problems. On the contrary. is a basic component of any productive philosophical life. if in Latin America we do not train ourselves sufficiently in formulating. questions bearing on truth and relevance. We will find it impossible to confront them as our fellows and equals.

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Subsequent versions were read at the National Universities of Rio Cuarto and Salta. I specially thank María Isabel Santa Cruz. In the first place. they coexist in most departments of philosophy worth the name. since there is no agreement on the precise nature of the relationship between them. and Julia Vergara for helpful discussions. for her comments to a former version and for calling my attention to the Aubenque-Brunschwig discussion. congresses. Guillermo Boido’s remarks on Whiggish. anachronistic history were also helpful. Decisions concerning hiring. philosophical curricula place philosophical courses such as Metaphysics and historical ones such as History of Modern Philosophy side by side. Second. And finally. research funds. 57 . philosophers or historians of philosophy. These remarks describe with an acceptable degree of accuracy a status quo the Western philosophical world abides by. even though it is generally acknowledged that as far as scholarship is concerned the training and the academic merits of philosophers and historians of philosophy is different. peace is difficult to keep. However. usually. curricula. and colloquia affect the status quo for they make it necessary to favor either philosophy or the history of philosophy. Less frequently but more excitingly the status quo is disturbed when A first draft of this paper was written during my residence at the Wissenschatskollege zu Berlin. Hugo Saravia.Chapter 3 History and Philosophy in the Latin American Setting Some Disturbing Comments Eduardo Rabossi University of Buenos Aires National Research Council of Argentina Philosophers and historians of philosophy are academically related in different ways. I wish to thank María Cristina Gonzalez.1 Yet. Third. the issue is left unresolved and pacific cohabitation is made a rule. lists of standing philosophers include both philosophers and historians of philosophy. a friendly historian of classical philosophy. it is presupposed that the coexistence of philosophers and historians of philosophy mirrors a certain relationship between philosophy and its history.

epistemology. first-rate historical research is not as frequent as one might expect. a “local touch. then. Moreover.3 In fact. but as a healthy theoretical and practical endeavor. and the (alleged?) philosophical character of the history of philosophy. of being a philosopher. there is the conviction—inside and outside academia—that being a historian of philosophy is a way. They may become. But they are worth having. In Great Britain the discussion may inspire a tough defense of the philosophical significance of the history of philosophy and a reproach to those philosophers—mostly analytic—who distort the past or deny its philosophical relevance. Since philosophical arguments have. Very often. In the United States a discussion of philosophy and its history turns easily into a dispute concerning how strictly or how rightly analytical philosophers—a dominant majority in academia—tend to question the philosophical relevance of the history of philosophy. and aesthetics are conceived of and taught historically. somehow. it is not easy to report an indigenous Latin American “local touch. Four exceptions help to confirm the rule: Ferrater Mora (1978). Is this an acceptable/desirable/commendable situation? Is it reasonable to stick to it just because it has been blessed by our academic tradition? Why not promote—or. speculate on how to promote—an overt discussion on the relation between the history of philosophy and philosophy? Why not disturb.2 Curiously enough. It is . power relations and self-images. philosophical subjects like metaphysics. (1988).” the way these issues are ranked. the relevance of (alleged?) historical knowledge to the practice of philosophy. ethics.” The reason is simple: there is no significant record of similar discussions among us. In France or Germany—two countries with conspicuous historical traditions—a similar discussion may turn instead into a debate on the methodological and epistemological aims of historians of philosophy. In Latin America. to question it. indeed. not for the sake of trouble. It is important.58 History and Philosophy in the Latin American Setting philosophers and historians of philosophy argue about the nature of the (putative?) relation between philosophy and its history. for they have an impact on established roles. Latin American philosophers and historians of philosophy acquiesce to the standard status quo but give to it a peculiar turn: they tend to grant an uneven preeminence to the history of philosophy. approached and discussed tends to differ from place to place. Gracia (1987). possible?) historiographical practices and styles. perhaps even the way. the Latin American philosophical academy? A word of caution is in place here. at least. the uncritical honoring of the status quo rules out the possibility that things might be otherwise. the pertinence of certain (actual. philosophy of language. Pereyra (1982). political philosophy. unavoidably. and Benitez et al. intricate discussions. But paradoxically enough. Discussions on the relation between philosophy and its history may give rise to resentment.

and the import of philosophical claims. actual or possible. no doubt. the modalities of historical research. From Theophrastus and Diogenes Laercius (ca. a molecule in my body. an intriguing way of picking up relevant facts and pertinent nexus. is produced. The real issue is a philosophical and. there may be a narrative. third century A. The outcome of the proposed discussion is uncertain. a very acute one. and stories or narratives may tell when.C. the possibility of philosophical progress.) to Dietrich Brucker (seventeenth century). How Philosophy Bore a History The actual state. Let me expand on this. interesting questions about philosophy and its past arise when a principled way of attributing meaning/signification to a privileged set of past events or processes. natural or cultural. an attractive narrative. or even that philosophy and the history of philosophy are the same. and a recondite membership to sects or schools seemed to be . the Vesubio. to be told about that relation and those sequences. and why the sequence took place. and the kinds of historiographical genders. in both trivial senses. namely. and philosophy have a historical dimension. Whatever the case. This is not abstract talk. you. In other words.4 Nothing provoking about philosophy follows from the fact that it has a history of its own. I spell out some theses and arguments that could set the stage for a discussion on the philosophical relevance of the history of philosophy in the Latin America.” embellished with descriptions or summaries of what “they had said. how. may be related to sequences of preceding events or processes. to formulate a revealing interpretive frame. Doxographers produced lists of biographical accounts of “philosophers. the way of doing it. watercolor painting.Eduardo Rabossi 59 true that roles. It involves taking a stand on the nature of philosophy. It also involves taking a stand on the knowledge claims of historians. In these two basic senses. Consequently. the connection between philosophy and its past was doxographically conceived. or that no general view on the issue deserves to enjoy wide acceptance. it describes what actually happened when philosophy bore a history two hundred years ago. In what follows. personal interests and self-images may be affected and that resentment may rise. It might lead to the conclusion that it is hopeless to say something general and interesting about the relation between philosophy and its history. the high seas. They may be placed in a diachronic sequence.” Chronology and context were underrated. but not necessarily and not crucially. To a large extent. this topic deserves a place in the agenda of Latin American philosophers and historians of philosophy. To make the relation exciting we have to take an additional step. mode of being or situation of any existent thing.

Consequently. problems and systems. “philosophy and the history of philosophy are the same. Schleiermacher. Hegel’s views (Vorlesungen uber die Geschichte der Philosophie. As Geistesgechichte. Dietrich Tiedemann’s Geist der spekulativen Philosophie (1791–1797) and Gottlied Tennemann’s Geschichte der Philosophie (1789–1819) set out a novel approach. that a philosophical justification was needed. The unfolding is in agreement with a final system of philosophy. In many respects. The parallel development of philological methods to reconstruct lost philosophical works and to relate works and authors (F. Hegel clearly saw that a factual description of the past would not support it. However. Things began to change in Germany. Hegel’s move was crucial. in fact. the overarching process through which the Spirit unfolds itself. but with some peculiar aims in mind: to describe the conceptual basis of the doctrines. It meant that the philosophical past could only be interpreted from the standpoint of a philosophy of “the present” and that the history of philosophy was to be the record of valuable past developments. it was to be envisaged as revealing the “passage to truth. as he recorded it. successively. They recorded biographies of philosophers and summarized their doctrines. though extreme. Vorlesungen uber die Geschichte der Philosophie. to a certain extent. outcome of Tennemann’s hypothesis. of course. Strictly speaking.” Although Hegel stressed the fact that philosophical systems grow out of a Volkgeist. 1839) rounded off the picture. The time was ripe for a philosophy of the history of philosophy. More important. his attention was centered on the process through which reason and its categories reaches. a proper history. by the end of the eighteenth and during the nineteenth centuries. The delivery was not simple. doxography did not provide philosophy a revealing narrative. to spell out the principled way in which they were produced. a conceptual status. It involved a set of additional theses implying the following: • there are criteria to identify classes of philosophical heroes. Hegel’s. Tennemann surmised the bold hypothesis that the history of philosophy.5 Philosophy bore a history in Germany in the nineteenth century. the history of philosophy is also the history of an autonomous discipline that has existed (so it is supposed) under different guises since the Greeks.60 History and Philosophy in the Latin American Setting the only criterion to separate philosophers from nonphilosophers. Hegel did not advance his thesis in a technical vacuum.” In an important sense. and to determine the kind of pertinent theoretical nexus that holds among them. to exhibit their connections to their cultural setting. bore witness to the gradual work of the human spirit toward more enlighted states. 1840–1843) were a natural. then. This is. 1833–1836. and. . The Historic Turn was in the making.

which doctrines or systems are important. Its philosophical elan is present. Historiographical Genres The influence of the Historic Turn has been extraordinary. ready to be described and interpreted. somehow. among philosophical systems. Peruse standard texts. Philosophy’s Official Story is a large record of such alleged hard facts. to Brehier’s La philosophie et son passé: Histoire de la Philosophie.Eduardo Rabossi 61 • those criteria are produced aprioristically. the history of philosophy has an immanent lineal continuity—no Kuhnian revolutions are possible. spiritual. what the cardinal problems of philosophy are. Periodizations are not uniform. others on problems. Is it not apparent that Parmenides and Heraclitus’s systems were intellectual reactions to each other? That Locke’s philosophy begot Berkeley’s and Berkeley’s begot Hume’s? That Kant’s critical philosophy was a consequence of the dialectical connubium of Hume and Leibniz’s philosophies? That Mill was a greater . Some grant a special weight to contextual matters. and yet others on great heroes.6 Now. Besides. in all the views supporting the philosophical relevance of the history of philosophy. truth is distributed. The hypothetical constructions of the narrative are transformed into hard facts that are supposed to be found here and there. Some focus on systems. insofar as philosophers deal • • • paradigmatically with a conceptual. doctrines and theses—the criteria to determine how truth is distributed are provided. among others. from Ueberweg’s Grundriss der Geschichte der Philosophie and Windelband’s Lehrbuch der Geschichte der Philosophie. when stories become “official. who is a real hero and who a lesser figure. again. • A peculiar preceptive resulted from the acceptance of these theses. and/or transcendental realm. all agree on the possibility of ruling out. and singular studies on individual philosophers and/or philosophical systems or periods make sense only within such a holistic frame. Yet. it has inspired a narrative that makes up Philosophy’s Official Story. The accounts are not necessarily alike. and how they are related. the history of philosophy displays the efforts of the human mind to deal with and to answer to a set of recurrent problems. and Copleston’s A History of Philosophy. in one way or other. by a preferred aprioristic philosophical standpoint.” the “scripts” are quickly promoted to the rank of faithful accounts of the given. objectively. and you will see the workings of the preceptive at its best.

Nevertheless.7 Given this background. and not ‘vertically. 1967). events.’ with reference to its setting. that Diderot and de Sade were not philosophers? The list of such “hard facts” that follow from philosophy’s “Official Story” may be extended indefinitely.” Global versus Special Histories Imagine a Latin American colleague that has accepted for years. “descriptions of what the intellectuals were up to at a certain time. it is important to leave aside the sacred character attributed to the plot and the alleged objectivity of the facts. religion and social sciences. Consider a possible “Cultural History of Philosophy” exploring the “socio-historical affiliations of philosophers. the first point I would like to make is that she has been taking for . politics. she is prepared to take up the challenge. The autonomy of philosophy turns into an inane slogan because pace Rorty. or philosophy and nonphilosophy. are of less and less importance. The consequences are amazing: chronological sequences have no importance. are surprising: the distinction between “great dead philosophers” and “minor figures” turns out to be irrelevant. for the most part. She is amazed. if we want to give a chance to an interesting discussion about philosophy and its history.” There is even an interesting point about precedence.” and elaborating “the history of philosophy ‘horizontally. and their interactions with the rest of the world—descriptions which. and the idea of an autonomous discipline called “philosophy” makes no interesting sense. as a matter of fact. at the prospect of discussing so obvious a topic. “one has to know a lot of social. it might be argued that “intellectual history is the raw material for the historiography of philosophy … the ground out of which histories of philosophy grow. bracket the question of what activities which intellectuals were conducting. a reminder to recall the high degree of positing and hypothesizing involved in the constructions inspired by the Geistesgeschichte tradition. the distinctions between “philosophy. to realize that there are historiographical genres that offer alternative ways of viewing the relation between philosophy and its history.62 History and Philosophy in the Latin American Setting philosopher than Hamilton. I suggest two moves in this direction. Second.’ with reference to the philosopher’s predecessors” (Passmore. as well as a lot of disciplinary history. again. that the history of philosophy has a peculiar philosophical relevance.” The consequences. and processes as described and interpreted by the Geisteshistoriker. of course. literature. political and economic history. Or take what Richard Rorty (1984) calls “Intellectual History. Just for a start.” namely. Clear-cut distinctions between philosophers and nonphilosophers. To speak with Rorty. become obsolete. philosophical problems are contextualized. First. but not as great as Hegel.” To practice it.

indeed. the issue just vanishes: it turns. they have to learn to disentangle philological and textual matters. some sort of Hegelian narrative. some sort of Hegelian view plus the philosophical project of concocting a lineal narrative from Thales to the present. to several restrictions. she grants the validity of alternative historiographical genres. by necessity. on the other hand. into a nonissue.” will do. If. These are. some of his works (Kritik der praktischen Vernunft) or some aspect of his doctrines (Kant’s Second Critique and the problem of transcendental arguments).” what is meant is something akin to Geistesgeschichte. uncritically. in its stead. cultural). and • the preeminence of Geistesgeschichte over alternative historiographical genres. non-Hegelian. a hero (Kant). reconstruct and interpret conceptual frames and argumentative sequences. of course.Eduardo Rabossi 63 granted. the following: • the validity of the Historical Turn and. philosophically. but as historians of philosophy. It might be retorted that this is an unfair way of starting the discussion because it presupposes that upholders of the status quo have to support. A basic one is what I will dub the “Skinner-Rorty constraint”: No philosopher can eventually be said to have meant something which he could never be brought to accept as a correct description . hermeneutical. view concerning the philosophical pertinence of the history of philosophy. The interpretations they produce of accorded texts are subjected. an alternative proposal. • the kind of philosophical underpinnings that characterize Geistesgeschichte. But more important. rather heavy commitments. then she has to be prepared to argue. Obviously. Their task is. • philosophy’s Official Story more Geistesgeschichte and its linear and global narrative. consequently. and defend instead an alternative. Modern History). And it might be argued that there is. and distinguish and integrate different doctrines. If by “history of philosophy. historians of philosophy have to master the basics of philosophy and the philosophical peculiarities of the specific topic they investigate. identify contextual elements (literary. for the Hegelian views that Geistesgeschichte involves. They may choose to specialize in a particular period (say. Let us ponder this alternative. Historians of philosophy are supposed to be trained as historians. mostly. pointing them out helps to make apparent that she has to face a difficult option. By pointing them out I would hope to show my colleague that no upholding of the status quo as “an obvious matter” or as “a matter of fact. that one can be skeptical about the possibility of a global lineal narrative of the history of philosophy. in fact.

my main point is this: none of the standing arguments is a good one. . The philosophical past is constitutive of the philosophical present because the present is something toward which the past progresses. we count on a large set of established texts and a mass of hermeneutic proposals. again.64 History and Philosophy in the Latin American Setting of what he had meant in response to the criticisms or questions which would have been aimed at by his contemporaries or nearcontemporaries whose criticisms he could have understood. A short list of some recurrent types will do. It is necessary to show at least that knowledge of the philosophical past is essential for doing philosophy in the sense that ignoring the philosophical past and lacking that knowledge when doing philosophy implies one of the following. 3. none proves that knowledge of the philosophical past is indispensable to the practice of philosophy. interesting philosophy (weaker version). they bestow meaning on texts and create interpretive significance. Either that we are not really doing philosophy but rather some spurious a-historical intellectual activity (strong version) or that we are not doing good. that a strong argument is needed to prove the philosophical pertinence of the history of philosophy to the actual practice of philosophy. Only attendance to past philosophical texts yields philosophical profits. It is not possible to learn to philosophize from contemporary philosophy. 5. Notice that. one can only learn to philosophize by doing philosophy historically. The texts record past philosophical activity. I do not intend a thorough review. At this juncture. Historical consciousness contributes to significant philosophical achievement. (Rorty. Here is a list of some of the central claims: 1. In order to get an adequate understanding of philosophical problems it is essential to understand them genetically. Thanks to historians of philosophy. 2.” Notice. in this respect. 4. In that way. The interpretations ponder what the texts might mean or how they are to be understood. there is nothing special about the history of philosophy vis-à-vis other “histories of. there are several of them.9 Is there such an argument? Curiously enough. 1987)8 Historians of philosophy who presuppose the constraint re-create or restore real or imaginary conversations of philosophers with themselves and with a host of interesting coetaneous interlocutors.

But why. somehow.” Descartes. among other things. and assuming. no more and no less. If it were the case that having historical consciousness is a condition necessary to produce “significant philosophical achievements. Habermas. they do not refer to history as historiography. believing. 7. redescriptions presuppose previous (re-)descriptions. contemporaneously. why? Imagine some beginners exposed to a battery of texts excerpted from the works of Carnap. its origins and development are accounted for. The choice depends on several factors. say. then. True. thinking. if viable. some pragmatic. Again.Eduardo Rabossi 65 6. The thesis is abridged in the genetic dictum (see claim 5): the significance of an idea. In other words. 6. Kant. Philosophy is inherently historical. practice or institution. Nietzsche. why is that so? Claim 2 gives a possible answer: philosophy has to be learned historically not. irrelevant. and Carnap—notorious for their lack of “historical consciousness”— would have to be classed as minor figures. Heidegger. the redescriptions of what we are doing. Quine. 4. The basic point is that diachronic descriptions do not enjoy a privileged status. and 7 are related to or presupposed by claim 5. word. The philosophical relevance of the history of philosophy is seen. is made explicit and understood when. They do not refer to the past as something documented in texts or told in hermeneutical narratives. But. geneticism does not explain why nongenetic accounts are nonviable or. but as a factual process that constitutes. Wittgenstein. In our context. than synchronic ones. geneticism is exposed to some obvious counterexamples. and Wittgenstein. and only when. Their impressive philosophical accomplishments give the lie to three. Some of them are contextual. Claim 1 asserts that only past texts are pertinent to the practice of philosophy. Claims 3 to 7 involve a strategy that differs from that of 1 and 2. Foucault. Philosophy is an activity that essentially involves. Why would they be unable to catch the essentials of the theoretical praxis that we call “philosophy” nowadays? Only a prejudice against the value and significance of the actual philosophical praxis makes claims 1 and 2 possible. Dewey. . Quine.10 Some brief comments. Rawls. Take seven. This is a manifestation of a more general truth about human life and society. and the recovery of previous formulations. our present. Take claim 3. a Saussurean synchronic slicing hinders the very possibility of understanding and making sense of actual practices. Husserl (pre-Crisis). On the other hand. Rorty. say. as a specific case of the relevance of past events on present ones. but to history as a succession of related events. Ricouer. concept. Claims 3.

that is. It may invite remakes of Geistesgeschichte or. The past is a preserve of historians.” parallel to the above-mentioned Skinner-Rorty constraint on the hermeneutical task of historians of philosophy. They have the tools and the aptitude to unearth its secrets. Only historians of philosophy are able to produce proper readings of canonical texts. “conversational partners” who share our problems and technical lexicon. Only the second and third ways are commendable: they are not committed to the fatuous project of concocting . what makes it improper to read it through “contemporary eyes” in order to identify and assess its merits or its failures? In short. But why is philosophical partnership to be restricted to coetaneous persons? Why is conversation with past philosophers to be banished unless mediated by the hermeneutical efforts of historians of philosophy? Once a philosophical text gets set. Very likely. more sensibly. In fact. why deny the legitimacy and philosophical import of an anachronistic. for example. amateurish. Other readings. for they are decontextualized. it may promote general studies of a philosopher’s doctrine or partial commentaries connecting current research with past proposals. Whiggish. First. She may claim a special authority to produce proper interpretations of past texts. are mockeries of adequate ones. would say in response to all the criticisms and questions we would have raised. Notice that the corporate claim plus the argument that one can only learn to philosophize by doing philosophy historically presupposes the philosophical relevance of the history of philosophy. or Kant. to adopt an anachronic stance toward past philosophical texts does not imply free association from one’s philosophical views. allege a sort of corporate prerogative. Second. thanks to historians of philosophy. the very idea of making Aristotle. is either silly or tendentious. this is the argument on which strong defenders of the status quo implicitly rely. distorted. an anachronistic approach may take different guises. and/or oversimplified. approach to the philosophical past? Several points are in order here. particularly those made by philosophers interested in conversing with some past figure.66 History and Philosophy in the Latin American Setting Anachronistic Historians of Philosophy Our Latin American colleague may try a different strategy. being acquainted with our technical standpoint. It might be expressed thus: No philosopher can be said to have meant something that he or she could never be brought to accept as a possible description of what he or she. Aquinas. There has to be a constraint on possible “readings.

it gives an excellent reason to doubt and question the philosophical pertinence of the history of philosophy. to relate actual practice with past proposals on similar topics. in fact. Paradoxically. It does not imply a thesis about the gradual and lineal work of the human spirit toward more enlightened states. It disregards the actual practice and development of philosophy. In this sense. She may qualify the corporate claim. as they have to. indeed—she is entitled to use an anachronistic approach. an anachronistic approach to the philosophical past presupposes that the actual state of the philosophical art is better. let us reach a compromise that will restore peace in academia. the corporate claim puts historians of philosophy in a rather odd position: it equates them to antiquarians devoted to the identification and restoration of old philosophical pieces.” Third. hence. Notice. Underlying these reasons is the idea of philosophical progress. however. and let historians of philosophy practice diachronistic history. Our Latin American colleague may try a rejoinder. at least. One may choose this path for different reasons: to identify and overcome past philosophical mistakes. to get an adequate training out of past instances of philosophical activity. a trite way of legitimizing the status quo. to suggest a sort of division of labor: let philosophers practice anachronistic history when they like. it is congenial with the existence of Khunian revolutions in philosophy.11 Notice that I am only asserting that when a contemporary philosopher resorts to the texts of past colleagues—a contingent decision. a dialogic interchange with them seems absurd. legitimizing the anachronistic and the diachronistic approaches. . Their interest in the past is self-centered. when they think it proper. with nonlineal progress in philosophy. Notice that the actual coexistence of philosophers and historians of philosophy is based on the implicit commitment not to stir up the main undecided issue: the alleged philosophical relevance of the history of philosophy.12 This proposal is. In fact. or the thesis that there is an actual and final philosophical system abridging that process. In short.Eduardo Rabossi 67 a lineal development of philosophy through the ages from a “philosophy of the present. taken to extremes. or. that it is reasonable to envisage ways of reaching such desirable state. It only implies the possibility of judging from one’s standpoint the mistakes and successes of (past) philosophers. and denies the possibility of philosophical progress. that it differs from the idea of progress involved in Geistesgeschichte. Fourth. more veritable than some past state(s). more correct. it seems as absurd as denying historians of philosophy their right to do their work according to the canons of historical research. Denying philosophers their right to project their problems on some established texts of past philosophers and to produce.

and discursive styles are. Why is that so? I shall advance three hypotheses that suggest possible answers to these questions. namely. mainly. I believe that in Latin America this is a main motivation to become a historian of philosophy. up to now. if doing philosophy is not easy. philosophy needs a history. given the status quo (Latin American version). intellectual achievements. the argument about the philosophical relevance of the history of philosophy was explained and assessed. say. First. part of the authority and prestige of the selected champions. in conceptual and methodological terms. deep puzzles and systematic proposals: intellectual heraldry. a revealing genealogy.13 The sort of vicarious nobility borrowed from history is especially needed in Latin America. reads the main works. Problems. One selects a period in the history of philosophy. It is no secret that a liberal map of contemporary philosophy would spot several philosophical communities. we are back were we started. mostly. standards of excellence. produces some exegetic commentaries (not necessarily critical) and gets. peruses bibliography. why has the history of philosophy such an appeal in our academic climate? In other words. Historians of philosophy provide it. The question was. However. it may be pointed out that the role played in Latin American academia by the history of philosophy is related. internal to each community. as families claiming nobility need a family tree. Second. . Philosophy is not an established branch of knowledge. the appropriate way of being a philosopher? The ample space enjoyed by the history of philosophy is intimately related to the professional preeminence granted to historians of philosophy. somehow.68 History and Philosophy in the Latin American Setting The proposal hints at a compromise that pretends to give each part its due. of its own. it does not decide the issue but intends to validate the uneven space that the history of philosophy gets in Latin American academia. to the peculiar status of philosophy. given the absence of established native philosophical traditions. methodologies. an interesting genealogy. The Peculiarity of the History of Philosophy But not quite so. Notice that. They produce the narratives that tell about eminent ancestors. why is being a historian of philosophy quite often. by proxy. in Latin America. is there a convincing argument on which the philosophical relevance of the history of philosophy could be grounded? But now we can envisage an alternative question. doing philosophy and getting intellectual authority or prestige is not a common achievement. Being a historian of philosophy can be a way to gain authority and prestige without being exposed to the hazards of having to induce progress in the state of the art. Now. Curiously enough. chooses some heroes.

insofar as Y is interested in it. if that were not the case. mainly. and no one can claim to be a physician just because he or she is a historian of medicine or an artist just because he or she is a historian of art. In fact the best. But it is accepted that writing history of philosophy is engaging in a philosophical practice. argument against this strange asymmetry comes from an outstanding historian of philosophy. and mention Y’s ideas in the status questionis which would open the book … In a strict sense of the word. are motivated by different questions. and that being a historian of philosophy implies being a philosopher. nor that in Latin America there are not active historians of philosophy whose work satisfy the highest academic standards. by reference to those [texts] written by philosophers whom they write about. basically. in Y. Jacques Brunschwig.Eduardo Rabossi 69 I am not saying that there is not a different. I am saying that in Latin America the popularity enjoyed by the history of philosophy (including the teaching of philosophical disciplines in a historical way) is due. historians and. to a comfortable decision that takes advantage of the status quo and of one of its most revealing presuppositions: the assumed asymmetry between history of philosophy/historians of philosophy vis-à-vis other histories of/historians of. and practice two distinctive genres. Brunschwig concludes: Historians of philosophy. as it happens. write a book on problem X. They may play a communicative role between the species that they parasitize and the rest of the world. he would be a philosopher. But. (Aubenque and Brunschwig. 1992) Historians of philosophy and philosophers have different vocations. hard way of doing history of philosophy. are parasitic on that of philosophers … their texts are written on second degree. 1992) . and is interested in problem X in a secondary or derivative way. Brunschwig says: The historian who writes a book on problem X as discussed by philosopher Y is interested. they do not philosophize. It does not make sense to say that a history of chemistry is chemical or a history of geology is geological. as a species. parasites are more helpful to others than to themselves. the historian of philosophy does not philosophize. (Aubenque and Brunschwig. His thesis is that historians of philosophy are. as such. His point is that the hermeneutic métier of historians of philosophy does not raise the same type of questions that engage active philosophers because they do not have the same aims in mind. are involved in diverse intellectual activities. simple. first and foremost.

According to one version of this view. (ed. 1986. E.70 History and Philosophy in the Latin American Setting A third and final influential hypothesis on the theoretical stance of most Latin American philosophers is the idea that progress is at odds with philosophy. in a sense. pp. Benitez. Doing Philosophy Historically. and epistemological value of past philosophical thesis vis-à-vis actual ones. the appeal of the history of philosophy in our academic tradition. after all. Jorge. Jorge. Gadamer. But it was not unsuccessful. La filosofía actual. it showed that a convincing argument in favor of the philosophical relevance of the history of philosophy is still wanting. 1986. Gracia. New York: SUNY Press. Pierre and Brunschwig. First. “Heidegger und die Geschichte der Philosophie. no actual philosophical perspective can show a past one to be obsolete. I would not be surprised if someone pointed out that the three of them combined provide the proper answer. or false. “Dialogues with the Dead. 1992.” 1987. Revista Latinoamericana de Filosofía 13: 259–78. is still to be seen: to stimulate a real and serious philosophical discussion about the status quo. Philosophy and Its History. Paris: Editions du Seuil. 1981. E. Nathan. My imaginary discussion comes to an end. “L’histoire de la philosophie est-elle ou non philosophique?. A stronger version claims that it is impossible for a philosophical thesis to invalidate a past one. 1988. José. somehow. Buffalo: Prometheus Books. Tomasini. It is also apparent in the way in which they frame their critical comments and in the lack of criteria to assess the soundness. A. The conviction is apparent in the carefully nurtured ignorance of contemporary philosophical issues and theoretical proposals. L. support each other. Cohen. Hans-Georg.. “Doing Philosophy Is Doing Its History. After all. Les stratégiques d’appropriation de l’antiquité. “Seminario sobre la historia de la filosofía. evinced by most historians of philosophy. .” The Monist 64: 423–33. But its real success. they are intimately related and. I leave the readers to make up their minds as to which hypothesis is most suitable to answer the question about the extraordinary appeal that the history of philosophy enjoys in the Latin American philosophical community. 1989. L. cogency..” Dianoia 34. if it is to be successful.. delusive.” in Nos grecs et leur modernes. Peter H.). References Aubenque. Hare. “La filosofía y su historia. 1992.” Synthese 67: 33–49. Madrid: Alianza. Ferrater Mora. M. it explained. Second. 1978.” Synthese 67: 51–55. and Beuchot. Centre National des Lettres. Curley. (Papers have to come to an end). 15–96. Jacques. Gracia.

Wilson. 1984.” in Rorty. “El objeto teórico de la historia de la filosofía. This is a cursory statement made on the basis of some standard bibliography: Aubenque and Brunchwig (1992). 1984. Richard. See. Michel. and Skinner (1992). 4. New York: Macmillan. “History of Philosophy in Philosophy Today and the Case of the Sensible Qualities. O’Hear. pp.). Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 50: 628–30. There was only the sort of scholarship which compiles lists. I am playing with the well-known ambiguity of the word history: it may be used to refer to a sequence of past events or to a systematic narrative of them.). Margaret. Philosophy and Its Past. Notes 1. and Westoby. Hare (ed. Skinner. for instance. J. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (To be sure. Richard. Only seven of them refer to Latin American and Spanish philosophers. 1985. and Westoby (1978). a scholarly work).).” in Rorty. Referring to the German beginnings of the history of philosophy. V. Schacht. Johnathan. Gracia (1992) has produced a carefully selected bibliography of almost four hundred entries. pp. 2. Pitt. see below note 7. “Philosophy. These works display a high degree of scholarship and are representative of different ways of approaching the subject. Pereyra. had included in his lectures—before such doxography became. O’Hair (1996).). Ayers. Rée. Schneewind. Rorty. 1993. 226–30.” Philosophical Review 101: 191–243. Essays on the Historiography of Philosophy. “ ‘ Interesting Questions’ in the History of Philosophy and Elsewhere. 1984. 1990. 5. Hare (1989). 1992. Anthony. in the ancient school. Ueberweg’s is a monumental version of the Official Story. 3. Review of Peter H.” Dianoia 31: 143–53. Canada. John. “The Philosophy Major. “The Role of History in and for Philosophy. pp.). Passmore. Philosophy in History.D programs of most universities in Europe. Gadamer (1981). 1967. Historiography of. Schneewind. for a recent statement endorsed by the American Philosophical Association. Brighton: Harvester Press. and Latin America. Rée. John (ed. Schneewind. The evidence for each of these items is strong. Gadamer (1981) reports: “Since Schleiermacher and Hegel it has been part of the tradition of German philosophy to view the history of philosophy as an essential part of philosophy itself … Before the Romantic period there was no such a thing as the history of philosophy in the sense we are concerned with here. Doing Philosophy Historically.).Eduardo Rabossi 71 Lepenies.” 6. B.” Synthese 67: 1–54. . Vol. for pedagogical purposes. Schneewind and Skinner 1984. the graduate and Ph. 1978. 141–71. Rorty. Rorty. The Encyclopedia of Philosophy. “The Historiography of Philosophy: Four Genres.. Ayers.” in Paul Edwards (ed. Adam (eds. 1986.” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Association. Cohabitation is also the rule. See Schacht (1993). Richard. 49–75. On Ferrater Mora. Wolf. the United States. Quentin (eds. the situation was different with the famous doxography which Aristotle. 1984. and Skinner (eds. Carlos.

” Ferrater Mora is a sharp critic of the way historians of philosophy disregard political. religious. diachronic. and his proposal of a “new history of philosophy. My arguments are intended to cover both options. I am aping Ferrater Mora’s lucid description of the way historians of philosophy tend to think that “philosophical systems beget others systems in an atmosphere as rarefied as sublime. that “seem to decorticate the thinkers they discuss … [whose authors] know in advance what most of their chapters headings are going to be … [and] work … typically. Hegel. The rhetorical ones view the history of philosophy as providing inspiration and/or respectability.” She argues for a sort of “pluralistic tolerance. and social revolutions. 9. the theoretical try “to find the theoretical bases for the use of the history of philosophy. in the United States).” Gracia (1992) classifies the attempts to substantiate the thesis in favour of the philosophical pertinence of the history of philosophy.” Rorty thinks that rational and historical reconstructions are as indispensable as Geistesgeschichte. Wolf Lepenis’s (1984) interesting analysis of Descartes. Copleston’s is directed to a certain type of student. See. in this respect. A two-tiered description is adequate for our purposes. and theoretical justifications. At times. Under the banner of “The Affirmative View. Husserl. and Dilthey’s views on the history of philosophy.72 History and Philosophy in the Latin American Setting Windelband’s impersonates the neo-Kantian approach: the history of philosophy is a history of perennial philosophical problems that get diverse answers in different contextual conditions. history of philosophy and anachronic historiographic practice are both legitimate ways of doing history is supported by Richard Rorty (1984)—he calls them “historical” and “rational reconstructions. 7. Rorty rightly rejects what he calls “doxographic histories. The view that standard. when claiming to be mapping the course of philosophical ideas. the pragmatic give practical reasons for the pertinence.” respectively. global histories from Thales to some contemporary figures. The distinction between necessary and sufficient conditions is useful here. He speaks of rhetorical.” namely. 8. Wilson points out that. “there is probably no general view about the relation of philosophy and historical study that presently enjoys wide acceptance—and none that deserves to.” It goes without saying that Rorty and Wilson have different aims in mind. She argues in favour of the seriousness of some of the contributions made by anachronistic historians (analytic ones. “needed to justify our belief that we are better off than our ancestors by virtue of having become aware” of philosophical problems as historical . pragmatic. However. “the great majority of whom are making their first acquaintance with the history of philosophy and who are studying it concomitantly with systematic scholastic philosophy.’ ” Doxographic histories presuppose that “philosophy” is the name of a natural kind: “a discipline which in all ages and places. 10. Margaret Wilson (1995) seems to support a similar view.” 12. a more detailed analysis has to allow for finer distinctions. with a canon which make sense in terms of nineteenth-century neo-Kantian notions of the ‘central problems of philosophy. has managed to dig down to the same deep fundamental questions.” Frankness as to the personal philosophical engagement is not common among historians of philosophy. See Ferrater Mora (1978). Brehier’s gives the Official Story a typical French touch. What I call the “Skinner-Rorty constraint” is obviously a conflation of Skinner’s constraint and Rorty’s comments on it.” 11. These theses are picked out from some of the texts mentioned in note 2. defenders of the philosophical relevance of the history of philosophy seem to endorse a weaker position: knowledge and practice of the history of philosophy is a sufficient condition to philosophize. scientific.

The roles of history are poignantly displayed in Nietzsche’s clever essay on the use and disadvantages of history for life (1874). a history that passes judgment on the past and deprecates it when necessary. the justificatory role played by the history of philosophy is a hybrid that lurks between antiquarian and monumental history. Finally. 13. Those in need of teachers. Conformists and admirers of the past dig in it as antiquarians. to the Latin American one.Eduardo Rabossi 73 products. My discussion of genres is more adequate. I think. However. . people tortured by the present are in need of a critical history. Intellectual history makes up the list of accepted genres. In Latin America. I have qualms about Rorty’s ecumenical view. and comfort—not found in their own times—have recourse to monumental history. paradigmatic figures. I leave the reader to spot the differences in my use of “doxography” and “Geistesgeschichte” vis-à-vis Rorty’s. his excellent discussion has a normative role that fits well the North American academia.

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University of California. there are no histories of Latin American philosophy—histories like Windelband’s or Höffding’s.7 movements. Profs. —Hegel.8 and I want to thank Profs. it has taken almost four centuries for the first regional histories of philosophy to appear—for instance. since the sixteenth century. our concern must be with that which has been and which is.Chapter 4 Breaking with the Past Philosophy and Its History in Latin America Oscar R. Felipe Barreda y Laos’s Vida intellectual de la colonia (1909)4 for Perú. eclectics. of the Bancroft Collection.1 that would discuss and assess the reception and response of the region’s philosophers to traditional philosophical problems.2 This dearth of historical accounts is all the more puzzling given the fact that. Walter Brem. support. for as regards History. and the College of Humanities. Arleen Salles and Elizabeth Millán-Zaibert for their editorial help. and patience. Northridge. there were both an enormous output of conventional histories and the presence of individuals doing philosophy3—that is. Mr. for their continuing support. Northridge America is therefore the land of the future … and as a Land of the Future. of logicians and metaphysicians. humanists. These later works and the more recent scholarship show the richness of the philosophical tradition by giving historical accounts in terms of countries. Before the turn of the twentieth century. a diligent scholar is struck by a curious fact. Martí Center for Ethics and Values California State University. or positivist. for his bibliographic help. and José Ingenieros’s Las direcciones filosóficas de la cultura argentina (1914) for Argentina5—and twenty years more before any significant number of historical accounts of Latin America’s philosophic development were published. In fact. California State University. Jorge Gracia and Walter Redmond for their invaluable suggestions. Berkeley. 75 . The Philosophy of History In studying Latin American philosophy. it has no interest for us here. and Dean Jorge García.6 periods. of scholastics.

the thesis of absolute metropolitan control. like all history. even at the political level.11 But prior to the twentieth century. These explanations. is quite old.18 Yet. a historian of philosophy must not only provide historical and intellectual background or an exegesis19 but also give a thorough account of the virtues and defects of the works under scrutiny: The history of philosophy. for were this not the case he proceeds in the selection of his material and in his characterisation of details only instinctively and without a clear standard. Positing a link between the sociopolitical environment and philosophical productivity is an empirical claim that can be tested by examining specific historical data. rigor. even though it was the dominant philosophy in Spain and Latin America. and second. sixteenth.16 this time implying an evaluation: that Latin American philosophers were mere dilettantes or imitators. philosophy has flourished under harsher sociopolitical circumstances and failed to do so in more permissive environments. First articulated as early as the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries by people who considered the Americas a savage continent. even of philosophers. philosophy included. The first reason. For another.and seventeenth-century colonial scholasticism. and the evidence of a historian’s maturity is that he is clearly conscious of this point of view of criticism. when we have succeeded in knowing and understanding this. There is no history without this critical point of view.15 It resurfaced during the 1960s. has been made and challenged by past and present writers. that their philosophy was deficient in some important philosophic way. break down under close scrutiny. . For one thing. that there was no local interest in the disciplines of the mind. or quality were good reasons for not meriting a history. First.13 it was quickly contested by Latin American intellectuals who wrote apologetical works14 and compiled bibliographies of local first-rate intellectuals. would not permit its flourishing anyhow.12 Why? Two general reasons have been suggested for the absence of histories of philosophy.76 Breaking with the Past figures.21 Furthermore. such as oppression. After all. that there was no philosophy to speak of in the region. there are no historical treatments of Latin American philosophy. is a critical science: its duty is not only to record and explain. defects in a philosophy have never deterred historians from carrying out their task. that external causes.9 or transgress philosophical borders and dare into the history of ideas10 or of culture.17 and that a lack of authenticity.20 The second general reason usually given for the absence of histories of philosophy relies on factors external to philosophy. political oppression for instance. but also to estimate what is to count as progress and fruit in the historical movement.

even if the external factors explanation were accurate.30 Though these were well-known and available sources.26 It might be thought that perhaps Latin Americans were ignorant of their philosophical past. the number of philosophers in the region has always been relatively small. political.Oscar R. marked as it was by considerable intellectual discord from within and opposition from without. during the Conquest.31 and no good models existed until the eighteenth. as we now conceive it. any tension within a philosophy or between a philosophy and its social environment would not be a deterrent. the evidence points to an awareness of the existence and of the importance of philosophical labor. However.33 and when many good historical models were available to Latin American philosophers?34 . and judicial implications.24 its ethical. This is Russell’s perspective in A History of Western Philosophy: “My purpose is to exhibit philosophy as an integral part of social and political life: not as the isolated speculation of remarkable individuals. Tying philosophical work to population density won’t work either. It should be pointed out that the history of philosophy. no attempts to study the reaction to internal or external philosophical developments followed from them.22 Nevertheless.”23 Closely related is the more specific claim that the number of philosophers in Latin America has never been large enough to create a tradition. But what about the next two centuries.28 Subsequent references to philosophy appear in the Bibliotheca Hispano-Americana Septentrional (1816–1821). True. In Mexico— the oldest continuous philosophical tradition of the Americas as well as the most historically minded27—the earliest indication of an awareness can be found in the Bibliotheca Mexicana (1755) of Juan José Eguiara y Eguren (1696–1763). did not come into existence until roughly the sixteenth century with the histories of Horne and Stanley.25 even the proper way to do logic. but as both an effect and a cause of the character of the various communities in which different systems flourished. but even at their lowest point. Martí 77 was hardly a monolithic doctrine. particularly when so many other historical works were being written.29 compiled by José Mariano Beristain de Souza (1756–1817) and in the Diccionario Universal (1852–1854). when Brucker published the five volume Historia critica philosophiae (1742–1744)32 That might account for the lack of histories of philosophy in Latin America before the 1700s. when perhaps a dozen or so schoolmen were actually capable of doing philosophy—burdened as they were with the task of indoctrinating the natives with Christian culture and political obedience to the metropolis—they still managed to introduce some philosophical form and content into the debates concerning the humanity of the New World denizens. for this is precisely the kind of stuff histories of philosophy are written about.

or the whole of Latin America. The Encounter and Conquest Philosophical activity in the New World began early in the sixteenth century. this philosophical effort to reconcile Faith and Reason became institutionalized as the philosophy of the schools. and by the thirteenth century. metaphysics. or literary histories. that there was no effort to write its history. a theme is repeated unquestioningly: That much of what passed as a Hispanic past and its philosophical tradition was to be rejected.78 Breaking with the Past Perhaps an answer can be found by looking at the presuppositions and biases of the people who could have written histories of philosophy: Writing history presupposes the subject matter to be deemed important and its narration a worthwhile activity. that is. is the hostility of its intellectuals to the philosophical past? This seems an interesting hypothesis. political. Argentina. Its main text was Aquinas’s Summa . And this seems to be the case with the history of philosophy in Latin America. and physics of Aristotle. During the Middle Ages. with the worldly knowledge represented by classical philosophy: that is. social. Peru. when Church and Crown founded colegios and universities in order to teach and propagate the faith. and. For from the late seventeenth to the middle of the twentieth century. cultural. and at worst as consisting of backward and oppressive superstitions. It also has to take into account the lack of histories of philosophy since the eighteenth century. Unimportant subjects are not the topics of historical writing. and it has to be compatible with the presence of other historical accounts. a tradition based on a philosophical method and a canon of texts placed at the service of theology. by the neo-Platonic and Augustinian interpretations of Plato’s most contradictory strands—with Socratic skepticism and the idealism of the Timaeus. and histories are not produced if they are considered a waste of time. at best as biased. more important. a nefarious inheritance to be broken away from: “Ningún tiempo pasado fue mejor. and that this antipathy was a good reason for not writing a history of philosophy. to a lesser degree. with commonsense and. its task had been defined as the formulation of a system of Christian doctrine that could be used to propagate the Church’s authoritative interpretation of that faith.35 The dominant academic philosophy was scholasticism. Scholasticism grew out of the need to reconcile the revealed word of God in the Testament and its interpretation by the Church Fathers. To be viable. it requires supporting evidence: that there was philosophical activity. that there was some antipathy toward the past. by the logic.” Can it be that the reason for the lack of historical accounts of philosophy in Mexico.

Oscar R. Aquinas. Antonio Rubio states that it “is not so important for candidates of sacred theology to acquire a large supply of logical and philosophical theses or a rich.”41 Surprisingly. Metereology. was not considered an intrinsically worthwhile activity either. but to be grounded in the true and solid philosophy of Aristotle [and] in the clear. like philosophy. if not a source of errors.43 And the encounter with exotic cultures and alien faunas stimulated writers. 1486–1546). it came later. Philosophy. and especially the Organon. and in the writings of humanists like Juan de Zumárraga (ca. be it for evangelization. truth was defined as either revealed.38 They also had intimate knowledge of Aristotle’s Physics. fine array of subtle questions. history. Thus. Vasco de Quiroga (1470–1565) or Francisco Cervantes de Salazar (1505–1575). or authoritative interpretations of that revelation by the Church Fathers and saints. relegated to the instrumental role of testing the logical rigor of theological arguments. I could but inaccurately guess God’s plan. Thomas. the function of Aristotelian logic was to sharpen the minds of students and give them the tools to argue persuasively. 1468–1548). but now it had an ancillary political and cultural function: to be the legal record of deeds and misdeeds and to be a vehicle for propagation of values and beliefs. as in José de Acosta’s Historia Natural y Moral de las Indias (1596) to give . with Augustine. It was still providential—a tool to show God’s hand in human affairs. complete interpretations of St. or as deductions from these revelations and interpretations. and defended. In his Lógica Mexicana. it would merit no history. ecclesiastical law. taking as premises the authority of the Church and the Testaments. They consciously avoided what they considered an excessive reliance on superfluous distinctions and subtleties. challenged. Within this system.36 The philosophers who came to the New World were intimately acquainted with the scholastic canon. for its secular inquiries and skeptical tradition had the power to distract the mind from higher pursuits.39 Whatever little there was of Plato. history itself. Its only role was to chronicle events—to keep track of who said or did what so as to link theological assertions to original sources or to simplify administrative and legal decisions. Furthermore. De Generatione et Corruptione. Martí 79 Theologica and its main form of argumentation the disputation. Francisco de Vitoria (ca. history—particularly of philosophy— would be superfluous. common to European philosophers. and with the later innovators and reformers. in which a view was presented. had little intrinsic worth. pure.40 In this intellectual environment. or administration. with the Augustinians. and since this plan was accessible through theology. 1495–1583) Historia Verdadera de la Conquista de la Nueva España (1568)42 or Pedro Cieza de Leon’s Parte Primera de la Crónica del Perú (1554)—now gained in importance.37 and later on Suárez (1548–1617). as a chronicle of events—like Bernal Díaz del Castillo’s (ca. Duns Scottus.

a comet. Spinoza. The number of publications decreased enormously. In 1681. and the establishment of scholasticism as the philosophy to be taught in the universities. an astronomer and mathematician of the Real and Pontificia Universidad de México. Though Peruvian scholastic philosophers produced some works. Sigüenza y Góngora responded. specifically in the works of Carlos Sigüenza y Góngora (1645–1700) and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1651–1695). philosophical productivity ceased. the crown used the Faith effectively. Leibniz. astrology was a common study among church astronomers. Sigüenza y Góngora himself having practiced it earlier. and so on.50 Taking an opposite side. and though the philosophic canon was taught with strict discipline and logical rigor.S. as a result of the work of Descartes. It became just a university requirement. Southwest. it stagnated in Latin America.44 By the end of the sixteenth century.51 a pamphlet not so much explaining the nature of the comets as debunking their astrological significance on the grounds that very little was actually known about their nature52 and that there was no good reason for regarding them as evil omens. the metropolis consolidated its political and economic control.45 To consolidate its hold on the mind of its subjects. Kino published a pamphlet speculating on the nature of comets and asserting that they were signs of evil things to come. philosophy made enormous strides in Europe.80 Breaking with the Past testimony of the wonders they saw and to interpret them in the light of Christian dogma. and the mathematician Martín de la Torre (Flanders and Campeche).46 in Mexico. This adoption of scholasticism as the official doctrine was an unfortunate choice. the first important indications of a hostility to the past appeared. eventually named after Edmund Halley. While. Voices of Dissatisfaction In 1680–1681. a Jesuit who later on distinguished himself for his exploration of the U. advocating a catholic moral and intellectual worldview. the labor of conquest was substantially over.48 And toward the end of the seventeenth century. A polemic ensued and several devotees of astrology rebuked him. Carlos Sigüenza y Góngora. and for the next hundred years. through a continued censorship. in Libra astronómica y . Locke.49 Several writers speculated about its significance. students simply memorized rules and neglected the critical questioning expected of the field nowadays. among them Eusebio Kino (1645–1711).47 To make matters worse. made a celestial appearance. Sigüenza y Góngora wrote the Manifiesto (1681). the philosophical traditions of the orders imbued in its students a nefarious spirit of partisanship that prevented dialogues and cooperative work.54 In 1691.53 At the time.

and of empiricism in particular. if not about the metaphysical realms of being: “If Aristotle knew how to cook.57 In the scientific sections. Sueño. as what is in accordance with mathematical methods or what is determined by observation.61 In her philosophical poem. Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz was a prolific author of plays. as well as in theological matters.65 In her Respuesta a Sor Filotea (1691). Sigüenza y Góngora argued that traditional ideas were the product of conjecture. True. Largely selfeducated because of the ban on women’s attendance at the university. Sor Juana pointed to the irrelevance of gender in the pursuit of truth and defended the exercise of reason when it is not contrary to faith: “If there was a crime in the Atenagoric letter. metaphysics. that astrology did not fit into the modern scientific conceptual scheme. but “reason” here is used ambiguously. The bulk of the book was devoted to a refutation of the arguments presented by Torre and Kino in favor of astrology. with all the respect that I owe to our Mother the Holy Church? If She.62 Sor Juana speculates about the nature of practical knowledge. with Her most sacred authority. because it’s home-grown?”66 . she was conversant in Aristotelian logic. In her Carta Atenagórica (1690). but because its conclusions are in accord with reason. Martí 81 filosófica. essays. was that one of only stating my feelings. its validity and applications. who taking the pseudonym Sor Filotea. and poetry—the first woman to shape Mexico’s intellectual life.55 and that it was a throwback to a false science whose predictions failed to come true. how much more he would have written. The book’s main targets were the method of authority.Oscar R.59 In the Libra.”63 Impatient with useless subtleties. the method used is primarily descriptive and the explanations of a geometrical nature. In it she considers observation a way of discovering truths about the natural world and about philosophy. does not forbid my doing so. warned her about the dangers of vanity and reminded her of the customary role of women in Mexico.56 The Libra is more polemics than a scientific treatise. why should others? Having an opinion contrary to Vieyra’s was presumptuous of me. and only a small part of the book deals with astronomical matters. she took issue with several doctrinal points made in a sermon by Antonio de Vieyra. but not His Paternity’s holding one contrary to three Fathers of the Church? Is my understanding as such. he argued that what is modern should be accepted not because it is opposed to what is old. he was not a thorough advocate of modern ideas. not of “proof ” and “demonstration.64 This brought a severe reprimand from the bishop of Puebla. not as free as his. she questioned the authority of opinion solely backed by tradition.”60 However.58 and the scholastic insistence on traditional ideas and methods—an insistence Sigüenza y Góngora believed was to the detriment of the truths discovered by the new science. and epistemology.

and truly. even the children of Spaniards who happen to be born in the New World.”71 Answering Lipsius’s criticism.67 In the end. Sor Juana. That from the Indies comes .68 Their intent was to argue against misinterpreting the past. Justus Lipsius (1547–1606). and declared that the Americas was a continent dominated by barbarism: “What then? Will I go to the New World? In reality. were automatically devalued by virtue of place.69 As a scientist and as a man. and both used historical evidence to bolster their arguments against the falsity of some traditional views. of superstitious beliefs). by proof and demonstration. quality of life. considering it as barbaric. Sigüenza y Góngora did. never demanded that tradition be abolished. Sor Juana and. the rector of San Marcos. though he was aware of it during the best of times?”72 Ten years earlier. the free intellect need not accept the principle of authority when the truth does not support it or ignorance deceives it. Anything American. well versed in the literature. where it gives its last light. Sor Juana acquiesced to authority. Diego de León Pinelo (d. Consequently. 1671) wrote in the Hypomnema Apologiatum (1648): “Why shouldn’t I be pained that a pious writer so well forgets our Peruvian Gymnasium when he seeks Academies in the New World. They were not taking a stand against history: Though Sor Juana did not write a history. she questioned the choice of one over another conflicting authority. to justify replacing the conventional and the traditional with new ideas—ideas supported by facts and reason. when. he could afford to praise the new at the expense of the old. intellectual output. the Spanish crown had given priority of position and status in the New World to those born in Spain. it’s a barbarous place. the personal worth of the criollos was diminished and their works considered mediocre by nature. Nevertheless. and in the second. Personal worth. This bias clouded the judgment of the humanist writer. had to give her books away. There is another motive for challenging the authority of tradition: a desire for recognition from the Metropolis. more vitriolic. and ceased writing. was deemed inferior. Sigüenza y Góngora.82 Breaking with the Past To Sor Juana. he examined the level of university studies worldwide. instead. Since the late sixteenth century. attacked the misinterpretations of historical evidence that supports of astrology. more openly. in 1605. the idea that some aspects of the past were to be rejected as biased or as superstition begins to take form.70 This desire was rooted in the iniquities created by the imposed metropolitan social order. Pedro de Ortega referred to this bias in his introduction to Alfonso Briceño’s Las más célebes controversias (1642): What good can come from the Indies when they are at the setting of the sun. Sigüenza y Góngora were reacting against abuses justified by the authority of tradition (in the first case of the role of women.

who would dare affirm that from them come creative talents and doctors? It’s already too much that the people growing in such lands be allowed into the species or essence of man. and then works on poetry. But. silver. my Briceño.74 a compilation of data on the great Hispanic writers since the Middle Ages. is admitted by everyone. but students? Or anyone knowledgeable. So. Dean of Alicante and editor of the Bibliotheca hispana vetus. that it has been us the Peruvians. On the contrary. the first to be admitted to that species. pearls. I congratulate myself. fully formed there. all that kind of treasures. collected precisely to show the presence of worthy figures in Mexican literature and philosophy. In this encyclopedia of literature. Don Manuel Martí (1663–1737). as a country covered with the thickest fog of ignorance and the seat and residence of the most savage people that have existed or could exist in the future. thus. rhetoric . it is licit and possible from any corner of the world to go to heaven. and author of the Bibliotheca Mexicana (1755)80 a bibliographic compendium. to whom nature has denied neither an elegant talent nor genius. In a letter to Antonio Carrillo. to whom literature was not abhorrent? What books would you consult? What libraries would you frequent?”75 He continues in the same unflattering vein: “One dares point at Mexico (by the grace of God) as the place of greatest barbarity in the whole world. though stuck among the grasses and the thorns of a Mexican lake.”76 New World intellectuals reacted to this Old World bias with apologías77 or justifications of their work. the worth of novo-Hispanic culture and letters: “The Mexicans first wrote history. to share Mexican astronomical observation with European scholars. he undertakes to answer Martí’s criticisms through a set of extensive annotations of Mexican writers and show with giving concrete examples. rector of the Universidad Pontificia de México. Sigüenza y Góngora’s Libra itself had a double purpose: first. Martí states his opinion in a language similar to Lipsius’s: “Let us calculate … What would you turn to in the midst of such vast literary solitude that reigns among these Indians? Would you find. voices the same prejudices. without pretending that only you. never mind teachers who could illustrate you. or willing to be so? Let’s say more clearly. and with bulky literary compendiums. to make the readership realize “that there also are mathematicians outside Germany. Let an example of that humanity be our Briceño.78 second. we are all men of the same nature and condition though of a different part of the world. the Spanish. Martí 83 gold. it gathered in him all that can give man true glory.73 Almost a century later.Oscar R.”79 A similar purpose can be attributed to Juan José Eguiara y Egurén. are men. So.

Rarely did the philosophy books themselves make it through the censors. Benito Feijoo (1676–1764) and his Teatro crítico and the Cartas eruditas. astronomy. the Encyclopedists.82 Still. are excellent examples. Also lifted were many intellectual barriers and much censorship. The battle had already been fought in Europe. Because of scholastic reliance on past authorities. again. Descartes had made a fundamental tenet of his methodology a change in the criterion of truth—the replacement of the authority of the ancient with the light of reason—a light that allows us to see the truth of ideas clearly and distinctly. Knowledge of European philosophy usually came by way of those Spanish scholars who had read. Melabranche. and then transmitted them to the Americas. And the Newtonian conceptual framework replaced the sublunary and heavenly distinction with an all-encompassing set of objective and measurable physical laws. Cartesian skepticism and empiricism at first. and Enlightenment ideas afterward did make some inroads into Latin America. Voltaire. Locke. Sor Juana. and so forth. could be seen as early responses to the same kind of problems modern philosophy was meant to solve—among them challenging the priority scholastics placed in the method of authority over observation and common sense. thus showing the existence of many [literary] monuments. the advent of Bourbon rule to Spain caused major policy changes: There was an easing of commercial restrictions and trade with France increased. say Descartes. and some of the region’s philosophers became increasingly critical of the philosophical past. credible testimonies to exceptions [to Martí’s evaluation]—to be mentioned in the fourth prologue. or had some contacts with philosophers outside Spain who had. Word of sixteenth. most coming from France. second-best in the face of the certainty offered by modern Cartesianism or the comprehensiveness of Newtonian mechanics. and many others.84 Breaking with the Past and oratory. but a few could be found in private hands or the libraries of some with permission to have them.and seventeenth-century European philosophical developments filtered through to Latin America. or in the hands of a university.83 Most important were the ideas that challenged the medieval view of a God-centered world in which a humanity lacking moral discernment had to obey the dictates of a wise and benevolent Catholic church.”81 Modern Philosophy In the eighteenth century. thus allowing in Spain an influx of new ideas. the advocates of modern philosophy characterized the philosophy of the schools as unworkable and because of its reliance on Aristotelianism. and to a degree Eguiara y Eguren. Sigüenza y Góngora. arithmetic. .

apart from and even independent of theological matters. even the nature of God. This was a step closer to the ominous Enlightenment notion that once the shackles of the past are thrown away.85 from the newspaper writer José Antonio Alzate (1737–1790). human progress will be achieved by that society which governs itself by the light of reason.90 But again. irrelevant for the study of natural philosophy yet the foundation for any science of man. The majority opted for a conservative defense of scholasticism against the errors of what was often characterized as protestant doctrines—ideas to be refuted. However. to writing histories: of the order. and they turned.Oscar R.84 The call for a sympathetic reading of some of the ideas of modern philosophy came from several corners. Martí 85 The shift from scholasticism to modern philosophy had significant implications: The conception of science changed from that of a systematic and coherent body of theological knowledge to one of geometrically organized truths meant to explain and predict the mechanics of the world. originally conceived by Rafael Campoy (1723–1777). Much of their work was truncated by their expulsion.88 of national histories like Clavijero’s (1731–1787) masterpiece. afterward. of course. Keeping the theological and the physical methodologically distinct. Only a few advocated a total abandonment of scholasticism. or as an instrument to access new forms of learning. without theoretically intruding into what was established by revelation and authority.86 This latter group of reformulators were following a plan of educational reforms. from the Jesuits. allowed the investigator to examine the material world. no histories of philosophy were produced save for a brief set of annotations . A minority saw some value in European philosophy and wanted to reconcile with or integrate into scholasticism some ideas. progress began to be considered superior to tradition. and studying the sciences and economy the cure for the ills of a continent that suffered from bad customs. Historia de Méjico. and.89 even intellectual histories. It could continue at the service of theology as either a purifier of the modern learning by methodologically sifting through doctrines and positions and separating the truth from falsehood. The Jesuit reception of modern philosophy was varied. History was now treated not as a source of past wisdom but as the records of human actions.87 of architecture. to the more radical attempt of a reformulation of philosophy along the lines of the experimental sciences. to the more moderate Mexican attempt to either reconcile the old and the new. in the minds of many. and José Ignacio Bartolache (1739–1790). that included the incorporation of modern philosophy and experimental science. Philosophy claimed some autonomy. The reception of Modern philosophy in Latin America was mixed. ranging from a conservative rejection of the new. from eclectics such as the Oratorian Benito Díaz de Gamarra (1745–1783). as in was the case of the Peruvian Jesuits.

Evidence of this critical attitude toward Spain and the colonial mentality that was part of its legacy abound. free from the accidents of time and place.86 Breaking with the Past on European philosophy by Díaz de Gamarra—evidencing an awareness of the European histories of philosophy. attacking what they considered the corrupt and backward customs and traditions of Spain that still chained Latin America. the consequences were the same: no effort to examine the philosophical past.92 With that independence came a sharp break with traditional lines of political authority. and many Latin American intellectuals blamed the continued presence of the evils of the past on the ways of thinking and doing inherited from the Colonial period.”94 Juan Bautista Alberdi (1810–1884) argued that the “anomalies of Argentine society sprang from its having jumped to political freedom while it remained the slave of old ideas and traditions. In either case. And the scholastics themselves sought a philosophia perennis— a philosophy that aimed at discovering eternal truths. From Independence to Positivism Many eighteenth century progressive ideas bore revolutionary fruits in the next century. The arms of Spain do not oppress us.”96 There was no lack of awareness of the European or Latin American philosophical past—only a denial of the value of the second. We are independent. but their traditions do still weigh us down. For Estevan Echeverría (1805–1851).”95 And toward midcentury. They believed that a Colonial mentality forestalled the ideals of and expectations raised by the advocates of independence93 and argued vehemently for political and social changes. but we are not free. the “great ideas of the revolution have not been carried out. The two sides in the question about the importance of modern ideas would agree about the value of a history of philosophy— about who truly said what. Those in favor of Modern ideas would have little interest in examining the history of scholasticism—a philosophy that had continually favored the authority of tradition over common sense and experience. Yet. the old social and political ills did not go away. The French Revolution had begun a chain of events that ended in the political independence of much of Latin America. and whether they dealt with them adequately. we hear José Victorino Lastarria (1817–1885) stating that the “history of Chile is still that of a new people who can look back upon three centuries of a gloomy existence without movement.91 It stands to reason. Illustrative of this is the reception given to two major encyclopedias published in Mexico: Mariano Beristain de Souza’s Bibliotheca Mexicana (1816–1821) and Vasilio Arraillaga y Barcárcel’s Diccionario universal de historia y . how they dealt with the ideas.

the Diccionario made very few references. The role and value of history can be found in Comte’s Cours de Philosophie Positive. Beristain de Souza’s Bibliotheca was an attempt to finish Egüiara y Egurean’s 1755 Biblioteca.98 The Diccionario Universal also continued the tradition of presenting to a Mexican and European reading public the values of a local culture. Theological mentalities engender theocracies. they had to describe philosophical speculation during the Colonial period. that has been prevalent in Europe. included the works of philosophers. a work that even tries to sketch all this. that attempts to gather in one compilation. to Colonial philosophy or Mexican scholasticism. especially of its literary culture. our memories sad or glorious. In this scheme. Martí 87 geografía (1853–1855). the past belongs to a period we have transcended intellectually and historically—a storehouse of information valuable for those who can use it to determine the direction of the future. Knowledge of these laws had bet one purpose: to allow a social scientist to steer social change toward a better future. it was accused of siding with the regime that had just been deposed. both philosophies that considered science and scientific knowledge as the paradigm of philosophical reasoning.100 For Comte. the Diccionario had an adequate account of European philosophy.”97 This work is composed of extensive bibliographic and biographic entries mainly of Mexican literary figures and which. As encyclopedic compilations of a national heritage. so as to combat “the general ignorance of things in America. “When we are ignored and calumnied everywhere in the world. other than passing remarks.101 This is known as the law of the three stages and describes the ontogenetic and phylogenetic progression of the intellect. when we ourselves do not know about the elements of our wealth. and only the positive mind could give birth to a scientific-industrial commonwealth. and the best strategy might have been to ignore it. Yet. The negative attitude toward the Colonial past received an even greater support in the mid-nineteenth century with the advent of Comtian positivism and Spencerian evolutionism. or perhaps because of it. the names we must respect or despise. metaphysically bent minds father monarchies and republics. in spite of the above outburst of patriotic eloquence. deserves the unquestionable approval and support of whoever has been born in this soil. Clearly. The level of intellectual development in individuals has a powerful collective element in the nature and progression of societies and governments.Oscar R. History was a science insofar as it helps us discover the general laws that govern society. toward the creation . the metaphysical. our hopes for progress.”99 Unlike the Bibliotheca. that proposes to gather the stones of a building to be erected. and the positive. But because it argued for the value of Colonial letters. history narrates mankind’s advancement through three definite stages: the theological. works that praised Colonial philosophy were met with censure. by default.

subject to laws that rule it.108 another form of positivism. Its study was profitable as a source of knowledge about the actions of mankind. had as great an influence in Latin America as its counterpart.107 Spencerian evolutionism. to reform education. and to societies. it was introduced around the 1870s by Luis Pereira Barreto (1840–1923) who. history showed the path to progress. social Darwinism.110 This law of gradual change he called evolution and applied to individuals. had to be overcome. as remnants of the theological and metaphysical stages. that allow the prediction of things to come and the explanation of those that have already happened. from simple to complex. Domingo Faustino Sarmiento (1811–1888). It showed how far we had come and how far we still had to go. Lastarria had come across Comte’s ideas around 1868. result in producing a complete transformation before their advances could even have been noticed. As a consequence.111 took evolutionism to its logical conclusion by arguing that the whole history of Argentina was a process of going from barbarism to civilization. a student and follower of Comte.105 Barreda argued that Mexico had just undergone a political revolution and was now ready for an intellectual one. full of errors and dogmas. and who instead toil to see it as a science. with a new scientific-industrial order. Overcoming the chains of the past can be achieved through a “mental emancipation.88 Breaking with the Past of a scientific industrial state—the positive polity that will be governed by social scientists. In Chile. had in the United States. more difficult no doubt but like the rest. from the homogeneous to the heterogeneous. And who would want to write a history of barbarism? For nineteenth-century intellectuals. It became the “official ideology” of Mexico around 1868 when President Juárez asked Gabino Barreda (1818–1881).109 For Spencer. This meant replacing Catholicism and liberalism. to species. It would be different for the history of philosophy: That was but a history of major and minor . In Brazil. who in many ways anticipated Spencer’s views.102 The historical ubiquitousness of positivism in Latin America is well known. and found them congruent with his claims that all historic movement was toward freedom and progress and that the colonial past. its practitioners do not want to or cannot surrender history to the whim of providential influences or fortuitous accidents.104 In his “Oración Cívica” (1867). history revealed a gradual change in a progressive direction. in Las Tres Filosofias (1874). Spencerian evolutionism also undermined the importance of the past for anything other than an explanation of present and future failures. characterized by the gradual decline of the older doctrines and their progressive replacement with modern ones—a decline and replacement that.103 eloquently listed the advantages of Comte’s positivism and the need to liberate Brazil from religious dogma.”106 In this scheme. working continuously and without stop.

La instrucción en México. and because its practitioners in the New World lacked the time and resources to teach it or to fully develop its implications. between Agustín Rivera and Agustín de la Rosa over the merits of intellectual life during the Colonial period. in 1885. a collection of extensive annotations and citations of the documents. The first overview stems out of a polemic.113 Rivera’s La Filosofía en la Nueva España is almost an anthology of “testimonios” or evidence. and mediocre. organized chronologically and topically.115 He argued that the reason for the lack of philosophers of stature during the Colonial period was not because of a lack of talent or of backwardness. praising Colonial philosophy. and pointing to its influence in education. Had Modern philosophy not destroyed scholastic philosophy. and consequently no value in history. Said program. but because scholasticism was a philosophical school that had been introduced to Nueva España centuries after it had reached its pinnacle in Europe. this kind of attitude does not stimulate the writing of histories of philosophy. by Agustín Rivera y Sanromán (1824–1916). Rivera continues. that is. in addition. biased against Modern philosophy. Martí 89 philosophic blunders. the virtues of the secondary causes. The main thesis is that scholastic philosophy was backward. Overviews and the First Histories In Mexico. And if they taught such things. the sacrament of the Eucharist. what did they teach in the rearguard?”114 Agustín de la Rosa answered Rivera with a short treatise. when we look at the actual documents turn out not to have taught modern science at all but the Aristotelian physics in disguise.Oscar R. by Agustín de la Rosa (1824–1907). demonstrates ignorance of logic and modern metaphysics … It is stated in history that the Jesuits were at the educational vanguard in Nueva España schools. Thomas or Aristotle. eternity. It points out that there were no philosophers of stature during the period. three interesting overviews appeared toward the end of the nineteenth century: La filosofía en la Nueva España. The best it can generate are overviews attacking or defending a past perceived as defective or as correct. There was no point in studying their philosophy. Mexico and Latin America could have produced a philosopher the likes of St. a 1764 physics syllabus from the Colegio de Santo Tomás de Guadalajara shows that “they taught the first causes. and everything else but Physics.112 The doctrines of the philosophers of the past were full of errors because they were at an inferior stage of intellectual development.116 . or had not evolved. Evidently. not even the Jesuits who. For instance. and Apuntaciones históricas sobre la filosofía en México (1896) by don Emeterio Valverde y Téllez (1864–1948). the supernatural operations.

details give reasons for reactions or elaborations of past philosophies and show their imprint in future ones. thirteen years later. Valverde y Téllez works through a set of “apuntaciones” or notes critically analyzing the content of the works of past philosophers and which could serve as building blocks to a history of philosophy in Mexico. Both authors lacked the resources to consult primary sources and consequently relied on the earlier bibliographic compilations. a history makes a prima facie claim of being representative and impartial.122 The Bibliografía has many shortcomings: First of all. except for the stimulus it might have had on Valverde y Téllez’s Apuntaciones (1896). Fernández Luna states that “though they are not histories of philosophy in Mexico.123 not to give a history. Valverde y Téllez seeks to justify a thesis. but only when that history had been written. This is the great service scholastic philosophy rendered. particularly Beristain de Souza. In it. scientific . they are already an indispensable groundwork to afterwards elaborate a true history of philosophic thought. Finally. though defining philosophy too narrowly as scholasticism. he includes in his annotations much that would not be considered philosophy. The intention is important because if a polemical work is selective and partisan. and Valverde y Téllez published. in a strict sense. it has to be cleansed of false philosophies. The Apuntaciones is mainly a bibliographic work. relying on past authors.118 Closer to a history is the Apuntaciones filosóficas. but at least attempting some classification and a measured reaction to modern philosophy of those individuals it lists.121 Valverde is quite clear about the role of philosophy: it is the highest exercise of reason and sovereign to the sciences. and the polemic generated little interest. This is a difficult task since mankind is limited and fallible. even for a scholastic—evaluations of the worth of newspapers. Thus.”117 That is. Because of its importance in human affairs. to trace the influences of predecessors. neoscholasticism. Neither made an effort to define the boundaries of philosophy. neither author had the means to disseminate their works widely. the more extensive Bibliografía filosófica (1909). It is true that testimonies or bibliographies could leave room for reflections on history.120 Its purpose was to defend again what he called “la verdadera filosofía. or of European philosophy.119 It fell quite short of its goal.” that is. it stands in need of revelation and the guidance of the Church. rather that they wrote polemical works aiming mainly at proving one or another thesis about the value of scholasticism. and incapable of understanding ultimate ends. they are protohistories that show awareness but lack the analytical power of a history of philosophy that would seek trends.90 Breaking with the Past The dispute ended without much resonance. like Rivera and de la Rosa. mainly the Bibliotheca and the Diccionario. Not that they were ignorant of philosophic developments in Europe or the Americas. Second. Assessing the polemic between Rivera and de la Rosa.

is always difficult. He examines in some details the philosophical arguments presented. Vida intellectual de la colonia (1909). societies. It narrates who was influenced by what and influenced whom. examining the philosophical past critically. it would have . like proving a negative.124 The first approximation at a history of philosophy in Latin America is Felipe Barreda y Laos. and at least to understand the scholastic mind’s obstinate staying power in the near past. including articles.125 The purpose of this book is to provide a historical account of intellectual life. including philosophy. The stigma attached to a study of scholastic philosophy is strong among the earlier efforts. increasing rapidly by the 1940s and 1950s. but they make two important shifts in attitude that open up the doors to a history of philosophy as is now conceived. Both Vida intelectual and Las ideas filosóficas share with their predecessors an antipathy toward the past. Yet. He is concerned with the relation between philosophy and culture.Oscar R. under normal circumstances. mainly French philosophy as forward looking. and how worthwhile were these views. catechisms. One has to show that. especially about the nature of the earlier philosophies. how were philosophical views received and what were the reasons given. over half of Bibliografía (1903) is devoted to Catholic doctrinal materials. His purpose is to discover the character and possibility of an Argentine philosophy of the future. but ameliorates as the century progresses. when good philosophical activity tried to heal the national psyches. Worse from the point of view of a nonscholastic. Martí 91 journals. Another shift was to allow an investigation of that remote past in order to rescue what was valuable. and by criticizing scholasticism as a retrograde philosophy. These two shifts slowly spread though Latin America and are evident in the historical treatments that began to appear. infected as it was with the scholastic philosophy and the near past of the era of Independence. and though he has a negative attitude toward scholasticism. and so on. he still allows for some value. Though the book suffers from being sketchy. of a nonphilosophical nature. slowly at first and. More interested in the relation between culture and philosophy is José Ingenieros’s La evolución de las ideas argentinas (1914). looking for influences and trends. he acknowledges the value of the philosophical past—both by praising European. it does place the actions local philosophers and of national currents within a philosophical context.126 Concluding Metaphilosophical and Metahistorical Observations Explaining why something is not there. and so forth. One is the distinction between the remote past of the Colonial period. polemical writings.

In principle. and it was consistent with the historical evidence. The method has been to show that there was philosophical activity. and that the only alternative available was to break with it.92 Breaking with the Past been there. It brings to mind the complexities of Mill’s method. a consequence of a more specific and more easily verifiable perception of the Hispanic cultural past as backward and the source of biases and errors. This seemed like a fruitful hypothesis. This suggested valuation of past practices was. and that when these factors were destressed or removed the histories in questions began to be published. or simply beliefs about human nature. To explain the absence of a history of philosophy one has to show that there was something to write a history of philosophy about. an inferior philosophical activity. One also has to show why the circumstances were not normal. showed some wrinkles. Why certain events did not happen might be explained by (1) the expectations that it could happen. second. luckily. This essay is a search for reasons for a nonexistence of histories of Latin American philosophy. and so on—on people who tried to write histories of philosophy. two other reasons had to be added: first. A closer examination of the hypothesis. In their place emerged one suggesting that until the twentieth century. that is. external factors. cases of torture. that there were other histories being written. laws. that this kind of history could have been written. there are two options to resolving the counterfactual (that there could have been but wasn’t): Its truth could be established by pointing to actual interdictions—to bans. the cause for this absence was a prevalent belief among Latin American intellectuals that the philosophical past was not worthwhile. During the early Colonial period. In the sciences. that the presence of some factors prevented a history of philosophy. and so forth—and found wanting. a similar procedure can be carried out in historical work. that histories of . and explain why they it wasn’t. its causes and explanatory power varied depending on the historical period. It suggested looking for evidence of philosophical activity and of an antipathy toward the past. Though there was evidence of an antipathy toward the philosophical and cultural past. the presence of philosophical activity. there were no models of what a history of philosophy should be until late in the eighteenth century. that means pointing to the relevant scientific laws and showing why the causal agents were absent or not operant. or imprisonment. or it might be solved by investigating the professional beliefs of historians—that is. be these historical laws. Several hypotheses were first considered—a lack of philosophical activity. Though the first condition requires an examination of historical evidence. taboos. what were their motives for not writing histories of philosophy. historical forces. and (2) by the absence of prior factors or precipitating events or by the presence of restraining factors.

Several morals can be drawn from this inquiry. the . would have met with censure. as well as the impact of events that though not philosophical. First. even of philosophy. And it’s open to question whether such practice can stand isolated from its history. would conflict with the ultimate goals of a philosophia perennis. with their own identities. Its absence can be accounted for not by some intrinsic properties but by historical events and by a refusal to look at its history out of a desire to thoroughly break with it. when the Jesuits were exiled from the Hispanic World.Oscar R. Another moral is that the historical processes. the most likely candidates for writing these histories were removed. Yet. with the corollary that that its gradual amelioration allowed for an equally gradual increase of these writings—was fruitful. can be better understood when subjected to a careful empirical inquiry. The only histories possible would be institutional. there was a corresponding increase in the number of histories of Latin American philosophy published. that the perplexing absence of a history of philosophy can be explained not by invoking some intrinsic defects of regional practices but by human design and by historical accidents. when the revolutions of independence led to political and social breaks with the metropolis and to the instauration of new republics. though one can find a growing antipathy toward the philosophic past. During the next two centuries. of a philosophy in pursuit only of eternal Truths. at first with some toleration. And in the nineteenth century. any investigation that found value in a past they had just revolted against. The net result is was that a philosophical past intimately linked to scholasticism. True that though the history of philosophy might not be necessary for the practice of philosophy. conceptions of good citizenship. social. It isn’t that Latin America was plagued with a defective philosophy that merited no history. The original hypothesis— that an antipathy to the philosophical past prevented the writing of histories of philosophy. This held true until the twentieth century. and so on. The third moral is that four centuries of continuous philosophical practice tends to undermine claims to the importance of a history of philosophy for the health of such practice. that is. Martí 93 philosophy. it makes the perception of this practice through time difficult. historical events intruded: In the eighteenth century. expectations of the future. was not seen as a valuable field of investigation. but the facts suggested that there were other reasons at work. when enough time had elapsed to allow a reassessment of the past. And the antipathy present was due as much to a criollo desire to respond to proximate and distant critics about their intellectual worth as to an originally posited dissatisfaction with the past. and later on with a genuine interest. or cultural. As the antipathy toward that past was replaced. as narratives of events in a temporal and changing world. did have a cumulative force on the ways of philosophy.

Fuentes para la historia de la filosofía en el Perú (Lima: Facultad de Letras. assumptions (and biases) of the author. Eine Darstellung der Geschichte der Philosophie von den Ende der Renaissance bis zu unseren Tagen (Leipzig. El goce de la razón: El Perú del XVII (Lima: Editorial San Marcos. vol. 2 vols. and the first philosophy books. like Latin American philosophy. 1895–1896). translated by James Tufts as A History of Philosophy. Historia de la filosofía en México (México. pp. have endeavored to be not ahistorical but nonhistorical. In this respect. Geschichte der neueren Philosophie. Harald Höffding. XXVII (Buenos Aires: 1914). followed by the Dialectica resolutio (Mexico: Ioannes Paulus Brissensis. Las direcciones filosóficas de la cultura argentina. 40–48. La filosofía en la Argentina. (2) that assess critically. José Ingenieros. Recognitio Summularum (Mexico: Ioannes Paulus Brissensis. 1554) and the Phisica speculatio (Mexico: Ioannes Paulus Brissensis. E. The first printing house in the Americas was established in Nueva España.C. Manuel Mejía Valera. R. Geschichte der Philosophie (Freiburg i. Filósofos brasileños. Felipe Barreda y Laos. 2. 2000). 1961). By a history of philosophy I mean a work that: (1) examines in chronological order the development of philosophic idea: that is. 1958). Juan Carlos Torchia Estrada. in their desire to be future-oriented. filosofía y ciencias): Ensayo histórico crítico (Lima: Imprenta La Industria. B.94 Breaking with the Past moral of the story is somewhat disquieting for it undermines some ingrained habits. Notable are Samuel Ramos. its chronological presentation giving an almost intuitive organization. and De Caelo. 4. development in the hands of some figure. see Raul Falla Barreda. 1943). 5. Wilhem Windelband. and Jerónimo Valera. that seeks their source. 1606). in 1539. Vida intellectual de la colonia (educación. 1554). the historian need not be committed to any metaphysical presuppositions about the purpose or direction.: Unión Panamericana. (London: Macmillan. according to philosophical criteria the worth of those ideas and how well they were worked through in the historical texts under scrutiny. Biblioteca Filosófica (Buenos Aires: Editorial Losada. Whereas one way to approach a field is to look for its history. Notes 1. 1557). 1915). 1943). They are Vera Cruz’s commentaries to Aristotle’s Generation. it seems that some fields. A Sketch of the History of Philosophy from the Close of the Renaissance to Our Own Day. but just a commitment to the power of philosophical ideas to influence and be influenced by future or past philosophers. 1963). Reisland. This would be a curious twist of Hegel’s dictum. 2 vols. 1909). Crítica de Aristoteles (Lima: Antonio Ricardo. Universidad . reprinted in the collection Biblioteca de América/Libros del Tiempo Nuevo (Buenos Aires: Eudeba. and trace their influences. 1892). (3) and that should contains—for it is not usually the case— a statement of methods. in Revista de la Universidad de Buenos Aires. translated by B. Commentarii ac quaestiones in universam Aristotelis ac subtilissimi doctoris Ihoannis Duns Scoti logicam (Lima: Antonio Ricardo. Meyer as A History of Modern Philosophy.: Imprenta Universitaria.. Meteors. The first philosophy books printed in Peru were José de Acosta.F. Antonio Ricardo. 3. Pensamiento de América (Washington. (New York: Harper Torchbooks. O. 6. Guillermo Francovich. Alonzo de la Vera Cruz. D. 1585). To write such history. D. The first printing press in Peru was established in 1583 by the Italian.

Lateinamerikanische Forschungen (Koln.F. Ofelia Schutte. La filosofía en Bolivia.: Biblioteca del Estudiante Universitario. D. E. D. Wienn: Bohlau Verlag.F. worth reading are Martin Stabb.. apogeo.F. 1963). Filósofos y teólogos Jesuitas en la Venezuela Colonial (Caracas. D. 1950). Instituto de Investigaciones Históricas (México. 1930). El Hombre y su conducta: Ensayos filosóficos en honor de Risieri Frondizi/Man and his Conduct: Philosophical Essays in Honor of Risieri Frondizi (Rio Piedras: Editorial Universitaria de Puerto Rico. y decadencia (México. D. The best are Jorge J. 1937).F. 1968).: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. 1941). Vol. D.: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Filósofos mexicanos del siglo XVI: Contribución a la historia de la filosofía en México. Zum Felde. Vida intellectual del Virreinato del Perú.F. n.d. Edición dedicada al 2do Congreso de Historia de América. Colección Tierra Firme (México. Karl Christian Friedrich Krause and his Influence in the Hispanic World.: Fondo de Cultura Económica. and El positivismo en México: Nacimiento. NC: University of North Carolina Press. A History of Ideas in Brazil. PA: Pennsylvania State University Press. there are very few general histories of philosophy published in Spanish that fulfill these requirements. 1967). Barnabé Navarro. 1974). D. Boston: D. Walter Redmond and Mauricio Beuchot. Walter Redmond. D. 1956). Weinstein.: Fondo de Cultura Económica.F. editor.: Fondo de Cultura Económica. 1966). Also Jorge Gracia. (La Paz. 1989). 9. The Labyrinth of Solitude (New York: Grove Press. Synthese Library 172 (Dordrecht. et al.F. OK: University of Oklahoma Press.F. editors. Patterns in the Spanish American Essay of Ideas. O. de Buenos Aires (Buenos Aires: L. A. Carlos Stoetzer. Arturo Ardao. Octavio Paz. 1998).: Fondo de Cultura Económica. part I. 1998). 1993. Macedo (Berkeley: University of California Press. 7. Wiemar. 2d ed. Even today. 1948). México. 1984). 3 vols. Panorama filosófico de la Universidad de San Carlos al final del siglo XVIII (Guatemala: Universidad de San Carlos. 12. Manuel Rodríguez Lapuente and Horacio Cerutti Guldberg. Historia de la . Biblioteca Mexicana 4 (México. Barnabé Navarro. 1985). La lógica en el Virreinato del Perú a través de las obras de Juan Espinoza Medrano (1688) e Isidoro de Celis (1787) (Lima: Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. 11. The Latin American Mind (Norman.F. 1976). TX: University of Texas Press. 1964). and Gillermo Francovich. Panorama de la filosofía iberoamericana actual (Buenos Aires: Eudeba. Cultural Identity and Social Liberation in Latin American Thought (Albany: State University of New York Press. Oswaldo Robles. The Polarity of Mexican Thought: Instrumentalism and Finalism (University Park. D. Gracia. Leopoldo Zea. D. La lógica mexicana en el siglo de oro.: Manuel Porrúa. (Montevideo: Imprenta Nacional Colorada. Proceso Intelectual del Uruguay. Reidel. For instance. Arturo Andrés Roig: Filósofo e Historiador de las Ideas (Guadalajara: Universidad de Guadalajara. 1964). Espiritualismo y positivismo en el Uruguay: Filosofías universitarias de la segunda mitad del siglo XIX.: El Colegio de México. D. Historia de las Américas 1 (México. In Quest of Identity. Felipe Barreda y Laos. 1974). Cultura mexicana en el siglo XVII (México.F. Bolivia: Editorial Juventud. Philosophical Analysis in Latin America. 1963). Holland. 1950).: Fondo de Cultura Económica. La filosofía en el Uruguay en el siglo XX. Spanish edition: El Análisis Filosófico en América Latina (México. translated by Josephine H. For instance. 1963). translated by S. 1985). José Mata Gadiva.Oscar R.). 1961). La introducción a la filosofía moderna en México (México. Rosso. Martí 95 Nacional Mayor de San Marcos. Joao Cruz Costa. José del Rey. 10. Arturo Ardao. 8. Humanistas del siglo XVIII (México. 1890–1960 (Chapel Hill. 1980). Gabriel Méndez Plancarte. Abelardo Villegas. T. and Michael A. 25. The most readily available are Julián Marías. In this respect. Schulte as Positivism in Mexico (Austin.

and Enrique Dussel. Libri tres (Antverpiae: Ex officina Plantiniana. Gracia. and Ramón Xirau. Translated and edited. E. eds. and Joseph Perez. 148. Yet. Jorge J. “Introduction” to The Rationalists: Critical Essays of Descartes. Martí. 1967). see Oscar R. Marías only mentions philosophy in Spain and Xirau makes minimal efforts (pp. . Apud Ioannem Moretum. with a prologue by Xavier Zubiri and an epilogue by José Ortega y Gasset (Madrid: Alianza. 1985). 13. 1999). Occasional Publications 16. sive. 1.: Siglo Veintiuno Editores. “Philosophy and Thought in Latin America. Down from Colonialism (Los Angeles: Chicano Studies Research Center. xi ff. I Coloquio de Filosofia. and Leopoldo Zea. 14. for instance. Epístolas Latinas (1735). 17. García Cambeiro. D. Hypomnena Apologeticum pro regali Academia Limensi in Lipsianum periodum (Lima: Oficina de Julián de los Santos y Saldaña. see Derk Pereboom. Leopoldo Zea promptly responded with his La filosofía americana como filosofía sin más Colección Mínima 30 (México. p. Semblanza de la Universidad de San Marcos (Lima: Universidad de San Marcos. México.. 1983): 46–52. Windelband. and more recently. Epistolarum libri duodecim (Mantuae Carpetanorum: Apud Joannem Stunicam. For a brief discussion of the tasks of a history of philosophy. Maniquis. 18. Juan Nuño. Las Revoluciones en el Mundo Ibérico. 1766–1834 (Madrid: Turner. 359. Reucarte Soler. Robert M. Strowbridge (New York: Dover. quavis lingua scripto aliquid tradiderunt.F. of being but copies of other philosophical traditions. p. 170. in América Latina: Dependencia y liberación (Buenos Aires: F. 1969). translated as History of philosophy. 15. 1982). see Augusto Salazar Bondy. Spinoza. 1755). KS: University of Kansas Press. Latin American philosophy has traditionally been open to the charge of unoriginality. Sentido y problema del pensamiento filosófico hispanoamericano. p. “Is There a Latin American Philosophy?” Metaphilosophy 14 (No. Juan José Eguiara y Egurén. 1648). 20. 19. 1968). ecclesiae alonensis decani. In this respect. Jaime Rodriguez. 1735). Ferdinando VI Hispaniarum Regi Catholico (Mexico: Ex nova typographiâ in Ædibus Autores edition ejusdem Bibliothecae destinata. A History of Philosophy 1: 17. in Cuatro ensayos de historia: Sobre Panamá y nuestra América (Panamá: Editorial M. Center for Latin American Studies (Lawrence. Arosemena. Biblioteca Mexicana sive eruditorum historia virorum qui in America Boreali nati. Oscar R. 1973). “The Possibility of an Indigenous Philosophy: A Latin American Perspective. Opide et academiae eius descriptio. 377) to locate Latin American philosophy within the historical stream. Philosophical Analysis in Latin America.” in this volume. Iusti Lipsi Lovanium. 1981). October 1981. 1989). with an English translation. Martí. See Enrique Villanueva’s comments.” Latin American Research Review 3 (1968): 13–16. The problem was first expressed by Augusto Salazar Bondy in ¿Existe una filosofía de nuestra América? Colección Mínima 22 (México: Siglo XXI Editores. Guanajuato. Probably Justus Lipsus. 1969). See. and Manuel Martí. MD: Rowan and Littlefield. vel alibi geniti. by Stanley Appelbaum and Clarence C. 16. 1605). 1949).96 Breaking with the Past filosofía. “Philosophy and Its history. in Gracia et al. 1985). with a prologue by Luis Antonio Eguiguren as Diego de León Pinelo. Vicente Medina. Introducción a la historia de la filosofía (México: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. and Leibniz (Lanham.” American Philosophical Quarterly 29 (1992): 373–80. edited by Gregorio Mayans y Ciscar: Emmanuelis Martini. 21. in ipsam domicilio aut studiis asciti. Diego de León Pinelo.. For English translations.

4. Martí 97 22.: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. 23. In Latin America. Guns. or Rubio. the Suaresism of the Jesuits. 1984). and the Scottism of some Franciscans. or Sigüenza y Góngora. ix. Ireland. see volume 5 of Juan José Eguiara y Eguren. This was not peculiar to the New World. the stress is on those individuals who. “Aristotle. Thomas Benjamin. 17–288. La Ética en la Conquista de America.: The Catholic University of America Press. libri sex. 1966). Francisco de Vitoria (ca. As with Eguiara y Eguren. D. and to understand its philosophy we must ourselves be. The History of Philosophy in Colonial Mexico. 1883). See Mauricio Beuchot. For a Spanish translation. see Carlo M. The Conquest of America. A History of Western Philosophy (New York: Simon and Schuster. Werner. Bertrand Russell. et de promvlgatione evangelii. sive De procvranda Indorvm salvte. L. (Salmanticae: Apud Guillelmum Foquel. translated by Richard Howard (New York: Harper Torchbooks. 1997). Pillehotte. translated by Elizabeth Millán (Washington. México. 1945). and Beristain. Bibliotheca Hispano Americana Septentrional. Russell continues: “To understand an age or a nation we must understand its philosophy. D. like Zumárraga. 1986–1989). Mercado. the essays in “Polémica sobre la ética de la Conquista. Biblioteca mexicana. “Historiography. Sails and Empires: Technological Innovation and the Early Phases of European Expansion. presbytero Societatis Iesv. Antonio Rubio. Coordinación de Humanidades. 3d ed. apvd barbaros. 1998).” in Michael S. Amecameca. Cipolla. with a prologue and notes by Ernesto de la Torre Villar (México. 1588). Luciano Pereña. 1980): 57–68. Biblioteca Mexicana (1755). La Ética en la Conquista de America. 24. 1959). with notes and a preliminary study by Jaime Torrubiano Ripoll (Buenos Aires: Editorial Enero. 30. 26.” in D. stricter philosophers. (México: Tipografía de Rafael. Encyclopedia of Mexico 2 vols. 1571). and Librería de Andrade. 25 (Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigación Científica. Avtore Iosepho Acosta. Sor Juana. 1853–1855). 1486–1546) Relecciones teológicas. 1946). In Corpus Hispanum de Pacem. libri dvo. 292–344. their philosophy does much to determine their circumstances. distinguished themselves in literature at the expense of the earlier.” Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy Section L.. but a good start are Lewis Hanke. xiv. 80 (No.Oscar R. 10 vols. Tzevan Todorov. 25. There is here a reciprocal causation: the circumstances of men’s lives do much to determine their philosophy. . Ramos et al. De natvra Novi orbis. in some degree philosophers. but. 1400–1700 (New York: Pantheon Books. 1521–1850. edited. 1st ed. In Spain.F. Las Casas and the American Indians. G. (México: Librero Anticuario Navarro. pp. E. 29. José de Acosta (1540–1600). han dado a luz algún escrito o lo han dejado par la prensa. with a foreword by Jorge J. The literature is enormous.. ed. like Vera Cruz. “La escuela de Salamanca y la duda indiana. Eguiara y Egurén. o Catálogo y Noticias de los Literatos que Nacidos o Educados o Florecientes en la América Septentrional Española. 1611). Antonii Rvvio: hoc est comentarii breviores et maxime perspicui in vniuersam Aristotelis dialecticam: vna cum dubijs et quaestionibus bac tempestate agitari solitis (Lvgdvni: I. Gracia. Logica mexicana r. José Mariano Beristain de Souza. Tomás de Mercado (d 1575). p.C. 1816–1821. 1984). p. conversely.. 1: 646–50. vol. (Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn.p.” Ibid. nor delimited to philosophical argumentation. at least three traditions were in open conflict: the Thomism of the Dominicans. Summa de tratos y contratos (Sevilla: Hernando Díaz. pp. Huxley. See also. Diccionario Universal de Historia y Geografía. 27.” in Ramos et al. Aristotle and the American Indian (London: Hollis and Carter. 28.

35. in De Dignitate et Augmentis Scientiarum (1623). Zephyrin Englehardt. edited by Teófilo Urdanoz (Madrid: Editorial Católica. by Stephen H. Doctrina breve published in the city of Tenochtitlan. 1. the historical models were Diogenes Laertius. hasta la época presente (México: J. 1857). The Universidad de Santo Domingo was founded in 1538. Quibus de origine.. an account of the life and writings of the author. “Modo de escribir la historia. Andres Bello. 36. Course of the History of Modern Philosophy. To which is prefixed. The Renaissance efforts start with Georg Horn (1620–1670) and Thomas Stanley (1625–1678). all written in the New World. Prior to Bacon’s call. to which are added The Earliest Books in the New World. For instance. 32. Historia antigua de México (Cessena. Historia critica philosophiae. edición crítica del texto latino. O. in 1614. Millar. 1543) were published in Spain. 1928). see Falla Barreda. 40. ed. For instance. Though the first texts used in Mexico. (México: Porrúa. and A Technical Appreciation of the First American Printers. The history of philosophy: containing the lives. opinions. 1655–1662). the well received 1829 lectures by Victor Cousin. 2d ed. Gabrielle M. Horgan. 37. the Real y Pontificia Universidad de San Marcos. p. Juan Zumárraga. W. 1849–1852). 1544. actions and discourses of the philosophers of every sect. vol. or Lucas Alamán. See Georg Horn. Appleton & Company. 1780–1781). 38. pp. (NY: D. introducción general e introducciones con el estudio de su doctrina teológico-jurídica. 2 vols. Argentinians José Guido and Alfredo Bellemare translated into Spanish Victor Cousin’s Course. first bishop of Mexico.. 34. 1. (Salamanca: Excudebat Andreas à Portonariis.” Translator’s Preface.. in 1834. p. June. 30–40. Santiago de Chile. Spiegel. Thomas F. Historia de Méjico desde los primeros movimientos que prepararon su independencia en el año de 1808. such as Domingo de Soto. 1958–1959). Lives. and the Universidad de Córdoba. Argentina. by Right Rev. Johann Jakob Brucker.p. Cronología Filosófica del Uruguay (n. a mundi incunabulis ad nostram usque aetatem deducta. The Past as Text: The Theory and Practice of Medieval Historiography (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. Francisco Suarez. 1554). (London: A. and In Dialecticam Aristotelis Commentarij. Francisco Clavigero. and Thomas Stanley. who was condemned “to silence during the reign of Jesuit ascendancy. and Antonio Rubio’s Logica Mexicana. Wight. (Salmaca: Ioannes de Giunta Excudebat. F. 1997). nd. Obras del eximio doctor Francisco Suarez. M. Obras de Francisco de Vitoria: relecciones teologicas. circa 1993). Mercado. in Peru. 4th ed. sectis et vita philosophorum ab orbe condito ad nostram aetatem agitur (Lvgdvni Batavorvm: Apud Johannem Elsevirivm. edited with a prologue by Mariano Cuevas. (Bern: Christoph Breitkopf. 1742–1744). they were quickly replaced by the texts of Veracruz. The history of philosophy (London: Humphrey Moseley and Thomas Dring. trans. Editorial Católica. vertidas al castellano … por padres de la Compañia de Jesús. 5 vols. 26. and Theophrastus’s doxographic studies that barely classified a few philosophers under schools and did little to adumbrate their philosophies. Meehan (New York: The United States Catholic Historical Society. 1743). pp. El goce de la razón: El Perú del XVII. Mexico. .. 1960). successione. Biblioteca de autores cristianos.98 Breaking with the Past 31. versión española. 1655).. The idea of history of philosophy as a discipline dates from the sixteenth century when. 83–98. Lara. and the Real y Pontificia Universidad de México were founded in 1551. Historiae philosophicae libri septem. M. Summulae— Summularum. Bacon calls for a historical approach to philosophy. For a brief account of the founding of San Marcos. in Victor Cousin. See also. 35. O. by Rev. 2d ed. 33. 39. Francisco de Vitoria. 1846.” El Araucano. According to Homero Altesor. Juan de Zumárraga.

opinó y petendió haver domostrado en su Exposición Astronómica de Cometa del año de 1681 (México: Viuda de Bernardo Calderón. Antonio Rubio. p. P. 48. Eusebio Francisco Kino. por los meses de Noviembre y Diciembre. Libra. Carlos Sigüenza y Góngora. pp. 18.: Centro de Estudios Filosóficos. por los meses de Enero y Febrero se ha visto en todo el mundo y le ha observado en la ciudad de Cádiz el P. 1681). el R. 46. y este año de 1681. Exposición astronómica de el cometa del año 1680. pp.). ¶ 12. 2d ed. metales. 232–37. 1992). Acosta’s purpose is to “declarar las causas y razón de tales novedades y estrañezas de naturaleza. Beuchot. 47. Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora. translated by Joan MacLean (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1495–1583) Historia Verdadera de la Conquista de la Nueva España (1568). 1690). 49. 9. 51.” in Marquínez Argote. in terms of the four Aristotelian causes by the Peruvian astronomer. International Archive of the History of Ideas 51 (The Hague. The century after Cortés. (unpublished ms. For a discussion on the lack of publication of works in philosophy. 53. Eusebio Francisco Kino. Eusebio Kino de la Compañía de Jesús (México: Francisco Rodríguez Luperzio. 242. pp. see Walter Redmond’s excellent Bibliography of the Philosophy in the Iberian Colonies of America. 1904). 1972).F. Bernal Díaz del Castillo (ca. Historia Natural y Moral de las Indias (Madrid: Ediciones de Cultura Hispánica. leyes y gobierno de los Indios.” p. María Luisa Rivera de Tuesta. 52. Rivera de Tuesta. p. 153–78. Major Trends in Mexican Philosophy (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press.” in Mario de la Cueva et al.” in José de Acosta. Helpful is Antonio Quilis. elementos. “Philosophy in Mexico in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. published on January 13. For an annotated bibliography. with a foreword by José Gaos (México.” in Filosofía Iberoamericana en la época del Encuentro. 43. y ceremonias. 44. An earlier comet had appeared in. Manifiesto cristiano en favor de los cometas mantenidos en su natural significación (ca. Libra Astronómica y filosófica en que D. reedited by Bernabé Navarro as Libra astronómica y filosófica. ¶ 15. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. D. to whom Sigüenza y Góngora answered with the Belerofonte matemático contra la quimera astrológica (now lost). . Reproduced in ¶ 10–27 of Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora. (México: Fondo de Cultura Económica. Elsa Cecilia Frost. plantas y animales dellas y los ritos. see José Gallegos Rocafull. 1959). pp. Martí 41. 1 (Madrid: Editorial Trotta. See Libra ¶ 317–80. Martín de la Torre. 331–54. Sigüenza y Góngora. 45. Manisfiesto filosófico contra los cometas despojandolos de imperio que tenian sobre los tímidos. Historia natural y moral de las Indias: en que se tratan de las cosas notables del cielo. in a treatise on comets (1665). 125–28. Sigüenza y Góngora. Edicion de Genaro García. Fernando Benítez. “La filosofía en el Perú colonial. pp. “Estudio Preliminar. 1680). Lafilosofía en la América colonial. 50. and was explained. History of Philosophy in Colonial Mexico. 1998). 2 vols. Martinus Nijhoff. sino lo que el mismo R. “La filosofía en el Perú colonial.Oscar R.” translated by Walter 99 Redmond 42. 1962). “Author’s Preface. Enciclopedia Iberoamericana de Filosofía. Francisco Ruiz Lozano (1603–1677). Cosmógrafo y Matemático Regio en la Academia Mexicana eexamina no solo lo que a su Manifiesto Philosophico. (Mexico. 1966).” José de Acosta. 1965). de la Compañía de Jesús. “La visión providencialista de la historia. 54. 92–93. 1681. Libra.

la doctrina de los Copernicanos. 40–41. y no lo fue en su Paternidad llevarla contra los tres Santos Padres de la Iglesia? Mi entendimiento tal cual ¿no es tan libre como el suyo. 4: 447–51.” p. 4: 673–94 65. ¶ 371. p. Sor Juana o las trampas de la fé. in ¶ 230. respectively. p. 61. Libra. 57. whose comments Sigüenza y Góngora considered not worth answering. con su santísima autoridad. 69. 67. MA: Harvard University Press. Libra. 3d ed. Rafael Moreno.” Obras 4: 468–69. 1955). (México: Fondo de Cultura Económica. See also. had failed to occur. was José de Escobar Salmerón y Castro. “Modern Philosophy in New Spain. (¶ 28. ¶ 252. “Si el crimen está en la Carta Atenagórica ¿fue aquélla más que referir sencillamente mi sentir con todas las venias que debo a nuestra Santa Madre Iglesia? Pues si ella. Libra.” Sigüenza y Góngora. 90. Obras. edited.F. with a foreword by Octavio Paz (Cambridge. D. 113–52 and 178–93). Libra. Salceda. 56. 22–23). 146. sin examinar los fundamentos? Claro está que nada de esto sería querer afirmar una cosa sin valerse de más razón.: Fondo de Cultura Económica. Octavio Paz. “Respuesta a Sor Filotea de la Cruz.” Sigüenza y Góngora. See Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora. 148. p. 59. Sigüenza y Góngora. p. Antonio Vieira. ¶ 231–316 and 381–95 (pp. translated by Alan S. For instance. Major Trends in Mexican Philosophy. 112. This seems to be a recurrent theme among Latin American intellectuals of the period—a conflict that many believed solvable with a thorough biographical enumeration of local worthies and a description of their merits. 66.” in Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz.” reprinted in Sor Juana. p. pues viene de un solar?” Sor Juana. 68.100 Breaking with the Past Also mentioned in Libra. “Carta de Sor Filotea de la Cruz. Obras. Sor Juana. Discurso Cometológico y Relación del Nuevo Cometa. “Propongo lo tercero hipoteticamente. Obras completas. 19–20). For an English translation. “Modern Philosophy. 64. ¶ 179. 4: 458–61. sino de que así lo dijeron. 1983). 58. (México. 1988). Sigüenza y Góngora. “¿Sería prudencia (imprudencia grande sería) afirmar en este tiempo que los cielos son incorruptibles y macizos.” reprinted in Sor Juana. Obras históricas. Libra. pp. but eventually printed in 1690 at the insistence of Sebstián de Guzmán. 174. 70. 137. Colección de Escritores Mexicanos 2 (México: Porrúa. p. 91. “Respuesta a Sor Filotea. “Sermón del Padre Antonio Vieira en la Capilla Real. pp. Sigüenza y Góngora. “Respuesta. with an introduction and notes by Alberto G. and ¶ 181. 55. Trueblood. Guzmán notes. Sigüenza y Góngora.” Obras. 60. ¶ 76. 4: 694–97. See Navarro.” in de la Cueva et al. 4 vols. 62. pp. Exposición. ¶ 307. Libra. The Libra was circulated privately. 1944). no me lo prohíbe ¿por qué me lo han de prohibir otros? ¿Llevar una opinión contraria de Vieyra fue en mí atrevimiento. see A Sor Juana Anthology. 63. . porque los más de los autores antiguos así lo afirman? … ¿sería crédito de entendimiento seguir ajenas doctrinas. that the astrological prophecies Father Kino read in the comet (Kino. Sor Juana.

“¿Qué cosa buena puede venir de las Indias. quoted in Eguiara y Eguerén. Prima Pars Celebriorum Controversiarum In Primum Sentetiarum Iohannis Scoti (Las más celebradas controversias).Oscar R. paragraph 7. de la orden de nuestro serafico p. sive. “Uno se atreve a señalar a México (si place al cielo) como el sitio de mayor barbarie del mundo entero. por el contrario. 1696). armadas enteras de ellos. Also cited in Eli de Gotari. 77. p. La ciencia en la historia de México. Libra. 84. aunque penetró tiempos de siglo mejor?” Pinelo. 78.” Pedro de Ortega Sotomayor. 16. 73. Así que todos somos hombres de la misma naturaleza y condición.: Porrúa. “¿Por qué no me doleré que tan piadoso escritor tanto olvide nuestro Gimnasio Peruano. D. plata. cited in Marquínez Argote. La filosofía en la América colonial. Más ¿quién se atrevería a afirmar que de ellas provienen ingenios y doctores? Ya es mucho que gentes criadas en tierras tales sean admitidas a la especie o esencia del hombre. Lima. the Franciscan Buenaventura Salina y Cordoba’s Memorial de las historias del Nvevo Mvndo Perv. 75. margaritas. rey poderoso de España. Hispanorum. Sigüenza y Góngora. Diccionario histórico-cronológico de la Real y Pontificia Universidad de San Marcos (Lima: Imprenta Tomás Aguirre. 1980). Para inclinar a la magestad de su catolico monarca d. pp. Sirva como ejemplo nuestro Briceño a quien la naturaleza no le negó elegancia de ingenio ni de genio. todos lo conceden. p. Reacting to Kino’s reluctance to share observations about the comet. letter 16. 72. Así que. Francisco (Lima: Geronimo de Contreras. Manuel Martí. sed scire cupientem. . vol. 1951). y estendidos reynos. y de las Indias. 1968). 1630). Quò te vertes apud Indos in tam vasta litterarum solitudine? Quem adibis. Sigüenza y Góngora wrote that it could be “porque no estaban hechas en Alemania. Felipe IV. cuando busca Academias en el Nuevo Orbe. Francisco Solano. Both. 179–93.” Manuel Martí to Antonio Carrillo. 76. cabeca de sus ricos. notitia … 2 vols. qui usquam unquámve scripta aliquid consignaverunt. quam qui tondet asinum vel mulget hircum. Briceño mío. . o porque los . Historia de las doctrinas filosóficas en Latinoamérica (México. a qve pida a sv santidad la canonizacion de su patron el venerable p. Dicam enucleatius: A litteris non abhorentem? Ecquosnam evolves Codices? Equas lustrabis Bibliotecas? Haec enim omnia tan frustra quaeres. licito es y posible subir al cielo desde cualquier ángulo de la tierra. 74. character and content of many apologies support this hypothesis: For instance. f. ¶ 381–95. Prologue to Alfonso Briceño. corrected edition (México: Grijalbo. Martí 101 71. Semblanza de la Universidad de San Marcos. and Edmundo Escobar. p. 146. El Goce de la Razón. Justus Lipsius. cited in Falla Barreda. cited in Luis Antonio Eguiguren. Prologue to Marquínez Argote y Beuchot. Bibliotheca. (Rome: A. Me felicito. Meritos. en él todo lo que puede conferir al hombre gloria verdadera. non dicam Magistrum. p. toda esa clase de tesoros. y el estado presente en que se hallan. S. 245. sed auditorem? non dicam aliquid scientem. cujus praeaptis instituaris. para dejarlo por bárbaro. cuando se hallan en el ‘ocaso’ del sol y su luz es la última que da? Que de las Indias salga oro. 79. 2: 356–79. Prologue I. “Sedeamus igitur ad calculos. Opide et academiae eius descriptio (1605). sin pretender que solo vosotros los españoles seáis hombres.” Quoted in Francisco Larroyo. aunque de otro orbe. p. como un país envuelto en las más espesas tinieblas de la ignorancia y con asiento y residencia del pueblo más salvaje que nunca existió o podría existir en el futuro. editor of Nicolás Antonio’s Bibliotheca hispana vetus. y excelencias de la civdad de los reyes. 90. Reunió. 7 of Epístolas Latinas (1735). pues. . de que hayamos sido los peruanos los primeros en ser admitiditos a tal especie.F. de Rubeis.

Centro de Estudios sobre la Cultura Nicoalita. Ingenieros. p.: Editorial Porrúa. patriarcha señor s. (México. Juan Benito Díaz de Gamarra y Dávalos. 119. 13. Biblioteca Mexicana. apuntes tomados por alumnos en los siguentes cursos dictados en Latín: I de “Lógica” por el Profesor L J.d. vol. 1993). y la consagran al ss. 15–17. 83. with an introduction by Mariano Cuevas. S. p. and left. Prologue II. 81. Bibliotheca Instituti Historici Societatis Iesu.. comprising the letters A. 8ff. Lara. “Historiam porro Mexicani coluerunt & Poesim Rethoricam item & Oratoriam. Juan Chiabra. 86. See also Diego José Abad. n. pp. que estaba escribiendo el p. Historia antigua de México. Historia de la provincia de la Compañia de Jesús de Nueva España. Francisco Saverio Clavigero. For instance. Francisco Javier Alegre (1719–1788). & id alia. Las direcciones filosóficas. 84. Edited by Ernest J. 1956–1960). For a more recent version see Francisco Javier Alegre. 1790. José Antonio Alzate. I: 110.A. ¶ 244. (Buenos Aires: Imprenta Loni Hermanos. Whittaker. “Eulogy of Modern Philosophy and Refutation of Some Conclusions and Acts of Peripatetic Physics” La Gaceta de México. D. Joseph los seis ilustres caballeros. quarum extant monumenta clarissima. Chorroarín en el Real Colegio de San Carlos de Buenos Aires (Año 1783). This project remained incomplete. (Biblioteca de los Padres Jesuítas de México. Historia de la Ciudad de Córdoba en México and Diego José Abad. 9. 80. patronos de la solemnidad. Astronomiam. Libra. Critics like Ingenieros have judged these as very mediocre works.J. III de “Filosofía Moral” (Anónimo). 85. with an introduction by Dr. 1942). Michoacán: Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo. y adornos del Templo de la Compañía de Jesús de Zacatecas con una succinta relación de las fiestas con que se solemnizó su dedicación: sacanla a luz. 87. item #513. and the Geografía hidráulica o de los famosos rios de la tierra. “Francisco Javier Alegre. (Rome: Institutum Historicum S. Case and point is Diderot’s Encyclopedia. 1911). Historian of the Jesuits in New Spain (1729–1788). Historia de la Compañía de Jesús en Nueva España. Burrus and Felix Zubillaga. Academias filósoficas. publícala para probar la utilidad que prestará a la América mexicana la solicitada reposición de dicha Compañía. 4 vols. See Arthur P. Errores del entendimiento humano.” Eguiara y Egurén.. vulgo summulis (Mexico: 1754). 82. & testes omni demum exeptione majores. B. 4 vols. I: 110. y lucimientos de la dedicación (México: Por la viuda de Joseph Bernardo de Hogal. and C. cited in Valverde y Téllez. Memorial ajustado (1778) (Morelia. and Eguiara y Eguren published only the first volume. La Enseñanza de la filosofía en la época colonial. Bibliografía filosófica. aunque metidos entre los carrizales y espaldañas de la mexicana laguna.). 1750). in manuscript. Tractatus vnicus de logicis institutionibus. M. II de “Física” por el Profesor Fray Elías del Carmen en la Real Academia de Córdoba (Año 1784). Anteloquiio IV adducendi. Bibliografía filosófica. edited by Carlos María de Bustamante (México: Imprenta de J. many biographies down to J. Whitaker. . perhaps because of its enormity. 3 vols. September 7.” Archivum Historicum Societas Iesu 22 (1953): 439–509. Arithmeticam. 89. Cited in Valverde y Téllez. For instance.” Sigüenza y Góngora. Latin America and the Enlightenment (New York: Appleton-Century. Breve descripción de la fábrica. See also Ernest Burrus. 1958–1959).F. Pero del contexto de este mi escrito podrá prácticamente reconocer haber también matemáticos fuera de Alemania. Agustín Pablo Castro (1728–1780). editor. 1841–1842). 88.102 Breaking with the Past observadores no habían estudiado matemáticas en la Universidad de Ingolstadio. item #506. Francisco Javier Alegre al tiempo de su expulsión. Diego Jose Abad (1727–1779) Cursus Philosophicus.

3 vols. José Victorino Lastarria.: Centro de Estudios Filosóficos.” Diccionario Universal. ni nuestros recuerdos tristes o gloriosos.Oscar R. Edición Crítica. 1988). que intente reunirlo en una sola compilación.. ni nuestras esperanzas de progreso.F. M.. pp. 19.” in E. with an introduction and notes. Comte. For an account of their intellectual development. 1766–1834. edited by Alberto Palcos (La Plata. Martí. 91. Utopian Dreams (San Diego. see Auguste Comte. IX 11. Logicen. 1907).: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. 1774). pero sus tradiciones nos abruman. 1940). Comte presents us with a programmatic reconstruction of science. 95. Cours..F. Vidas de mexicanos ilustres del siglo XVIII. Juan Luis Maneiro. Dogma socialista. se ha tenido en la Europa. translated and edited with a prologue and notes by Bernabé Navarro. Juaregui. “El gran pensamiento de la revolución no se ha realizado. Mariano Beristain” (México: Imprenta de J.: Ediciones de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma. Ethicen atque Geometriam Complectens (Mexico: Apud Lic. Joseph A. y especialmente de su cultura literaria. The Diccionario Universal chastises Beristain as partial to the Spanish monarchy. 1851). while in the Système he details a society and a cult resultant from an application of the positive sciences. and the Discours sur l’esprit positif. Oscar R. 97. (Paris: Schleicher Frères. Zea. . 1842). pp. p. Volumen Primum. Vida de Algunos Mexicanos Ilustres. Elementa Recentoris Philosophiae. Also. “The Positivist Utopias. “Breve Noticia de la Biblioteca Hispanoamericana Septentrional. 1986). S. I: iii. (Paris: Librarie Scientifique Industrielle de L. Lara. 1983). 5th ed. 101. D. and that many of the articles in the Bibliotheca “se resienten del espíritu de partido. the Système de politique positive. D. Bases y puntos de partida. 1956. Bibliotheca. In the Cours. J.F. For a defense of Beristain. y Apología de su autor el señor doctor D.. una obra que siquiera ensaye pintar todo esto. Latin American Mind. Instituto de Investigaciones Filológicas (México. Las Revoluciones en el Mundo Ibérico. 2d ed. 1: ii. 99. 93. 6 vols.” Beristain de Souza.” Estevan Echeverra. 1963). merece incuestionablemente la aprobación y el apoyo de cuantos han nacido en este suelo. 1: 56. Alberdi. see the biographical studies in Juan Luis Maneiro (1741–1802) and Manuel Fabri. For some of the effects. Sullivan. 94. 1963). 92. Investigaciones sobre la influencia social de la conquista i del sistema colonial de los Españoles en Chile (1844). Metaphysicen. 4 vols.” Diccionario Universal. 1: 19. Los brazos de la España no nos oprimen. 102. by Bernabé Navarro as Elementos de filosofía moderna (México. “Cuando por todas partes del mundo se nos desconoce y se nos calumnia. Translated. California: Campanile Press. Mexicans De Vitis Aliquot Mexicanorum Aliorumqie qui sive Virtute. eds. pero no libres. que se proponga juntar las piedras dispersas de ese edificio por formar. and Perez. Cours de philosophie positive. with an introduction and notes by Paul Arbousse-Bastide (Paris: Union Générale d’Editions. For Comte’s main ideas. see Maniquis. sive Litteris Mexici imprimis Floruent (1791). 100. cuando nosotros mismos no sabemos ni nuestros elementos de riqueza. Juan Benito Díaz de Gamarra y Dávalos. D. Mathias. Historiam Philosophiae. “La general ignorancia que de las cosas de la América. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. 96. D. cited in Crawford. D. Somos independientes. 37–38. Martí. Biblioteca del Estudiante Universitario (México. ni los nombres que debemos respetar ó despreciar. Martí 103 90. Cuadernos del Centro de Estudios Clásicos 24. 98. 98–101. see Francisco Javier de la Peña.

circa 1888).F. Barreda. 1967).” Barreda. 1885) and Agustín de la Rosa.104 Breaking with the Past 103. sobre los comentarios que hicieron a algunos de los libros de filósofos griegos y latinos. 109. “Oración cívica. n. D. Spencer.” Cuadernos Americanos México. 112. 105.p. Attempting to answer this claim. “La emancipación mental. 117. pp. Dos ideas. p. La filosofía. Augusto Comte and Other Essays (Glendessary Press: Berkeley. Social Statics (1850) (Foundation Robert Schalkenbach: New York.. las operaciones sobrenaturales.: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Martí. pp. Dos ideas. 115. decadencia y substitución que. (London: Watts & Co. First Principles. Gabino Barreda. Leopoldo Zea. 116. Agustín Rivera y Agustín de la Rosa ante la filosofía novohispana (Guadalajara: Sociedad Jaliscense de Filosofía. 110. “Oración cívica. “se enseñaba la causa primera. marchando sin cesar y de continuo. Hernandez Luna. Leopoldo Zea. and Reasons for Dissenting from the Philosophy of M. 1994). in a pamphlet. 84. See Richard Hofstadter. 2. 1968). California. 1954). 123. el Sacramento de la Eucarística.d. 107. “Oración cívica. Herbert Spencer. 106. caracterizada por la gradual decadencia de las doctrinas antiguas. p.. Social Darwinism in American Thought. The classic study of this dispute is Juan Hernández Luna. 82. “Sarmiento y el positivismo.. Luis Pereira Barreto. p. de la Rosa explained. A more recent but derivative work is Aura Zafra Oropeza. La filosofía en la Nueva España. sobre los libros de filosofía que escribieron. y su progresiva substitución por las modernas. 1959). discusiones y discursos: Coleccionados y publicados por la Asociación Metodófila Gabino Barreda (México: Dublán y Chávez. Dicho programa acusa además ignorancia de la lógica. sobre las cátedras de filosofía .” Aztlán 14 (No. 11. 6th ed. 1937).” Opúsculos.F. 1877). 123. i si tales cosas enseñaban ¿qué enseñaban en la retaguardia?” Rivera. El positivismo en México. menos Física. 1983): 221–33. 22. 1989): 142–54. in Obras filosóficas (São Paulo. See Agustín Rivera. las virtudes de las causas segundas. 114. that there was no philosophy of any stature during the Colonial period because scholastic philosophy had not been given an opportunity to develop. 104. 1967). de la metafísica moderna … Consta para la historia que los Jesuitas iban a la vanguardia de la enseñanza en los colegios de la Nueva España. author italics. 113. o sea Disertación sobre el atraso de la Nueva España en las ciencias filosóficas (Lagos: López Arce. “Representan lo que podríamos llamar la etapa inicial de la Historia de la filosofía en México … El rico caudal de información que nos ofrecen en sus trabajos sobre nuestros filósofos. p. La instrucción en México (Guadalajara n. Hernández Luna. 111. As Tres Filosofias. “El sentido de la historia en Gabino Barreda. 3 (No. 108.” Opúsculos. p. 115. la eternidad i se enseñaba todo. D. 81–105.” in Opúsculos. p. Editorial Grijalbo. Dos ideas sobre la filosofía en la Nueva España (México. acaban por producir una completa transformación ántes que hayan podido siquiera notarse sus avances. 13. First Principles. Oscar R. 358. revised edition (New York: Braziller.

and finally. pp. with an introductory study by Heron Pérez Martínez (Michoacan: El Colegio de Michoacan. Antonio de Peralta. Ignacio Ramírez. pointing to their virtues and shortcomings. 126. so is Marxism. pp. Felipe Barreda y Laos. Emeterio Valverde y Téllez. to the classless society of the communist state. and much that would not be considered philosophical material. 2 vols. Book III–V. 124. Herrera. history is a material movement.” “Creemos que los malos libros engañan o pervierten. Valverde y Téllez. son ya el comienzo indispensable para intentar después la elaboración de una verdadera historia del pensamiento filosófico en nuestro país. 1989). 1896). a pesar de no ser una historia de la filosofía en México en sentido estricto.” Hernández Luna. aún de los peligrosos y de los malos que no pueden andar en manos de todos. Beyond the temporal scope of this essay is an examination of the growth of histories of philosophy in the twentieth century. no se entiende que aprobemos lo reprobado o reprobable. Benito Díaz de Gamarra. reflected in both the modes of production and the “superstructures” or ideologies. apostólica y romana. Javier Lezcano. The Apuntaciones discusses the materials available in Valverde’s library. xxiv–xxv. Reprinted as Vida intelectual del Virreinato del Perú (Lima: Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos. xxxi. Bibliografía. puesto que se trata de una Bibliografía. For Marx. más cuando a esta precede la crítica imparcial de autores. Among the authors he discusses are Veracruz. and breaking with the past is a necessary condition for advancement to the final stage. 121. Andrés de Guevara. para leerlas se requiere legítima autorización. Vida intelectual de la colonia (1909). I: 151–368. at the end of history. lxxvii.” “Resta que sujetemos como sujetamos. 119. For instance. 2–4. 125. historical change is also necessary and irreversible. a nuestro humilde parecer. en cuyo seno queremos vivir y morir. see Beuchot. al dar noticia de las obras. Tomás Mercado. he discusses their philosophical views. y así. y aconsejamos que quien la necesite la pida” Valverde y Téllez. 1964). Bibliografía Filosófica Mexicana (1907. 1913).. 123. For a brief discussion of Valverde y Téllez. libros y sistemas. a la infalible autoridad de la santa Iglesia católica. Antonio Rubio. . pp. Prologue to the 1st edition. toda la obra y todo y cada uno de sus juicios y palabras. Valverde y Téllez. 118. p. newspapers. Martí 105 que profesaron y sobre ciertas novedades filosóficas a que llegaron. Pedro Celi. pp. Agustín Rivera. from the feudal to the capitalist. Unlike Beristain de Sousa’s Bibliotheca. the past represents a backward stage. Bibliografía. facsimilar edition. includes Mexican editions of foreign works.Oscar R. Emeterio Valverde y Téllez. As a philosophy. when Latin American philosophers were beginning to write a history. and even Agustín de la Rosa. Valverde y Tellez. In this account. Though its own demand for a break with the oppressive past found in Latin America a very sympathetic audience. items #727–1765. Bibliografía. Ignacio Altamirano. 122. 120. Marxism benefited from this suspicion of the past. Dos ideas. Apuntaciones históricas sobre la filosofía en México (México: Herrero Hermanos. y cuando la acompaña una explicita clasificación de escuela. haya de laudable. The History of Philosophy in Colonial Mexico. José María Vigil. it arrives on the scene around the 1920s and 30s. “El objeto y fin de esta obra exigen que demos cuenta de toda clase de libros de Filosofía. 22–23. directa o indirectamente condenadas por la Iglesia y al elogiar lo que en ellas. but that falls within the purview of a book revising what a good Catholic can read.

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PART II Writing the History of Latin American Philosophy in and Despite the Shadows of Its Colonial Legacy .

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109 . and other liberators of the country. even to produce a philosophical “revolution” (in the sense that Kuhn speaks of scientific revolutions3). as some. or of not knowing which direction to take. and its symbols.2 believe—in order to be able to progress within it and surpass it. have played a crucial role in the formation of a national identity. Morelos. and we depend on it—without being bound to it. in order to be able to make a contribution to philosophy. Gadamer for example. one must be aware of previous thinking or run the risk of repeating it. its cultural diversity. knowledge of philosophy’s history in the region is fundamental. or historical figures such as Hidalgo. but beyond this it is concerned with problems that are specific to Mexico. The history of ideas in Mexico is bound to the history of the country. This is even truer of philosophy than of the exact and natural sciences. The chief reason is that we belong to a tradition. Although some analytic philosophers believe that it is not necessary to engage in a history of philosophy in order to make philosophical contributions. because it is rare that a substantial change occurs in philosophy.1 The study of the thought of previous eras has always been helpful for the advancement of our knowledge of our culture and to the formation of our disciplines. or of failing to build on what already exists. In Mexico. its independence. and with a clear sense of the history of Mexico we obtain clarity regarding concrete Translated by Jo Anne Engelbert. it is clear that in the case of Mexican philosophy. such as its identity. religious symbols such as the Virgin Guadalupe. History may be of greatest assistance for advancing within tradition. Philosophical tradition is so important that we have an inexorable obligation to review it.Chapter 5 The Study of Philosophy’s History in Mexico as a Foundation for Doing Mexican Philosophy Mauricio Beuchot Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México In order to do significant work in Mexican philosophy. if only perfunctorily. Mexican philosophy is most certainly an integral part of universal philosophy. such a history is indeed necessary.

It is precisely here that timeliness may be immediately apparent. These problems are shed in a fuller light as we take a look at where they arose instead of only paying attention to the light of the present. But we sense an increasing need to broaden our understanding of the tradition to which we belong and to explore others as well. and that only the very latest thinking has value. I will attempt to demonstrate this with respect to the philosophy of New Spain—that of colonial Mexico—which is the field I have specialized in. with our attention fixed squarely on the events—especially the sociopolitical events—that require reflection on our part. Admittedly.5 Philosophy is not created in a vacuum but within a context. perhaps one should say that we exist within a number of subtraditions that intersect at many points. Creativity does not operate spontaneously. Tradition as Incentive to Philosophize The study of hermeneutics helps us understand ever more clearly that philosophical endeavor is an eminently situated activity.110 The Study of Philosophy’s History in Mexico problems that have been presented philosophically: problems such as ideological emancipation. We scarcely need mention that philosophical work must always be done in close contact with reality. can reveal a surprising timeliness. This would be no more than a truism—the idea often expressed by medieval thinkers that they were dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants—if it were not for the fact that doctrines have a different life in philosophy than in science. if not utterly pointless. it does not arise out of nothing: we know that philosophers who give the impression of having started at ground zero eventually reveal their sources. We appropriate a tradition. . But the effort is not vain if we consider that there is a group of philosophers (especially in the branch of analytic philosophy) who believe that reviewing the history of philosophy is of only secondary interest.4 Nevertheless. some circles of postmodern philosophers seem excessively preoccupied with authors as opposed to problems. multiculturalism. In philosophy it is well known that doctrines remote in time. or at least we study the principal philosophers of our times. furthermore. At this particular moment. and so on. like those of the Greeks and medieval thinkers. there are problems (like that of universals or the existence of God) that have never been exhausted. I sometimes feel I am asserting the obvious. for the philosophy of this era is often dismissed as outmoded. it is difficult to fix the limits of our tradition. national identity. A great deal of bookish information is being consumed. and we establish a dialogue with them in our work. There is a dynamic relationship between tradition and creativity. much relevance and vitality can be found in some of the doctrines of Mexico’s historical legacy.

Mexican. German. This is the result of a kind of inferiority complex on our part. We are engaged in a dialogue with other individuals who have undertaken this reflection.” or to preserve its former character in such a way as to make it into a museum piece. French. not as part of the core curriculum. Recently Mexican philosophy (of the twentieth century) has taken on the problem of Latin American or. or peripheral. But one must avoid the false dilemma MacIntyre finds in many who attempt to either force the philosophy of the past to resemble that of the present in order to render it “relevant. the Spanish philosopher. but we can make the necessary adjustments. even though.6 But there is a basic continuum beyond such fluctuations. who came to Mexico because of the Civil War in Spain. like the tequio. . But very often the reading of our national philosophers facilitates the articulation of Mexican problems and provides tools with which to resolve these problems. People believe it is of little value to consult our regional philosophers since they are not of the same caliber as others. shadows that are remembered in cultural memory. if at all. Yet. there appears to be more interest in foreign philosophy than in our own. not with a mere collection of arid opinions brought together as a kind of erudite ornamentation. often offered. in which individuals gave work for the collectivity. for some deplorable reason. At our universities the very study of Mexican philosophy is viewed as something secondary. This is what Samuel Ramos (1897–1959) undertook in his book. we ought to know the principal thinkers of our national heritage.Mauricio Beuchot 111 It is of crucial importance for us to know the historical context nearest the one in which our philosophical reflection is inscribed. or Mexican-ness (mexicanidad ). as an elective course. nor have the same methods always been considered either fruitful or sterile. For example. that the same themes have not always been considered central. like the great communal spirit that was observed in certain forms of their work. or American philosophers are studied more frequently than our Mexican or Latin American thinkers. the liveliest things in history are the dead. El perfíl del hombre y de la cultura en México (Profile of Man and Culture in Mexico. identity. we refer with the greatest frequency to our most recent history. José Gaos (1900–1969). as MacIntyre says. the present is inhabited by phantoms of the past. in our case. At the same time. It is undeniable. reaching the point of searching for something like the essence of that which is Mexican.7 Certainly there are things that are less adapted to our era. For example. 1938). the wellspring of tradition. That is why these hermeneutical tools can be applied in different eras. the study of the evangelization of the indigenous peoples of the colonial period sheds light on the peculiarities of their religiosity and many other aspects of their cultural life. Those who are most active in the present are those who have already died. Afterward. This is the situation of colonial history with respect to present day Mexican philosophy. or even relevant.

Abelardo Villegas (1934–2001) has examined the conditions for the possibility of Mexican thought from a sociohistorical perspective. greater value is given to indigenous thought (whether understood as philosophical or prephilosophical) than to colonial philosophy. who base their approach to philosophy on concrete issues such as education. Another Mexican philosopher. This sort of historical work has been realized by authors such as Miguel León Portilla. set by thinkers such as Mario Magallón. 1967). such as Luis Villoro (b. more and more of this kind of historical work is done and in deeper and deeper ways. good philosophy). searching for truth and unconcerned with whether their analytic method makes their philosophy authentically Mexican or not. 1925) and Alejandro Rossi (b. have pleaded for the “professionalization of philosophy. I believe this is . 1944). like Guillermo Hurtado. he claimed that instead of being preoccupied with doing Mexican philosophy. who have come to view Latin American philosophy as a kind of emancipatory thought under the form of a philosophy of liberation. Gaos’s disciple. such as Enrique Dussel and Horacio Cerutti. Finally. and as they were Mexicans they would. “La filosofía” (Philosophy) contained in his book. which have been the most frequently studies. 1932). La filosofía americana como filosofía sin más (American Philosophy as Nothing more than Philosophy. The Colonial Past of Mexican Philosophy Even when it is recognized that it is necessary to steep oneself in the history of Mexican philosophy in order to do Mexican philosophy. Frequently. Slowly. who have worked on the colonial period. In a chapter entitled. Walter Redmond. but also of the colonial period and even of the indigenous past. ipso facto. Other thinkers from the analytic wing of philosophy. Filosofía en lengua española (Philosophy in the Spanish Language. and this reflects a growing consciousness of the necessity and importance of this sort of historical study which opens us to a knowledge of our intellectual heritage. the philosophy of the colonial period is usually considered least important. Leopoldo Zea (1912–2004) took up a similar line of reasoning in his work. be doing Mexican philosophy (and. the thinkers of Mexico should shift their attention to doing good philosophy. there are more recent trends. who have called attention to the necessity of studying the historical legacy. and Bolívar Echeverría y Samuel Arriarán. Elsa Cecilia Frost and Carmen Rovira. not only of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.112 The Study of Philosophy’s History in Mexico took quite another turn. Then there are others. who have carried out studies of the Baroque Period. But there are some thinkers. moreover.” incorporating logical and linguistic analysis into their way of doing philosophy. scholar of náhuatl philosophy.

One is the persistence of the philosophical questions of that era. to mention just a few. when many indigenous thinkers were opposed to holding conferences on the colonial era. in a sense. another is the model of cultural mestizaje that developed between indigenous and European thought. not only in science but also in philosophy. After the talks. Francisco Javier Alegre (1729–1788). The very notion of tradition and change leads to the notion of paradigm. is the fact that almost all the philosophers of Mexico have studied the history of colonial Latin America in great depth. For now it is sufficient to recall that they have been taken as paradigms for creating Mexican philosophy. Guerra told him that we were not celebrating anything. Tomás de Mercado (ca. whose actions and writings had an emancipatory thrust that illustrate how a philosophy (albeit not a systematic one) can be structured around the central core of a passion for solving the problems posed by the discovery and conquest of the New World. and he has also written a general history of Mexican philosophical thought. 1522–1575). a militant activist for the indigenous cause accused us of celebrating genocide. Among the philosophers New Spain we find problems. at a round table discussion where I participated in a discussion with Ricardo Guerra and Francisco Piñón. and must be used by each individual in a unique way. This is especially clear in the case of Las Casas. This happened to me at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in the city of Mexico. Alonso de la Veracruz (1504–1584). Of course a model. Samuel Ramos wrote a history of philosophy in Mexico in which he gives a privileged place to the philosophy of the colonial era. alleging that to participate in such events was to celebrate the European genocides. We find models of inestimable value in Bartolomé de las Casas (1484–1566).8 We shall have more to say about these models or icons. This was an embrace. theories. Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora (1645–1700). as we well know. is always an analogue. models or icons that permit us to engage in philosophy and advance within it. and Francisco Javier Clavijero (1732–1787). especially during the Baroque era.9 Leopoldo Zea has written the history of positivism and the postcolonial period. a thinker who united theory and praxis. Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1651–1695). 1470–1565). irreducible to a single meaning.Mauricio Beuchot 113 primarily due to the fact that indigenous scholars have generally portrayed colonial thought as obscurantist and exclusively concerned with legitimizing genocide. Also paradigmatic. With much good judgment.10 . But let us approach the question systematically. I find several lessons in colonial philosophy that are relevant today. Nevertheless. This was seen very clearly in 1992. always polysemic. but rather trying to understand. according to the historicocultural context. Vasco de Quiroga (ca. an encounter that was different from the “encounter” of discovery and conquest. and attitudes still prevalent today. There are philosophical paradigms. and without having paid any attention to the content of the talks.

Abelardo Villegas studied liberalism and recent history12. one runs the risk of interpolating unrelated philosophies. yet many scholars interested in the colonial period make no use of these tools.114 The Study of Philosophy’s History in Mexico Luis Villoro. or importing novelties incompatible with our own philosophy. Horacio Cerutti Guldberg has researched the utopias of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries14. I shall give a brief summary of the great period of the history of Mexican philosophy during the colonial period. It is quite significant that one who works within a given tradition must rely on translation in order to gain access to its prior eras. What is happening now with the colonial era resembles what is occurring in Europe with respect to the medieval era: once scorned or dismissed as of only marginal importance. when texts are in indigenous languages. or inventing absurdities. how can we advance in it or even oppose it if we do not have at least minimum knowledge of it? If one does not know the philosophical past. although at times without the appropriate hermeneutical tools.15 If it is true that we live within a tradition. For example. as the end. . and the date 1821.17 If we take the date of the conquest of Tenochtitlán by Hernán Cortez in 1521 as the beginning of the colonial period. the language used by the majority of the colonial philosophers. The History of the Philosophy of New Spain: A Brief Summary To provide a better context for the theme. and Enrique Dussel has written a complete history of the church in Latin America. a very important period in the formation of our philosophical tradition and one that must be given serious consideration. We translate. Fortunately. the translator recovers the tradition where it is no longer accessible. Joaquín Sánchez Mac-Grégor has studied Bartolomé de las Casas13. for example. reviving the words of the dead in order to maintain the chain of our tradition. For example. it is now being studied with increasing interest. or Latin. the defeat of the Viceroyalty. we have before us three hundred years of historical process. One might almost say that the only way to make a tradition advance is from within.16 Similarly. we are translators as well as interpreters of the past when we interpret thoughts that seem alien and even incomprehensible. the desire to use postmodern thought to explain phenomena in such areas such as the indigenous regions. when during such a period there was not even modern thought. has studied indigenous thought11. there is a broad awareness that this is the case. certain themes of logic and the philosophy of language during the colonial period can be dealt with most appropriately with tools that come from analytic philosophy.

who. Published in Italy and reflecting the philosophy of Raimundo Lull. it was used in Mexico for preaching. Francisco Hernández. Vasco de Quiroga. which is preserved in the library of the former monastery of Santo Domingo in Mexico City. a reader of Thomas More. in which he defended the belief that the Indians were rational beings and should not therefore be reduced to slavery nor deprived of their right to own property. author of a text on economic morality entitled Suma de tratos y contratos. he became one of the first professors of the newly created University of Mexico. bishop of Chiapas. was also an attentive reader of More. there is something of Renaissance humanism in the work of Fray Diego Valadés. we have the Augustinian Fray Alonso de la Vera Cruz. As Oswaldo Robles points out. To battle for the liberation of the indigenous peoples. was not only familiar with More’s theories but with those of Erasmus as a result of his contacts with the latter’s circle of followers at the court of Charles V. more a treaty than a letter. it reveals Father Hortigosa’s careful reading of the works of the great humanist. We could mention several others as well. in 1553. that of Tlaxcala-Puebla. an indication of how successful it was in Spain). royal physician to Philip II.19 Later. . a disciple of Vitoria in Salamanca and a founder of schools and libraries. bishop of Michoacán. bishop of the first Mexican diocese. an authentic mixture of philosophical currents invoked for one just end. and author of the first opinions (short texts) opposing the enslavement of indigenous people (“Segundo parecer sobre la esclavitud”). And finally. between 1554 and 1557 (the work had two other editions in Salamanca.Mauricio Beuchot 115 From the beginning we find distinguished humanists such as Fray Julián Garcés. in addition to his works on the natural sciences. within the Scholastic tradition. I am familiar with a volume of the works of Erasmus that belonged to him. was another reader of More who tried to put his Utopia into practice in some hopsice-settlements he founded. The first provincial of the Jesuits in those lands. full of notes in his hand. that of Juan Pablos. A little known volume. a Franciscan missionary who wrote a Rhetorica Christiana. Fray Bartolomé de las Casas. We should also mention the Dominican Fray Tomás de Mercado. this was “two hundred thirty-five years before William Brattle taught the first academic course in philosophy at Harvard” in what is now the United States. Fray Juan Zumárraga was the first bishop and archbishop of Mexico City. He published his course lectures on the first printing press in Mexico. In 1540 he founded the Colegio de Tiripetío. he used all those doctrines. to that end he wrote his Información de derecho and some ordinances for the settlements he founded. who wrote a long. There is Dr. elegant and persuasive letter to Pope Paul III.18 Also from the sixteenth century. Pedro de Hortigosa. where in 1542 he taught the first course in philosophy in the New World. wrote books on philosophy in the Stoic tradition.

its reaction against modernity. Juan José de Eguiara y Eguren (1696–1763). This explains why even though it remained essentially scholastic. The second stage or the attack on modernity was led by writers like Francisco Cigala (year of birth and death unknown). and Leibniz cited it in his dissertation. Seville. Thus. we find the Jesuits Francisco Javier Clavijero (1732–1787). First. or the Dominicans Antonio de Hinojosa and Francisco Naranjo. even erudite. Francisco Xavier . so successful that it enjoyed more than fifty editions in Europe. De principio individui. the influence of hermetism becomes apparent in the seventeenth.21 That course became so widely known that Descartes used it to prepare for his examinations at the Jesuit College La Flèche. still later.116 The Study of Philosophy’s History in Mexico published in Salamanca. and allegories. as can be seen in the work of the great poet Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. the Baroque ethos impregnated philosophy. whose thinkers scarcely avoided creating a sui generis scholasticism. including Holland. scholasticism’s ignorance of modernity. 1954) to be a classic work in economics. philosophy was now different. England. But the influence of hermetic philosophy. which he had translated from Greek into Latin. replete with emblems. and Italy and considered by Joseph A.23 In the third phase. Scholasticism was known in that era for remarkable professors like the Jesuits Alonso Guerrero and Diego Marín de Alcázar. the modern era of the Enlightenment appears in Mexico with philosophy’s ensuing reaction to the new sciences. with a quickening of the senses and the imagination. symbols. blending with scholasticism.20 He also published in Seville a commentary on the Súmulas of logic by Pedro Hispano and a commentary on the Eisagoge of Porphyry and the Categories and the Posterior Analytics of Aristotle. The process had various stages. the emergence of a modernized or eclectic scholasticism leading to an autonomous or frankly antischolastic modernity. notable for its richness of metaphor.22 After the eighteenth century. later. a learned university professor. famous for her knowledge of philosophy. This was the Baroque era. that of the eclectic or modernized scholasticism. and Poland. author of Logica mexicana (1605) and another very famous course in philosophy. Schumpeter (a great philosopher of politics and economy whose most famous work is History of Economic Analysis. can be detected in the work of Fray Diego Rodríguez and in that of Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora. a Cuban who had settled in Mexico around 1750. Just as humanism influenced the scholastic base of philosophy in New Spain during the sixteenth century. We must also mention the Jesuit father Antonio Rubio. Kircher’s in particular. (Oxford University Press. who also reveal their familiarity with Descartes and certain other early modern thinkers. They wrote very long books that were also very well conceived. was representative of the first phase. serving their authors’ pedagogical ends very effectively. as well as the Augustinians Diego Basalenque and Juan de Rueda. 2 vols.

or one attempted to begin at ground zero. Only in dialogue can one create. Historians of Philosophy versus Systematic Philosophers What does the history of philosophy give us to help us do philosophy. Another Jesuit.24 (1774) which was proposed as a text book at the University of Salamanca. philology understood as the curator of all that was held in tradition. but because they reflected philosophically on their country’s most pressing problems. without taking the past into account. Andrés de Guevara y Basoazábal. We have a tradition of national thought that we must study and acknowledge so that it may help us discern our cultural identity. the events that made up the history of the nation such as. Somehow. who left manuscripts of courses or parts of courses that give evidence of their teachings. These thinkers are Mexican philosophers not only because they did philosophy in Mexico. and so forth. Such is the philosophic legacy of Mexico’s colonial period.Mauricio Beuchot 117 Alegre (1729–1788). although it did not achieve this status. in the group of independent and even antischolastic moderns we can include José Antonio Alzate (1737–1799) and Ignacio Batolache (1739–1790).25 For example. the unjust enslavement of the Indians. modernity lost this appreciation for the importance of recording the history of philosophy. that is. philosophy conceived and developed within Mexico. the denial of their rational capacities. The Renaissance historiographer focused primarily on recovering or regaining . which were published in Italy in 1789. the Oratorian Juan Díaz de Gamarra y Dávalos wrote a modernized course: Elementa recentioris philosophiae. It can also help us to do philosophy. additionally. the identity of a given author was less important than what might be gained from his work. in the Middle Ages. These issues defined the philosophy of the period and began to configure and constitute Mexican philosophy as a philosophy situated in its historical circumstances and one that was competent to deal with those circumstances. the lack of justice for them. considering only one’s contemporaries. and Diego José Abad (1727–1779). Behind this was a certain conception of philology that arose during the Renaissance. whose work more closely resembled that of scientists. In a similar vein. Finally. invent. or cause a tradition to advance. we have such publications as Alegre’s Institutiones theologiae. One tended to side either with the preservation of the past. specifically Mexican philosophy? It gives us dialogue. the economic postration into which the colonizers submerged them. wrote a philosophy course that was published in Spain and used as a text until the beginning of the nineteenth century. how his ideas might be applied or adapted.

The former are viewed as antiquated—museum curators who recover material for us to study but who are believed to be of little help because they limit themselves to becoming erudite. they refused to take it into account—some so that they might depend exclusively on reason. Locke. Many moderns. Thus in recent times we have seen the emergence of a distinction. they have neither time nor energy to state a problem and solve it within the sphere of systematic philosophy. and on the other the philosophers. or something else. and the “real philosophers. like Janus. The systematic philosopher accuses the historian of philosophy of not being a real philosopher but rather mere researcher. the two camps came into conflict: on one side the philologists. certain modern thinkers attempted to begin from absolutely nothing. denying history. research. the latest articles about the subject he is dealing with. like Descartes). One looked exclusively either backward or forward. the historian with authors. and like Hermes or Mercury.” original thinkers who refuse to become erudite in philosophical history and who devote themselves to creating systematic philosophy. those who are making its history in contrast to those who record. In reacting against Renaissance philologists.118 The Study of Philosophy’s History in Mexico thought rather than in using it in order to advance. Hobbes. Within modernity. It is preferable to look in both directions. the systematic philosophers believe that they are the authentic philosophers. The systematic philosopher studies the most recent philosophy. who focus on determining what Plato or Malebranche really said. which has little need for knowledge of its past in order to advance at a dizzying rate. the ones who make philosophy advance. like Bacon. and demonstrating what it was that someone who said something said but who say nothing themselves. they spend their lives studying. and others in order to depend only on experience. The curious (or bad) thing is that this practice has been copied from modern science. discussing. now quite frequent in our philosophy departments. historian. like Descartes and the rationalist camp. in order to construct a system. or reconstruct its history.” incapable of saying anything not already said by someone else. came to deliberately eliminate the history of philosophy. These are the two figures produced by our universities: historians of philosophy and systematic or real philosophers. Both of these protagonists of academic life view one another with envy. disguised as disdain. to take full advantage of everything for the present in the process of hermeneutical interpretation. philologist. The systematic philosopher wrestles with problems. beginning from zero (or pretending to do so. In this academic dispute. learning all there is to know about an author or an era. between mere “historians of philosophy. reacting against this. This is why scientists do not feel . claiming to be the leaders who are indeed causing thought to advance. and they have denigrated and attacked each other. and the other empiricists.

phenomenology. According to some thinkers. But. In the case of Mexico. on the history of our struggles against injustices. which continues to reappear. on the history of our battles for independence and on the philosophers . who even use our history as their point of departure (if not all of it. in recent years we have seen a growing awareness of the fact that philosophy does not advance in the same way as science. the study of the history of philosophy and the systematic statement of problems. Somehow. and structuralism. of repeating things that have already been said. Moreover. This is due to the nature of the problems that philosophers face. achieving it requires a return to the past. the history of Mexican thought. or the problem of freedom. If one is not familiar with the history of ideas. Such attitudes produced the “scientific” philosophies such as positivism. history has tended to predominate over system. such as the problem of change that was presented by the pre-Socratics. Philosophers begin by writing history but go on to elaborate a system that will explain the evolution of that history. to search for identity in the midst of cultural and racial diversity. it has a historicist root. because. in reflecting on the history of the indigenous in our region. perhaps the most important. Of course there are always losses. and even more of a kind of cultural fusion that still has much to teach us especially in this period that shows such strong interest in the problems of multiculturalism. one runs the risk of offering solutions that have already been given. on the contrary. At the very least. hinder their progress. in Mexico. focused always on future achievement. unlike the problems set forth by scientists. curiously. philosophers face problems that are not resolved in a definitive way. philosophy is a search for identity and meaning. But this cannot be the norm for philosophy. a mean that would serve as a model. Mexican philosophy as such clearly has a cultural and historical orientation.Mauricio Beuchot 119 called to engage in historical research. this is one of its objectives. one would have to recognize that Mexican philosophy is an example of philosophizing that has truly taken the past into account. It constructs its system as a reflection on its historical process. Philosophers continue to revise and reformulate the same problems so that we are left with these problems. in Mexican philosophy. at least significant segments of it) in order to state the problem of Mexican philosophy and also to structure and develop it. Perhaps the question of whether history or system should predominate is a question of temperament. for example. Gaos. Fortunately. forgetful of the past. in a linear fashion. No one can find the perfect equilibrium.26 Mexican philosophy has been conceived by thinkers attentive to history. historicity. the Baroque period offers us a useful model of racial fusion. and systematic philosophy. But philosophy is tending more and more to unite both activities. they feel as if such investigation would slow them down. For example.

the Mexican positivists at the beginning of the twentieth century. for example. based on a moderate use of history). in the strictest sense of the word. Many thinkers who seem to have begun to philosophize from ground zero. thinkers may pride themselves on propositions that are inconsistent or fruitless. wanted to make our country into a copy of France. inappropriate for a given cultural context. Obviously. Thanks to the objective work of the historian. of exemplary causes of future movements. the Mexicans. are. This is nowhere truer than in the realm of thought. in contribution (albeit. For example.28 This means that while one must immerse oneself in a tradition. in short. in order for creativity to avoid error. the life of institutions and the social struggles of the past. it will also more effectively promote things that have already been discovered. which has both univocity and equivocity. with equivocity dominant. Thus creativity will avoid repeating what has already been said. on the contrary. In short. we come to a deeper understanding of who and what we. is difference—something that breaks with previous thought—in a word. history gives us lessons. because the study of philosophy in Mexican is at a . often reveal.120 The Study of Philosophy’s History in Mexico who have already thought about these things. what is going to matter. inevitably. studying certain authors thoroughly. creativity. those values have survived to increase the common legacy of humanity. that which is memorable. I believe that creativity in philosophy can be compared to the logicosemantic rule of analogy. little by little (in their diaries or letters. and with such a transformation they were willing to risk wiping away any traces of the indigenous cultures.”27 This is true. poor use can be made of creativity. History is a living collection of examples. The History of Philosophy as Teacher of Philosophy Itself Cicero insists on the idea of history as the teacher of life. What is worthy of being retained in our memory are the values that have governed individual actions. This is of crucial importance here. it must culminate in creation. but it is also certain that creation cannot be accomplished ex nihilo (at least as far as human beings are concerned). that is. from the history of philosophy. like Descartes or Wittgenstein. it must emerge from tradition itself. or indirectly. Other thinkers exercise more influence than we realize or are willing to acknowledge. Philosophizing cannot be reduced to a mere repetition of the thoughts of others. through their lists of sources) the many authors on whom they have depended. It shows us what to avoid and what to nurture. the historian preserves from the past that which should not be forgotten. that is. Ricoeur pursues this idea affirming that “in the first place.

with history.30 Sublationism says that all previous thought has been surpassed. ahistoricism. recourse to history dominates in this view. It happens that philosophy can be nourished on the errors of the past as well as on its sound discoveries. during the Baroque period. and one that progresses while at the same time trying to probe ever more deeply. as frequently happens. The first tends to be linear/horizontal and would dispense with what came before it. we can see that many of our colonial philosophers were the equal of their European counterparts and in some cases even surpassed them. It is perhaps true that his zeal was excessive.29 Of course. one which was neither Spanish nor indigenous but something entirely new. whether it came from the past or the present (so that a pre-Socratic thinker may be better than the philosopher in vogue if he offers a superior argument). It has even been called inferior. specifically to Mexican philosophy. For example. it is clear that the past has much to say to us. one syntagmatic and the other paradigmatic— one that progresses without ever looking back. by advocating this he delayed the process of mestizaje. sublationism. On the other hand. argumentism says that what matters is the argument presented. Mexican philosophy is not just Mexican and it shares in all universal philosophical traditions. but that affirmation is most unjust. This concept of the racial and cultural mestizaje is so important because it was due to this that a new Mexican identity was forged.Mauricio Beuchot 121 disadvantage with respect to the study of philosophy in Europe. temples. to use Walter Redmond’s categories. and argumentism. for creative work in philosophy. with considerable distance between them. is it important to turn to the history of philosophy. When one does not look at philosophy from a sublationist viewpoint. . because it provides us with models— guideposts for philosophical endeavor. The concept of mestizaje has been extremely important in Mexico. It does not receive the same attention. If we look into the past. that he caused a separation between Spaniards and Indians by insisting on separate villages for each. This significance of this became clearer in the seventeenth century. It is more synchronic than diachronic. and even more important. This term refers not only to the racial mixing that went on during and after the colonization but also. and that further. We observe this in artistic products such as distinctive buildings. who merely repeated the truisms of the manuals without tackling really important problems of the world around them. and even more specifically. and this is a living lesson for us today. Why. At this point we need to confront (and surpass) historicism. to a kind of cultural mixing. to colonial philosophy? In a word. there were others who were more limited. the paradigmatic approach is more diachronic than synchronic. then. What stands out is that a strong tradition of philosophic thought has always existed. Las Casas’s thought provides a model for dealing with issues surrounding colonial injustices. It almost seems that there are two distinct hermeneutics.

Models can be discarded when they have been internalized. he was an advocate of mestizaje.31 But there is something else we need to point out. especially their liberty of thought. because it moved many to reflect philosophically on a specific phenomenon. adapting them to the new situations.122 The Study of Philosophy’s History in Mexico and cult objects and also in literary and linguistic customs which reflected a change due to the mixing of the Spanish and indigenous cultures. For example. Take the example of mestizaje. like many minor writers. reveals his opposition to all oppression. in the state of Michoacán an adult education plan has been structured based on the ideals of Don Vasco to educate all people. Although he might be charged with errors. perhaps. no matter what their age. but the history of philosophy in particular) has other kinds of contributions to make. Nowadays when there is so much discussion of commensurability and incommensurability between cultures. One must take Las Casas’s attitudes into consideration. he theorizes about the need to group the indigenous peoples together in villages. he is. The respect he had for the liberty of the indigenous peoples. or the historian of philosophy. The criollo condition also raised questions of a philosophic nature as people reflected on the question of Mexican cultural identity. These are studies of Mexican consciousness that would be of interest to those who are presently attempting to clarify the legacy of the Mexican. In his famous Información en derecho. History (cultural history in general. and he even held as an ideal the fusion of the indigenous peoples with one another as well as with the Spaniards. or arbitrariness. This also determined a mestizo philosophy that synthesized the best of Indian and Spanish philosophy. Vasco de Quiroga’s contribution to Mexican philosophy is found in his emphasis on desire or intentionality in the promotion of the other. the Spaniards immediately oppressed and enslaved the Indians. We could mention many other interesting thinkers. Nevertheless. but because he saw that when Spaniards and Indians lived side by side. and that reverberate in the work of Francisco Xavier Clavigero. It was a “living” example of thought. he teaches us to philosophize from the encounter with the other. even of mestizaje. Las Casas advocated separating the Indians from the Spaniards not because he was opposed to a mixing of the groups. mistakes. . as one can observe in the writings of Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. than ethnic mestizaje). from racial and cultural alterity. such as cultural mestizaje (more significant today. especially during the era of the Baroque. since nowadays we are encountering throughout the world many types of intercultural contacts. but iconoclasm is not valid when it merely destroys for the sake of destroying. but also to the philosopher. Not only is Vasco de Quiroga a classic author who one must read and to whom one must make reference. The study of mestizaje is not only interesting to the historian. a companion with whom can reflect on contemporary Mexican realities.

a dean named Martí wrote a letter (included in Mayáns y Síscar’s edition of his works) in which he advised a young man not to go to America. orientalism—Kircher’s shift of gaze toward Egypt and China. parts normally played only by Europeans? To give the Indians such roles was to deprive Spaniards of their dominion over ethics and while affirming the ethics of the indigenous peoples. It was a struggle against Eurocentrism. making a return to history more relevant than ever.” (primarily Indians. Juan José de Eguiara y Eguren did something similar. books. etc. as a defense. In the eighteenth century. which were also strong. who constituted an important presence in these lands.) had leveled against them. Clavijero inherited it. And they also had exoticism. for example. This eighteenth-century Jesuit historian and philosopher is another writer who strove to preserve the indigenous heritage. or any other element that would enable him to progress.32 As a matter of fact. Raynal. These examples were what made it feasible to use indigenous peoples in such roles. a native personage who was an icon of the virtue in question. And this is nothing new. but also mestizos and criollos) against the attacks and charges that the enlightened European “anthropologists” (Buffon. Did anyone believe that the natives did not possess these virtues? This was unthinkable. Spain. quite similar to the one being waged right now by several philosophers concerned with Latin America. Each virtue was exemplified by an Indian king. Since the Spanish part of him was predominant.Mauricio Beuchot 123 Mestizaje as a philosophical concern was of special interest to the criollos or residents born on American soil. professors. We think immediately of Carlos Sigüenza y Góngora and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. The work was a profession of Mexicanism or Americanism. as he usually did. This focus was also quite apparent in many works of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. Dussel. specifically Mexico. in the next century. He counseled him to try to go somewhere else. In Alicante. He even wrote a history. to oppose to it his Indian roots. The criollo was reaffirming his indigenous roots in order to avoid being devoured by the extremely strong presence within him of the Spanish legacy. Sigüenza y Góngora created a museum of Indian “antiques” that he willed to the Jesuits. Eguiara. Baroque writers went directly to the exuberant Greek mythology. he sought. Rome. in answer . because he would not be able to study there. Sigüenza takes up the topic in his Teatro de virtudes políticas. What better way to do it than through the virtues that the Indians personified in this work. De Pauw. he used indigenous models. This was mestizaje in a situation of ferment. entitled Historia antigua de México in which he reconstructed the indigenous culture. where instead of using models from Greco-Latin mythology or history. In Mexico he would not find academies. interspersing throughout the work essays or speeches in which he defends the “Americans. for example. To recover the Indian heritage was paramount.

1603). which he could publish only in part. Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora. can provide many lessons for our present era of cultural pluralism. among them. And this is precisely what is being done today: bibliographies are being prepared and bibliographical studies are being made as a basis for writing the history of philosophy in Mexico and for constructing from it a Mexican philosophy whose lessons may be codified. and very much concerned with the integration of the Indian (above all in the Jesuit utopias). perhaps more so than the European Baroque. the philosophers and their works. Don Vasco de Quiroga was already providing examples of a mestizo political regime (his famous “mixed police”). Our Mexican Baroque movement was extraordinarily communitarian. What Eguiara did was not merely the work of a librarian or bibliographer. the possibility exists of giving a country’s ethnic groups and cultures their place (along with freedoms and responsibilities). wrote the huge Biblioteca Mexicana. giving us a history of thought at the height of the eighteenth century. and in others. One could cite as an example the syncretism of the Jesuits. the concept of mestizaje in the work of authors like Juan de Zapata y Sandoval. thus linking indigenous communitarianism with emerging European liberalism. He was a famous bishop of Chiapas.33 Thus the lesson to be learned from the Baroque about mestizaje is that if one has a communitarian. attitude. but also in philosophy. the community. especially in art. Zapata y Sandoval went beyond liberalism and communitarianism: instead of establishing the preeminence of either the individual or the community.124 The Study of Philosophy’s History in Mexico to this challenge. These projects serve as a path to uncover and engage with our own intellectual traditions. a worthy successor to Bartolomé de las Casas. and the theme recurs in authors like Juan de Zapata y Sandoval. about which Octavio Paz has so much to say in his book on Sor Juana. he held that in some things the individual was predominant. He wrote excellent biographical sketches and voluminous studies of the works of the principal thinkers. In it he gave an account of the most prestigious authors and texts. in his work De iustitia distributiva (Valladolid. rather than individualistic.34 The History of Philosophy as a Path toward the Continuing Clarification of Concepts The history of philosophy is useful in clarifying concepts. The work is a convincing example of the excellence of the Mexican culture against which the Dean of Alicante had launched his attack. and even Sor Juan Inés de la Cruz. the mixture of races and cultures was a basic element of it. It is very helpful to be able to follow the diachronic line of an idea as the Germans do in what . Prominent in the Baroque.

One should neither praise nor deplore it. we become aware that ideas or terms occur in a first context. then in a variety of contexts as history moves on. unfortunately. This is what is meant by reviewing a tradition. understood. These problems were studied by medieval scholars and by colonial philosophers. or reconciling the law with epiqueya. Conclusion It is not appropriate to insist on what appears to be obvious. at least . When we follow the course of ideas. The problem is. And this history must be studied carefully.Mauricio Beuchot 125 they call “the history of ideas. such as working for the common good as opposed to individualism. but rather to revive or recuperate some of its elements that are valuable and at the present time have been lost. beauty can be best be perceived within the whole. specifically.35 Interpretation seeks to establish the author’s intentionality. interests. can be seen better as part of the whole. Things once considered part of the past. for the better we understand history.” those encyclopedic histories that earnestly follow the vicissitudes of the meaning of a term. it is frequently that of a minor philosopher. and other dark forces that affect thought. and evaluated. from the broadest possible perspective. or departing from pure strategic or instrumental reason in favor of linear or ethical reason. It must be assumed—not in order return to it. or thinking of the idea of justice as proportional equality. although captured or received in the intentionality of the reader. An idea takes on different tones. Even power. although we can never do this completely. it is necessary to follow the course of history. are now recognized as having unsuspected relevance for us to day. Tradition should not be a matter of either pride or shame. that the matter is not as obvious as it should be.36 or fostering prudence as a necessary epistemological act. who—significantly—was not the representative of the people at the moment. or perhaps one should say. to give just a few examples. and that must be detected. but not to the point that it overflows its channel or fails to respect certain limits. with both of those constituting the intentionality of the text. Inevitably. goodness. a member of the Chorus. And the course of thought takes an unexpected turn. because nostalgia is not appropriate here. Tradition is best apprehended through analogy. Truth. or premodern. Philosophical work includes a great deal of interpretation of texts. the closer we can come to grasping a thought in its totality. there will be important progenitors in one form or another. To be attentive to history means to try to understand things as a whole. the history of philosophy. Often the principal voice is not that of the well known protagonists. In order to accomplish this.

such as notions . logic. This will lead to the recuperation of certain doctrines that have disappeared and the rejection of others that have subsisted. The myth of linear and direct progress is responsible for diminishing the importance of history. But. in the branches of philosophy that use the methods of science. they can be of use to us by teaching us to avoid their errors. The same is true for every people (as it is true for individuals). for example. if in their philosophical thought they strove generously. then. one can see and appreciate the relevance of theoretical content to the particular historical periods in which it applied. we encounter the thinkers of the past who can serve as models to emulate. it is a learning experience. It also promotes the good—that which has been demonstrated to lead to something of value. By studying the history of our thought. In what sense. And the memory of humanity and of a people is its history. Even if their thought was in error. Only the latest breakthrough has philosophical relevance. particularly when it comes to dealing with Mexican problems. the examination of their theories also helps us to do better work in philosophy. then this in itself could be more of an example than all their theories. can the history of philosophy be of help in doing Mexican philosophy? In the first place. The past is dead. without its history a culture cannot know its identity. There are things from the past that we need today. among those who take the scientific approach to philosophy. Indeed. History itself helps us to avoid and surpass historicism and relativism. That is. perhaps for all times. Thus. not to make the same mistake twice. philosophers do not embrace history with much enthusiasm. they are not good merely for the moment. human memory is one of the most decisive factors of our identity. there is a historical continuity that gives humanity an identity. with intelligence and tenacity. And above all. to solve the problems that faced them. but for later as well. history preserves the collective memory that is the definitive element of identity. By the same token. Only the new has value. It is appropriate to return to premodern ideas. our present postmodernism has discovered this in its attempt to correct certain modern formulations of political philosophy. And there are things that reveal themselves to be good beyond the context in which they were conceived. in the second place.). etc. This can be seen in some areas of positivist philosophy (of science. past experience is what enables us to avoid error. And only by knowing history can one perceive the underlying current that constitutes the nucleus of one’s identity beyond change. history is the great reservoir of human experience. language.126 The Study of Philosophy’s History in Mexico not in certain circles. and memory is what enables us to have experience. Despite history’s changes. But if history is the memory of humanity. for this reason. History is relegated to a role of less importance because it is believed that looking into the past is a waste of time.

Cf. México: UNAM. 2. A. p. 1950. of course. pp. 4. 1955. 5. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 32. Mexico: Paidós-UNAM. 1997. For a treatment of this subject starting with Peirce. In the third and last place. lenguaje y hermenéutica de H. On the concept of tradition in Gadamer. Mexico: Facultad de Filosofía y Letras. Albany: SUNY Press. a philosophic tradition. There is much insistence today on the fact that each country has what could be called a line of thought. 6. Also. But knowledge of the past teaches us to avoid or to foment many things. B. lengua y cultura. his Philosophy and Historiography. the considered life. p.. “El concepto de tradición en filosofía de la ciencia y en la hermenéutica filosófica. Cf.. . and Q. Cf. Tradición. 34 (1988): 206–13. Schneewind. México: UNAM.” in Diánoia. pp. Zea. Colón y Las Casas. de Santiago Guervós. 25 ff. 57 ff. L. of recovering erroneous ideas that did not work out in practice. II. “The Relationship of Philosophy to its Past.Mauricio Beuchot 127 of the common good.. Cf. 1993. La filosofía en México.-G. 1991. cf.” in R. México: FCE. p. 13. Philosophy in History. Notes 1. 1987. cit.” in his Racionalidad y cambio científico. 1981. 1984. Cf. my Tratado de hermenéutica filosófica analógica. Velasco Gómez. op. p.” This kind of knowledge should not be disparaged. Filosofía latinoamericana. Mexico: ANUTES. 9. vol. Skinner. Historia de la filosofía en México. 1976. one has to comprehend it. Barcelona: Anagrama. or happiness. 1992. L. Cf. 7. Cf. or virtue—for example the neo-Aristotelianism of MacIntyre or Gadamer. Cf. 31. It is not a question. 10. Málaga: Universidad de Málaga. UNAM. Cf. 3. On the notions of paradigm and tradition in Kuhn. 8. México: Libro-Mex Eds. 18–19. Gadamer. p. In order to move a tradition forward. a “particular way of thinking. A. Gracia: cf. en Obras Completas. El pensamiento mexicano en el siglo XX. MacIntyre. 1985. cf. my “Filosofía e historia de la filosofía. 12. but by no means least important. 70 ff. the study of the history of Mexican philosophy helps us to know the tradition in which we are inserted and to which we belong. 1997. 160–63. Mexico has had a strong humanistic tradition and has always been concerned with the integration of its indigenous peoples and the question of treating them justly. E. Rorty. eds. E. 11. This tradition reveals what the county has experienced as a formis mentis. This confluence of interests is also sought by Jorge J. Los grandes momentos del indigenismo en México and El Colegio de México. see Sebastiá Serrano’s Signos. MacIntyre. A.

1998.f. Gaos. s. Robles. Cf. Clavijero and others who appear in my Historia de la filosofía en el México colonial. M. 2 (1985): 43–57. Cf. 30. B. Toluca (Mexico): Centro de Investigaciones Sociales y Humanas de la Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Mexico. Mexico: El Colegio de Mexico. M. Barcelona: Herder. Redmond. p. To do this he constructed a combinatory logic inspired by Arabic authors. O. Mexico: UNAM. 25. . and his influence reached America as we see in the work of Diego Valadés. Perfiles esenciales de la hermenéutica. 20. 1981. Bernabé Navarro has translated the first volume with the title J. León Portilla. 27.” in Tempus: Revista de historia de la Facultad de Filosofía y Letras. 2d ed. Mexico: UNAM. Beuchot. was published in 1769. Los libros del alma. 1998). n.” to Fr.128 The Study of Philosophy’s History in Mexico 14. With this combinatory logic he debated with Jews and Arabs. 1989. Barcelona: Anagrama. Rueda. Superación y vigencia. cf. Washington: The Catholic University of America Press. 24.” en Prometeo. 1942. Díaz de Gamarra y Dávalos. 18. in the Imprenta de la Biblioteca Mexicana. Beuchot. Cf. Beuchot. Cf. “Filosofía tradicional y pensamiento latinoamericano. La filosofía náhuatl. 70 ff. Ricoeur. 1996 (in English translation as. “La ciencia y la filosofía modernas en la carta contra Feijóo de Francisco Ignacio Cigala México. viii. Elementos de filosofía moderna. El pensamiento hispanoamericano. 1975. P. Letters to Feijoo. For a treatment of this subject starting with Peirce. Osorio Romero. J. 1232–1316) was a Franciscan friar who attempted to demonstrate the contents of faith on the basis of necessary reasons. In this connection. 17. A. I. 29. 1984. Raimundo Lull (ca. see my Estudios de historia y de filosofías en el México colonial. de la Vera Cruz. M. 28. 1984. p. 1956. de la Vera Cruz. 2d ed. Antonio Rubio en la filosofía novohispana. 1942. 19. Cf. Toluca: CISCyH-UAEM. Historia de la filosofía en el México colonial. Cf. W. Los libros del alma. For example. p. translated by Elizabeth Millán. 23. 107. lengua y cultura. Zacatecas (Mexico): Dosfilos Editores. 26. cited in note 11. Relato: historia y ficción. 1988. “Introducción. O. 1999. Mexico: UNAM. Díaz de Gamarra y Dávalos. Beuchot. una filosofía barroca. He wrote numerous works in which he presented and applied his Ars Combinatoria. México: CELAM. 1994. 1 (1993): 77–82. Elementos de filosofía moderna. cited in note 11. Mexico: UNAM. Robles. Ensayos de Utopía (I y II). B. Mexico: Instituto de Investigaciones Filológicas de la UNAM. M. Sor Juana. The History of Philosophy in Colonial Mexico. 31. Bernabé Navarro has translated the first volume with the title J. siglo XVIII. Mexico: UNAM. His work. “Introducción” to Fr. A. 15. 22. Investigación filosóficonatural. For a fuller treatment of the subject. see my Historia de la filosofía. On the enormous number of editions of this work. Historia de la Iglesia en América Latina. Mexico: UNAM. UNAM. cited in the previous note. 16. Cf. viii. Basalenque. see Sebastiá Serrano’s Signos. Cf. M. p. Investigación filosófico-natural. 21.

Arriarán and M.” . 34. Translated by Margaret Sayers Peden. in some of which she uses tocotines and other song forms. In this connection see S. Cambridge. Mexico: FCE.” in Abside. Gracia. J. 1995. MA: Harvard University Press. Leal: “El tocotín mestizo de Sor Juana. Filosofía neobarroco y multiculturalismo. 35. Translator’s note: peculiar to Spanish law. English translation: Sor Juana or the Traps of Faith. The Logic and Epistemology. and defined as ‘the benignant and prudent interpretation of the law according to the circumstances of the time. J. XVIII (1954): 51–64. Beuchot.Mauricio Beuchot 129 32. place. epiqueya is defined in Black’s Law Dictionary as “a term synonymous with ‘equity’ in one of its senses. and person’. A Theory of Textuality. Cf. pp. Paz. Sor Juana alludes to mestizo themes (and also to indigenous and race themes) in several of her works. For further reading. E. Cf. 1999. Mexico: Ithaca. 1988. Albany: SUNY Press. 36. 33. O. see L. 1982. Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz o las trampas de la fe. 90–91.

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”1 In what follows. Salles and Elizabeth Millán-Zaibert for inviting me to contribute to this volume and for their insightful comments. Later. much remains to be explored in the “scribblings” of the Tenth Muse. 131 . Initially. so while philosophy and feminist thought are served by history. Zanetti for generously providing the available material on Sor Juana and for her encouragement. Juana Ramirez de Asbaje. She explicitly states I want to thank Latin Americanist Susana E. celebrated as the “First Feminist of America. a new focus on feminist issues has led to the rescue of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz’ work from oblivion. a proper understanding of certain philosophical and feminist issues owes much to the evidence provided by history. However. I shall examine aspects of Sor Juana’s feminism and of her philosophy. we can say that first literary. the audacity and literary quality of Juana’s writings stood out. they also serve history. Very recently. From a feminist perspective. and finally. And the evidence provided by history is sometimes only brought to our attention because of contemporary issues. with the development of gender studies. philosophical interests have shed new light on Juana Inés’ work.Chapter 6 Philosophical Genealogies and Feminism in Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz María Luisa Femenías Universidad Nacional de La Plata. and her voice. solitary and discontinuous. and a number of hypotheses regarding its sources were elaborated. Thus. an examination of the philosophical character of her writings has begun. Argentina How significant is it that women have recently been recognized as philosophers? How is this recognition related to the growing importance of gender issues in philosophy? No proof exists that knowledge of the past is necessary for working on philosophical or feminist thought. has gathered new strength. the NovoHispanic Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. the feminist spirit of her writings took people by surprise. I concern myself with a number of important claims that Sor Juana makes. In Latin America. When in the second half of the nineteenth century there was a resurgence of interest in the richness and complexity of the poetry of the Spanish Baroque. her feminism was explored further. F. And yet. then feminist. I also thank Arleen L.

Sor Juana’s work includes critical elements that present an important challenge to the Scholastic orthodoxy. More recently. Yet two issues need to be addressed.” But let us return to the issue of women and philosophy. herself. for this negation has been made invisible as well. is an autonomous subject. a word on the interpretation of feminism that I accept is in order. We can say that neither in the historicist nor in the postmodern . this has always been the case. and implicitly asserts that she. “factual” claims about the talents and status of women have often left them in unenviable positions. as I shall explain below. Second. I understand feminism to be the perception of women’s subordination and the commitment to correct this situation of subordination. it is worth asking how the inclusion of thinkers like Sor Juana contributes to our understanding of our philosophical past and of our identity. the postmodernist turn has become quite influential. contributes to the modern conception of the subject. Because philosophers have often constructed views of the world according to which facts about that world emerge from their own theories. at least since the historicist turn took over from the Scholastic model. We will see that we can attribute this attitude to Sor Juana. philosophy of science. But first. metaphysics. the term feminism must be understood in this broad sense for the reasons that I shall discuss below.2 I suggest that in philosophy. and ethics) is studied and passed on. Philosophy and Women In Latin America. the history of philosophy has played an important role in the way that philosophy (including aesthetics. Had those elements been recognized and valued. I examine the issue of whether her view of the relationship between the soul and the body. From a philosophical perspective. There is not much written on this topic. substituting theological and philosophical problems for philosophical genealogies. First. they might have presented a novel view of our “coming of age. a view according to which Platonic and Aristotelian elements are balanced. in the development of a history of philosophy. Are those male philosophers guilty of gynopia or of fostering female invisibility? Have they failed at the task of questioning sexism as a basic assumption?3 I believe that they have. However. As far as we know. most male philosophers have strongly suggested that women have no place in philosophical circles. and this entails not only the negation of a space for women in philosophy but also its foreclosure.132 Philosophical Genealogies and Feminism in Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz that women have a right to study. Broadly. rather than silenced.

Thus. insofar as Hegelian historicism organizes peoples and individuals into hierarchies. Foucault points out. According to this view. white. and at the borders of the ethical.” In contrast to this traditional history.5 To a certain extent. it is a primitive and anonymous function situated at the level of the “it is said.María Luisa Femenías 133 traditions can we find a place for women as philosophers. Yet. is solely concerned with the first group of categories. the same is true of women. By dismantling the notion of gendered subjectivity and defining the feminine while excluding women Foucault contributes to marginalizing them.4 Philosophical progress is possible when philosophy comes to represent not just some intellectual activity as practiced by the philosopher but the Spirit going through various stages of the thinking process. the journey of the Spirit (Geist) turns to Europe. From this it follows that if we take Hegelian categories as a starting point. an empty variable. And women in Latin America are especially underprivileged. they are limited to the private domain. it does not leave much room for Latin America. Michel Foucault determined the possibility for histories of knowledge where reason and history merge. It has the characteristics of the first person (I) that initiates the discourse. and of the cognitive order.7 The subject. derived from the first. is inscribed within an institutional net. then thinkers like Sor Juana are relegated to the status . and those everyday and solid. sacrificial history that diminishes the importance of the modern notion of subject understood as male. Traditional history. so that reason is itself subject for historical explanation. The historicist turn (à la Hegel) introduced the idea that the philosophical past is dialectically contained in the present and that history unfolds the philosophical present and its truth. if only the “it is said” is important. there is a privileged way to do philosophy. Women are considered to be outside the terms of the polis and hence their agency cannot be considered equal to that of male agency. Its arts and knowledge are not produced by the Spirit.”8 However.6 In the Archaeology of Knowledge. According to Hegel. and heterosexual. it is impossible to find female philosophers. The official history of philosophy is based on the assumption (not solely Hegelian) that women cannot reach the level of abstraction necessary for philosophizing. Although Foucault challenged historical totalities and provided a discontinuous history that questions the notion of subject as the center of all historical processes. Foucault distinguishes two kinds of historical discourses or categories of formulation: those highly valued and rare. his account still excludes women by denying the importance of individual authorship. Against Hegel’s historical totalizations. Foucault attempted to develop a discontinuous. and devotes itself to the “glory of the subject. and the rest of the world (Latin America included) is less than visible.

apart from her contemporaries and unaware of any feminine intellectual tradition to shape her identity. the genealogy becomes a way to gain recognition as an intellectual female. because it allows her to situate herself within a tradition of wise women. intellectual woman in a society that failed to recognize her as such. and epigrams with silvas. As was the case with many intellectual women in a past dominated by the male voice. One of them was to produce a genealogy of intellectual women. balancing mundane romances. We do not know whether Juana read City of the Ladies. is particularly significant in Sor Juana’s work. redondillas. women have not had access to the category of subject. The kind of genealogy that . in solitude. and the theological writings that ultimately would be the source of many of her problems. Stereotypically. but their capacity for logical argumentation is perennially questioned. In Sor Juana. and chose the convent because of her need to study. She was aware of her genius and its difficulties. In short. The title of philosopher as “anyone who speaks” with the language of logic has been historically conferred to men.10 In this and other writings. used by women like Christine de Pizan in City of the Ladies. neither traditional histories à la Hegel nor Foucault’s proposed alternative can accommodate Sor Juana as a woman/subject/poet/feminist/ philosopher. Pizan provides a fictional genealogy of wise and virtuous women and defends the right of women to education. Sor Juana worked in spiritual isolation. then it is as poets rather than as philosophers. she resorted to different strategies. she kept her ties to the intellectual world that surrounded her. women have had no history or access to discursive power. Thus. rather than being the active agent or author of what she has created. Sor Juana’s Genealogies Only the gender analysis characteristic of the twentieth century has provided us with the vision necessary to see that Juana was not only gifted at versification. women are characterized as beings with a capacity for strong feelings and extreme sensitivity. I believe that hers was a practical choice: in the convent she exercised her skills. This resource. sonnets. If they are recognized as authors. She experienced both flattery and scorn.134 Philosophical Genealogies and Feminism in Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz of the impersonal. in order to fill the void. However. The notion of the creative subject as the source of meaning and unity (either in its modern or discursive configuration) is historically alien to women. but that she was also clearly aware of her peculiar situation as a creative. and she developed her genius and her freedom within the limits imposed by those feelings. In fact. While valuing her solitude.9 Strictly speaking.

and prescribe the feminine. Thus. She produced a catalog of illustrious women. In Sor Juana’s case. some unknown and others notable. Juana thought that the construction of a genealogy of illustrious and holy women was important for her own legitimacy and recognition.12 Juana re-creates categories that define. from the vestals to our own age” in order to have her own locus of recognition of her own legitimacy. she wants to legitimate her position in society as an intellectual woman. Sor Juana’s genealogy is intentionally created to underscore her impotence qua woman to be recognized by her peers as a poet and learned person. Insofar as Juana’s genealogies include women on the basis of their moral and rational equality to men. thus establishing a tradition that in turn legitimated her identity as an intellectual woman. Sor Filotea de la Cruz subtly admonished Juana to be silent in the famous letter that spared Sor Juana’s even more famous Response. she shows that there have always been wise women. Dear Reader. By recognizing these women. Apparently. I give you/with hopes your pleasure they ensure.13 By acknowledging the contributions of learned women. some wise and others imaginary. that there have been and will continue to be women whose voices would give meaningful contributions to the teachings of the Church. if Aristotle was the first philosopher who related to philosophy genealogically in order to legitimize his own activity. In Sor Juana’s work we do not see the asexual soul’s ascent to eternal beauties. as in the case of the mystics. her most cherished legacy: “These poems. Sor Juana’s genealogy introduces material differences among women. Juana was the first woman to attempt to do something similar for her intellectual activity. some goddesses and some royalty. In another sense. On the contrary. she resorted to a “recollection of characters from old.”14 In one sense. and she directly counters the presupposition that women would not add anything meaningful to the dialogue within the Church. that is. Paul’s command that women be silent in Church.11 In effect. In this sense. and she gives them new meaning.María Luisa Femenías 135 she produced (without Pizan’s moralist intentions) makes it clear that in both the Response and in First Dream. the construction of a genealogy and the determination of legitimacy are closely connected to the constitution of a tradition which would have a place for her contributions. she made them her predecessors. some pagans and other Christians. Sor Juana’s genealogies attempt to give a different meaning to history. they distance her from Pizan and bring her closer to the Enlightenment. But Sor Juana claims that this silencing denies historical reality. describe. Her awareness of the historicity of people’s customs becomes evident in her interpretation of St. she acknowledges her own writing. In order to refute the charges that women should best be silence for they have nothing to offer to public discussions. she is .

The most widely discussed aspect of Juana’s work is its alleged feminism. in order to value her work it is necessary to read it critically. Sor Juana could have examined the relation between the soul and the body from a mystical perspective. As an intellectual. especially if one recalls Paz’ narrative on the origin of his book Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz o las Trampas de la Fe. However. he has in mind . and illegitimate woman who. its novelty. According to Paz. Catholic. she preferred a philosophical approach. yet. Paz is curious about the life and work of this novo— Hispanic. and as a man. The body/soul conflict in her work is very evident here. it is tripartite and only its rational part is asexual. As a Mexican and as a writer. intelligent.15 The soul is never completely disembodied and immaterial. and its depth. Generally. In Paz’ view.16 It is impossible not to see this as a form of cultural and national self-assertion. although Paz insists that Juana is a feminist. when he refers to Juana’s feminism. challenged theologians and bishops thus risking her own life. overcoming all the obstacles. the convent is Juana’s second family and the best place to attain what she wants.136 Philosophical Genealogies and Feminism in Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz concerned with the souls in the bodies of women or. According to Paz. criolla. Juana is a person tortured by her illegitimacy. Paz wants to underscore that the tradition to which he belongs was first expressed in Mexico: the Tenth Muse of America was a Mexican woman. it is necessary to take into account some aspects of the well-known interpretation of Sor Juana by Octavio Paz. he does not reflect on the possible implications of calling a seventeenth-century nun a feminist. The senses and the passions. have to do with women’s sensibilities. Dorothy Schons. At first sight. in the bodies of wise women. Jean Franco. However. A writer like Paz could not overlook it. Paz’ Reading of Sor Juana’s Feminism Paz approaches Juana’s work from at least three different but closely connected angles: as a Mexican. and Spanish-speaking. What is the nature of Sor Juana’s feminism? Can we achieve a richer understanding of Latin American feminism by focusing on her work? In order to consider this issue. Her living in a convent is not the result of a religious calling but the result of her rejection of marriage and courtly life and of her desire to study in isolation. a feminist like her could not do otherwise. as an intellectual. in her own words. as a man. to talk about Juana’s feminism is topical: Octavio Paz. looking for self-assertion and shelter in the convent and in the books. closely connected to the body. Paz perceives Sor Juana’s work as significant for its richness. Finally. This sets her apart from the orthodoxy. and Ramón Xirau consider her a feminist. María Isabel Santa Cruz.

Paz employs an old strategy: he suggests that the behavior of women who do not conform to the norm is in some sense pathological. suggesting that she was probably suffering some mental imbalance. the library of her grandfather.María Luisa Femenías 137 some of the claims she makes in her poetry on behalf of women. not as a woman. Sor Juana’s self-knowledge is no more than narcissism. but this requires a careful analysis that goes beyond standard understandings of Juana’s work. an obsession from infancy. Entrenched in a paternalistic kind of sexism. I shall identify the most relevant sexist assumptions that taint Paz’ approach to Sor Juana.17 Paz belittles Juana’s strength by portraying her as innocent and childish. Thus. Paz broaches the issue of Sor Juana’s alleged narcissism and her insistence on the image of the mirrors. In what follows. Paz commits the fallacy of the double standard because in men the pursuit of learning is not tied to the same (or similar) kind of problems. it is the result of an inadequate and distorted analysis. and (3) the role played by her grandfather as a substitute for her father. Yet these interpretations are based on a Freudian analysis of female sexuality that has been seriously challenged by contemporary feminist psychologists. whereas in women the desire to learn is seen as atypical and extraordinary. For Paz. He speculates on a pathological personality disturbance. and the convent. nor does it lead to charges of narcissism. Paz carefully follows almost all of the assumptions underlying a patriarchal analysis of Sor Juana. he takes as his starting point exclusive dichotomies that he tries to soften by displaying an attitude of paternal understanding. Is there in Sor Juana anything more than the occasional vindication of the right of women to learn? I believe that there is. In addition. From this perspective.18 Although this sequence is intended as a “proof ” of the truth of his interpretation. By omission. Juana’s calling takes shape in a sequence: her illegitimacy. he is unable to go beyond a topical and sexist reading of the life and work of Sor Juana. Furthermore. that men desire to learn is a norm that levels them. Despite Paz’s good intentions and the complexity. In Paz’ view. is he able to relate to the dreadful intellectual solitude that was part of her life. Needless to say. However. unresolved issues about her birth led to Sor Juana’s narcissism. the alleged madness or mental imbalance. unaware of her own worth. when discussing Sor Juana. (2) the disappearance/death of her father. First. and clarity of his work. the . In general. and the pursuit of learning an unhealthy and recurrent search from childhood. Paz’ uncritical use of the binary “woman-child” taints his understanding of Sor Juana’s personality. Paz’ suggests that Sor Juana’s “problem” can be explained in terms of an identity conflict stemming from: (1) her illegitimacy. soundness. Only when he perceives Juana as a poet. and unusual inclinations of extraordinary women is a recurrent theme. the absence of her father. he sees Sor Juana’s personality as pathological. extreme sensibility.

Yet it was not her grandfather alone who filled a gap in Juana’s life. Paz devotes many pages to a discussion of the impact that the absence of her father had on Juana’s life. Juana learned to give form to her language and thinking. In the library.138 Philosophical Genealogies and Feminism in Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz narcissism of Sor Juana may have different explanations. Sor Juana’s mother was an exceptional woman in many respects. she learned that this possible world offered different options to men and women. in a softened version. he does not spend much time examining Sor Juana’s mother and their relationship. Isabel seems to have had little in common with what was expected from women at the time. she was aware of her uniqueness as a beautiful woman and as an intellectual. It is not true that we “contemplate what we are and we are what we contemplate.21 But the criolla Isabel Ramírez not only administered her state in an inhospitable area but she also had six illegitimate children with two different men.19 Juana adopted some of the images and metaphors of the Spanish mystics of the sixteenth century because she was familiar with the rhetoric of the court and its symbolism of the mirror: imperfect love that refers to perfect love. especially in her poems on loving friendship.20 That Juana’s maternal grandfather filled her father’s role is almost taken for granted. Another topical question posed in Paz’ analysis is Sor Juana’s relationship with the maternal grandfather who replaced her absent (or dead) father. it is possible to recognize a rhetorical tone used to address the passion of mystical love. Sor Juana’s love takes Christian agape as a model. We look at ourselves in the mirror of a purified spirit. Paz proposes.” Although there is agreement that there is no mysticism in Sor Juana. Second. the option to learn excluded any other kind of life project. Literature taught her how to live and showed her what was possible. Although the cultural meaning of motherhood has changed through the centuries. Only when we understand this can we understand and accept the rhetoric of human passions as a way to translate and communicate the ineffable love to God. in a sense. It was not unusual for women at the time to administer their own fortunes and states. . of power.” there is an abyss between God and humans. However. underlying the mirrors is a kind of narcissism different from the Freudian narcissism that. some aspects of her work can be linked to what is known as the “narcissism of passion. while in the Viceroy’s court. First. If this is so. The only “decent” way to attain knowledge (as Sor Juana points out in the Response) was in the seclusion of a cloister. It is likely that perhaps for young Juana the library was a source of pleasure and. Later. it recognizes the distinction among creatures themselves and the respect for the creator. Since there is no loving fusion. For a young NovoHispanic woman of the seventeenth century. He had what must have been at the time a formidable library. the image of the mirror is valid. as this was allowed by Derecho Castellano.

24 Juana was dismissed . While these attributes combine prestige and praise. and specifically Aguiar Seijas. In Sor Juana. she is referred to as a singular poetess. and that isolate her from her contemporaries as a female writer and as an intellectual.22 If there was punishment. The Church as an institution. to see her interest in knowledge as a masculine interest. On the cover of Inundación Castálida. Therefore. This suggests that family ties were strong. did not break ties with Juana’s grandfather. attributes that clearly reflect how unusual she was. the fact that Paz is so concerned with tracing the marks produced by Sor Juana’s illegitimacy has more to do with twenty first-century sensibilities and a Victorian conception of morality than with real evidence manifested in her work. but tried to conceal) produced any early fractures in her personality.María Luisa Femenías 139 There are no signs that Sor Juana’s illegitimacy (a fact that she was aware of. and that Sor Juana’s problems had more to do with the society she had to confront than with her family.23 Except for a few people who accompanied her on her intellectual path. the archbishop of Mexico imposed this punishment on her. In turn. Juana’s mother. and it seems that she regularly provided financial support to the family. It is not necessary to see her actions as masculinist transgressions. it is likely that young Juana’s desire to attend to university was not an attempt to emulate the male figure of her absent father or of her grandfather as Paz and others suggest. Juana must have felt extremely lonely and misunderstood. Sor Juana’s Labyrinth of Solitude Paz’ digression on Juana’s solitude is appropriate. Juana protected her niece in the convent. they also indicate that there was no place for an intellectual woman as subject. Underlying Sor Juana’s courtly poetry is an immense solitude stemming from the fact that she was not understood. Sor Juana did not spend time deliberating on whether it was appropriate for a girl to learn Latin: she learned it after taking twenty lessons. this had to do with the fact that her life story did not conform to traditional conceptions of the feminine and of religious life. she followed the path of a mother who apparently did not spend much time deliberating on whether a woman could or could not take charge of a situation: she simply did it. Isabel. Similarly. the will to learn must not be seen as a transgression that implies self-punishment for the possession of the kind of knowledge that women were prohibited from having. She is considered an exception and a prodigy. Instead. or to attribute her intellectual pursuit to deficiencies of her self-esteem. In this sense. for example. the Tenth Muse. thus showing that to be female was not an obstacle to learning the language. nor did she ever abandon her children.

those verses referred to the sexual morality of women: “ungrateful. you judge unchaste. It starts with the following lines: “Misguided men.140 Philosophical Genealogies and Feminism in Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz because of her exceptional talents. she affirms them and affirms herself. Catherine also illustrate Juana’s explicit feminism. and brings her closer to the Enlightenment. not unlike the way in which by situating herself in a catalog of illustrious women she created a lineage of peers. Juana’s complaint (humorous and serious at the same time) of the double standard used to judge the actions of men and women. her recognition of the double bind that traps women regardless of what they do. First. Catherine studied. talents not deemed suitable for a woman.25 In the same way that we found no mysticism in Juana’s work. This sets her apart from a Renaissance thinker like Pizan. taught. Another good example of Juana’s awareness is represented by the following lines “ … if they love.” Sor Juana’s explicit feminism is not an attack on men. “It is of service to the Church / that women argue. Instead. “explicit feminism.” By multiplying her image she created the illusion of being with others. is a philosophical satire. Second. particularly the right to learn. In VI (317) she states: “There in Egypt. and she was recognized by the . there are two significant aspects in this poem. and her recognition of how this places women at a disadvantage. Most academics (Paz included) who want to underscore Sor Juana’s feminism resort to some poems in which she expressly defends the rights of women. she who does not love you / yet she who does. As an intellectual. / Victor! Victor!” And then. we do not find homophobia or resentment toward men. males and females. / for he Who granted women reason / would not have them uninformed / Victor! Victor!” The subject matter and the implicit philosophical basis in these verses are those found in the Response and in First Dream: “God created both. it is not strange that in her solitude. Her explicit feminism is ironic and humorous.” Some villancicos written in 1691 praising St. who will chastise / a woman when no blame is due / oblivious that it is you / who prompted what you criticize” (92).” Similarly. Juana appealed to the “rhetoric of the mirrors. learn. Sor Juana experienced several epochal conflicts. they are deceived / if they love not / hear you complain. all the sages / by a woman were convinced / that gender is not of the essence / in matters of intelligence. Central to her awareness of these problems are her insightful psychological observations and her implicit recognition that men and women are formally equal. I call these feminist claims of Sor Juana. with gentleness and patience she repeatedly asks to be allowed to study. The most famous and oft-quoted poem. From a feminist perspective. rational: sex has nothing to do with understanding. in which she charmingly describes men’s attitude to women. and argued. and when Juana joyfully defends women. tutor. St. Therefore.

The difference between them is the access they have to education and their social obligations. he would have written much more. like those displayed by leading male thinkers such as Aristotle. he is ordering Sor Juana to behave in a certain way. reminds Sor Juana of her limitations as a nun. Manuel Fernandez de Santa Cruz. the more compelling .29 Sor Juana was clearly aware of women’s singular position so she insists on belittling herself. there is a sharp contrast between these tactics. underlying the spontaneity and. erudition/salvation. a way becoming for a woman of the convent. Let us focus on an example. modesty/ arrogance. Cicero. To the explicit feminism that satirically denounces and extols female rationality we can add another. In the Carta de Sor Filotea de la Cruz. and lists a series of admonitions employing irreconcilable opposites such as sacred/profane. As many other female writers. In Villancico V we find the claim that. Yet. Sor Juana takes this common symbol and infuses it with irony. / its wiseness they resent. Rather than acting on the Bishop’s admonitions and behaving in the way deemed appropriate for a woman.”26 We find similar examples of explicit feminism in other poems. I refer to her rhetorical uses of language.” Thus.” “my lack of health”). she writes an intellectual biography in which the construction of the modern subject as autonomous.María Luisa Femenías 141 sages in Egypt. sound arguments.28 Indeed. Juana’s objective is to show the woman as an autonomous subject. The Bishop is not simply offering friendly advice. / far too long the world has known / that virtue attracts sin as complement.” “my justified fear. Sor Juana’s Response to his orders reveals her rhetorical skill and her ability to present strong. responsible for her decisions and reflexive stands out. more covert type of feminism in Sor Juana. she says with irony and grace that “if Aristotle had entered the kitchen. The verses may very well reflect what Sor Juana suffered for her intellect. masking her real dimensions and emphasizing her feebleness. and it entails valuing and giving priority to implicit moral judgment. Juana breaks the opposites male/reason-female/ passion to open a new space: reason and passion belong equally to men and women. Juana ignores the traditional double standard used to judge the psychological traits of the sexes. the strength of her argument. Yet. “Men envy the Rose its beauty. which in turn she considers to be different from the cultural constructions that shape them. His approach is dichotomist. she assumes an attitude of humility and plea and refers repeatedly to her weaknesses (“my clumsy pen. at times.30 The more she claims to be a poor thing. the innocence of her writings is a careful articulation and mastery of rhetorical techniques. and Quintilian (required readings at the time). Thus. the bishop of Puebla.”27 The symbolism of the rose was popular in courtesan poetry. and the audacity of her selfdefense. Her efforts to appear modest are evident. she starts with a foreword or captatio benevolentia for the reader.

and downplays the autonomy of her writings. “I tremble that I might express some proposition that will cause offense.” and she states that she does not find any pleasure in the activity of writing. Sor Juana’s writing has defiance as a content and obedience as a form. adroit at harming me”(2). Juana stated: “If my wits are mine alone. The rhetorical formula that she employs allows her to say what she wants to say with pretended ingenuity. and submission as models of behavior. far from enjoying her writing. her will.”32 This strategy is frequent in Sor Juana and other female poets and writers like Pizan.33 Here it becomes evident that Juana is aware that she is being harmed. most of her work and especially the Response is an exercise in self-assertion of her identity as a woman and as an intellectual.142 Philosophical Genealogies and Feminism in Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz her work is. yet she is not willing to renounce it.” for “I wish no quarrel with the Holy Office. knowledge appears to be a dangerous weapon. allows people to attain the highest kind of knowledge: Their limitations cause the senses to posit diverse dimensions in the objects they perceive: thus differences result between the seen or heard or what is touched or tasted. for if her writing is clumsy. while displaying this attitude and situating herself in a subordinate position.31 At first. why must they always be inept at doing me good. and her liberty. Juana chose independence and creativity to the extreme. she explains her attitude toward learning and how much she values the rational soul that. she is torn and ambivalent. her gender. her knowledge. In an early philosophical romance. in her Encomiastico to the Countress of Galve (384). She hides behind an attitude of obedience and need. As Plato’s Socrates. . Yet. She states that. which deals abstractly. But the soul. knowledge is irreversibly powerful and destructive. even more recent ones.” Sor Juana knows that for her. In the face of the accepted models for women and particularly nuns at the time. she defends what she probably should not even discuss: writing and knowledge. she belittles herself. she notes that either a driving need or vocation have forced her to write. she claims to write “scribblings. mysticism. unlike the senses. “What we need is a seminar with no other aim than showing not the ways of human learning but the comforts of not knowing. However. Displaying a rationalist line of thought. Thus. Similarly. her dedication. Juana was convinced that a life worth living is to be found in the mind and in the activity of critical examination. Indeed. what wouldn’t she do if it were strong? In order to underscore the contrast. in the same romance she states that. Whereas other nuns accepted passivity.

Whether it delight the eye Or sound the ear. Juana accuses those who urge her to quit her studies of disobedience to the Divine Will and of committing the sin of arrogance. she has enough energy to confront and defend her status as an intellectual by Divine command. Pretending to be surprised. Juana claims that she cannot disobey those who commissioned verses to celebrate birthdays. but at the same time challenges the terms of the debate determinism/freedom of the will showing that the solution offered by the Church is inadequate.María Luisa Femenías 143 Has ways of knowing There is but one proportion. Juana claims to be unable to overcome the dark inclination whose power has conquered everything. my inclination toward letter has been so vehement. for even Socrates could not ignore the command of the gods. In a premeditated and explicit way.34 We have seen that one of Sor Juana’s methods of self-defense is to link her writing to the notion of necessity because. poor woman. in another passage she states: “This natural impulse that God placed in me / … / the Lord God knows why / … / I have prayed that He deemed the light of my reason leaving only that which is needed to keep His law. there are no alternatives to it: “From the moment I was first illuminated by the light of reason. she innocently wonders: How could I. If she is a subject ready to receive orders from others. so overpowering”— she could not avoid her vocation as a writer. and she cannot be blamed for that. she can neither ignore it nor hide it. she denounces the double standard used by “some” who consider that this natural ability of metrics is worthy in men and ought to be celebrated. or mark their children’s birth. a God-given gift that she cannot avoid and for which she cannot be blamed. Juana is just obeying the light of reason that God Himself placed in her: Thus. the capacity to write verses.”36 The Platonic connotations are evident here. she conceals her will with impersonal formulas. This new kind of necessity. At the same time. it is innate. Different as it may appear. Thus. . 35 This necessity imposed by God takes responsibility from her shoulders: she did not choose to write or to be illuminated. how can Sor Filotea ask her to disown it? In a notable rhetorical tactic. her vocation is not the result of a voluntary action. Whether it appeal to taste Or flatter touch. control this major inclination and evade the divine command? Even further. welcome new viceroys. Sor Juana places herself in the space traditionally assigned to women. following a hierarchical order.38 In addition. as we all know.37 Since God has given her a gift.

we need to confront the old question of what philosophy is. for many male philosophers wrote in the form of poems. even if these are sometimes concealed by the beauty and grace of her verses. as is the literary quality of Plato and Galileo’s writings. the dialogue is an accepted philosophical form. syntagm and content. form and quest for the truth. as the works of Plato. my interpretation recognizes a close relationship between literary form and philosophical content of Sor Juana’s writings. The rejection of this dichotomy. She hides herself behind the attitude of obedience. as we have seen. her loyalty makes it impossible for her to do so. Parmenides’ Poem and Lucretius’s De Rerum Natura. Galileo. And yet. for example. In order to identify her as a philosopher. as we can see in First Dream. If the first kind of obedience subordinated her to the holy will.144 Philosophical Genealogies and Feminism in Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz hierarchically dependent on the other. Sor Juana appeals to metaphors and everyday vocabulary to reconcile philosophy and rhetoric. Thus. negative awareness and evidence. for as we know. For Sor Juana. turns her into an obedient servant who must follow the orders of her masters. this new obedience subordinates her to the will of her superiors. Is the poetic form of her writing the reason why she is disregarded as a philosopher? I do not think so. we will find the road to philosophy in Juana’s silvas and the poetry in Plato’s dialogues. However. and she was not a historian of philosophy. content is its defiance. the same tradition of watertight compartments that recognizes Plato just as a philosopher and Galileo just as a scientist sees Juana just as a poet. if form is obedience to rhyme. and Jean-Paul Sartre attest. Juana did not do philosophy. Sor Juana as a Philosopher Sor Juana’s philosophical views have been discussed far less often and in less detail than her poetry. intuition and argumentation. In order to find philosophy in nontraditional venues . Instead of seeing language as a prison. some of her writings include and clearly develop philosophical conceptions. The philosophical dimension of Juana’s work is ignored. Consider. She can ignore neither the law of God nor the law of the viceroys. Scholars praise the quality of Juana’s poetry and neglect its philosophical content. But if we keep form and content together. is not enough. to suppose that the quality of Sor Juana’s work obscured its philosophical significance and that we can understand it by ignoring the dichotomy form/content is naive. And the fact that she cast some of her writings in the dialogue form is no reason for disregarding her as a philosopher. one of the most cherished in Western thought. However. We can agree that from the standpoint of present academia.

Yet. to discuss them. In general.39 As it has been noted. (2) Juana’s rationalist attitude. and illustrious women. we should reject the exclusive distinction between philosophy and literature. This is precisely what can be said about what Sor Juana’s writings accomplished. for I analyze it in terms of conceptual schemes that are anachronistic and foreign to her time and goals. poets. and (3) the construction of the epistemological subject with all its modern connotations that shows the tension between a formal conception of subject and the female subject in particular. and to show the limits of a particular understanding of them shows neither ignorance nor free association. and on the other hand. It has been argued that it is either a philosophical reflection in verse or a versification on human desire for knowledge. their limits. we must challenge historical stereotypes that until recently have surreptitiously determined that women do not do philosophy. through him. can be philosophical.40 Three aspects of the poem are particularly relevant to our topic: (1) the search for a method to attain knowledge. So in order to find women philosophers. where .María Luisa Femenías 145 we need not only a broader definition of philosophy but also a place for the female philosopher. With this in mind. Markedly neo-Platonic. content. regardless of the quality of their writings. but surpassing both. to those who fear the sin of anachronism we can say that to conceive problems. we must recognize that the writings of Sor Juana. This will allow us to capture the philosophical aspects of Juana’s work. and counterargumentation. examination. and strength. this is a singular poem for its form. and their possibilities.41 This is a modern topic: the epistemological examination of the method and the spiritual and physiological structures needed for knowledge. if we want to understand philosophers and the philosophical problems they address. a woman. Thus. a poem of 975 lines stylistically inspired by Luis de Góngora. influenced by the work of Atanasio Kircher and. female philosophers were excluded from doxographies and included in catalogs of nuns. the First Dream is an account of the soul’s ascent to knowledge or. we have to debate them as if they were our contemporaries. It could be objected that I am proposing an inadequate interpretation of Sor Juana’s work. and for reasons already explained. let us focus on First Dream. Underlying Juana’s conception of subject are the notion of equality and a more material conception of feminist philosophy that points to the notions of difference and the body. a critical reflection on the methods to attain true knowledge. However. On the one hand. The dream refers to two things: to the state of being half-asleep. to talk about Sor Juana’s philosophy requires reconstruction and restitution. more specifically. Raimundo Llull. Philosophers have the ability to raise issues and provide provocative answers that elicit an attitude of questioning.

considering much too daring / for one to try to take in everything / who failed to understand the very smallest. This ploy that separates the soul from the multiplicity of sensible things supports the definition of knowledge as a product of reason.146 Philosophical Genealogies and Feminism in Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz everything rests. overwhelmed. However. 210–13). ten in number / a metaphysical reduction teaching / … / the art of forming universals” (VV 576–87). recoils / before so difficult a challenge. and distancing her from neo-Platonism and Orthodox Hermetism. Juana believes that humans are a microcosm in a macrocosm and that they can aspire to know the universe. The conclusion is discouraging. / refusing to take action resolutely. as does Aristotelian Scholasticism. This is clearly illustrated by the following: “the body is unbroken calm. and the inquiry becomes overwhelming: “if reason. like Aristotle. saw nothing. / a corpse with soul / in dead to life. step by step. unable to discern” (VV 480–81). the easiest part / of those effects of nature” (704–11). then were the stages over which / I sometimes wished to range. and to the illusion of those who think that they can attain knowledge in everyday life and in the multiplicity of the natural world. to unity. living to death” (VV 201–6). These verses show a singular syncretism. / doubting in her cowardice / that she can grasp even this simple object” (766–69). particularly Rene Descartes. The soul is never totally disconnected from the body where the physiological functioning necessary for knowledge is located. we cannot know the singular. The soul must retreat on itself. and we cannot grasp the unity of natural effects either. From this dream we awaken when we see the light of understanding. Yet Sor Juana recognized the limits of sensible intuition and believed that the soul must liberate itself from multiplicity and diversity: “trying to look at everything.42 Not unlike the Stoics. and of their combination: “the need instead to move up. Through abstraction. Thus. she does not believe that there is an absolute separation between soul and body. from one concept / to the next” (592–93). / as on a ladder. core of vital spirits. she displays skeptical interest: “these. and to order. We do not grasp natural causes and effects. and “ … sovereign member. after the failure of the inferential method. yet other times / I changed my mind. one by one / contained in every one / of those artfully constructed / categories. This is the starting point for a second ascent to knowledge. Sor Juana is not just making use of deductive reasoning. Juana suggests that the preliminary steps of the intellectual journey require the separation of the soul from the body. bringing Juana closer to Modern Philosophy. This conclusion distances her from the . But Sor Juana does not agree with the Stoic resigned attitude and. “considered as more appropriate / restriction to a single subject / or taking separate account / of each thing. these functions are blended. the metaphysical reduction allows for the formation of universals.with its allied breathing bellows” (vv. but of two kinds of inference. deductive and inductive.

” that they do not have any sex. Does Juana’s position anticipate the Enlightenment or is it just a rhetoric manifestation of the poetry of the Baroque. Thus.44 She writes: “I speak of man. Indeed. this was Juana’s major sin. Several philosophers have warned against the arguments used to support the distinction between soul and body and the superiority and independence . Theresa. bodies cannot be separated from matter and sex.43 In this quest. The question is whether this subject is neutral. It is worth asking whether from the perspective of her confessor. and they do not constitute an obstacle to learning. Probably influenced by Aristotle. Juana makes the almost heretical claim that the soul connected to the body can attain the highest kind of knowledge. showing the limits of reason in the acquisition of knowledge? Juana’s search for a method that allows people to grasp the science of natural causes brings her closer to the kind of work philosophers were doing at the time. the greatest wonder / the human man can ponder” (690–91). Juana’s philosophical perspective is importantly shaped by a feminist point of view and it has the characteristics of what we currently would call a philosophy of gender. An examination of this issue leads the philosophical foundations of Sor Juana’s conception of the subject. They are necessary but not sufficient conditions for the acquisition of knowledge. she poetically writes in a first personal form and thus provides a clear and modern affirmation of the subject.María Luisa Femenías 147 mystic position of other famous religious women like St. and also “for just as the ambitious fiery flame / assumes pyramidal shape when mounting / heavenward. particularly the relationship between the soul and the body. While Maria de Zayas y Sotomayor (1590) claimed that “souls are neither male nor female. she thought that the vegetative and sensitive faculties of the soul. the process of the soul not completely separated from the body is bolstered by a humanism of a Renaissance type. so the human mind / assumes this very shape / in ever aspiring to the one First Cause” (403–08). Does this entail that knowledge of a First Cause is impossible because finite beings cannot use their reason and understanding to grasp it? Does it follow from this that we can only know the secondary causes of what surrounds us? Is Sor Juana making a distinction between faith and reason and then. like Descartes in his Meditations. intimately connected to the body. in Sor Juana’s writings. These verses show how Sor Juana’s feminism and her philosophy overlap. shaped by ideas of courtly Renaissance? The answer to this is that in Sor Juana we find some characteristics of modern skepticism and a double play that draws on the subject matter and concerns of the Renaissance while anticipating the modern preoccupation with the critical search for a method and the construction of the subject. constitute the first steps to knowledge. Juana’s search for a key to knowledge that will allow her to grasp the science of natural causes—like in Plato’s Theaetetus—fails.

a rational and an irrational function. Furthermore. and that societies are organized according to this hierarchy. 947). In addition. World. 795. If we consider Sor Juana’s claim from a neoPlatonic perspective. but also rejects the idea that the female body is an obstacle in .45 In the predominant Platonic tradition the soul has at least two functions. that the female narrator is manifest in several portions of the poem.148 Philosophical Genealogies and Feminism in Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz of the soul. the issue is even more complex. Some commentators have shown that Sor Juana has in mind a feminine soul all along. Throughout the poem she uses the first person. It is not understood as what it really is: a historical-cultural construction. it does not make sense to talk about a feminine soul. the shining body / whose rays impose a punishment of fire” (460–61. 399.” constantly reminding us who the speaker is: “against the sun. I mean. when I am thus inclined.48 By creating a locus for the rational woman subject. it is just the human soul. From a certain perspective. and see also 47. not only is it typically argued that the soul ought to subjugate the body. referred to in third person. rational subject ϭ female. But. Sor Juana breaks the traditional dichotomy rational subject ϭ male/emotional subject ϭ female.46 If the Holy Office arrived at similar conclusions. then this entails that mind and body are not totally separated from the body and that the resulting reason and sensibility are characteristics of female embodiment. / insuring elegance affect my mind. soul/body. body/woman. 226. for the implicit analogies are soul/man. According to Paz’s interpretation of Juana’s view. the soul is the subject in the statement. Sor Juana distances herself from the Platonic orthodoxy of the mystics. Yet. it is not unusual to find “fantastic” philosophical accounts on the possibility of a full existence without the body. Thus. Juana repeatedly makes use of the “I mean. Thus. The hierarchical relationship soul/body-male/female has been naturalized and so made invisible. why such diligence? / what my offense. But we need to note Juana’s use of deictic. The understanding is free and in its quest for knowledge it distances itself from daily life and longs for true beauties: “In my pursuit. the soul that ascends to knowledge has no name. man ruler/women ruled. 328. and no sex. It is generally accepted that historically males have been identified with the rational and females with the material and the irrational. if in contrast. “the rational” is neither female nor male: it is not material. and the rational soul rules over the irrational and over the body. and builds another kind of subject.47 I do not think that his interpretation is correct. we accept that Sor Juana makes use of Aristotelian categories. it is generally accepted that the hierarchical ontological distinction between soul and body also supports oppressive social and political relationships. then Sor Juana’s view was even more subversive. If this is true. / not that my mind affect an elegance?” (146). no age.

we need to examine the possibilities and limits of Sor Juana’s feminism. into the discussion. old. Probably Sor Juana secularizes and universalizes the Christian principle of equality for. Yet. we can focus on the condition of women in New Spain during the seventeenth century. and of patterns of behavior that had not been influenced yet by Victorian morality and psychoanalysis. either arranged marriage or the cloisters. the convent was the best place for her. The Limits and Possibilities of Sor Juana’s Feminism We have been discussing Sor Juana’s feminism. therefore. Sor Juana herself explains her reasons for her “profession” and we have no reason to question what she says. Thus. Passionate expression of affection among women (married. in this sense. and on which of the options available for women. and was recognized and complimented for her knowledge.49 Yet. In the Response. both men and women are children of God. and young) was not unusual even in the nineteenth century. There has been much speculation on Juana’s reasons for entering the convent. a modern notion. Furthermore. was more oppressive. her view is different from the Aristotelian-scholastic view. the many references to men interested in her seem to disprove this hypothesis. we need to look at what feminism could have been like in New Spain of the seventeenth century.María Luisa Femenías 149 the acquisition of knowledge. Is she making a distinction between faith and reason when it comes to knowledge? If Sor Juana is introducing equality.50 Friendship among women could even be stronger than a relationship with a husband. Octavio Paz has suggested that because of her illegitimacy. but if we are to understand it. Considering what . Although she was living in the viceroy’s palace as a lady in waiting to the Marquesa de Mancera. She had always loved learning. in her view. Others have suggested that Juana’s rejection of marriage was related to her lesbianism of which they find evidence in the poems that she addressed to the Marquesa de Laguna (Lysi) and to the Marquesa de Mancera (Laura). In any case. then she is anticipating the Cartesian claim that bons sens is the most evenly distributed resource among human beings. and this is understandable as most marriages had been arranged and there was no romantic love involved. there is nothing in colonial Latin America similar to Sor Juana’s philosophical reflection and the freedom with which she builds her position outside the scholastic canons of the time. she was not a good candidate for marriage and that. she decided to take holy orders. In order to do this. and she undertook her studies in earnest. the tone of those poems can be explained in terms of prevalent Baroque and courtly love models. on their opportunities for personal fulfillment.

Sor Juana abandoned the role of the mystical nun and took possession of the discourse of the palace. This is the reason why her socalled conversion in the last years of her life is even more tragic. hers is a novel contribution. While neo-Platonism provided the philosophical foundations for the vindication of the universality of reason and the capacities of women. and warned against the use of a double standard when she was admonished to devote herself to the study of sacred texts. while taking into account her particular situation and her objectives. it excluded the body. in order to accept this. strong. She attempted to distance herself from the predominant Neo-scholasticism inspired by Suárez. rejected the silencing of women. premodern. Can she be considered a feminist philosopher? From a certain standpoint. Sor Juana’s work can be described as prefeminist. In this sense. her written legacy is evidence of this. she took possession of controversial theological discourse by challenging Bishop Vieyra’s interpretation of the greatest kindness of Christ. In both . but to be less ignorant. Sor Juana’s voice is quite unique and different from that of the rest. like many novo-Hispanics at the time. She defended equality regarding the rational capability of females and males. we need to give up the idea that women are naturally weak and unable to choose. it seems that her choice was neither crazy nor the product of intense mystical-religious faith or of her alleged lesbianism.51 Rather. Sor Juana’s emphasis on the material subject brings her closer to modern thought. Her decision was not the result of fear in confronting worldly life. and we have to accept Sor Juana as a young. and from Renaissance neo-Platonism. a skill that many considered the patrimony of men. convent life was the most appropriate. and she did not study in order to learn. are universal. even though. There is no question about her encyclopedic knowledge. she attained much of it through secondary sources. If modern feminism presupposes the active participation of women in the public domain. and directly linked to Renaissance thought. but she was far from them. but rather the product of a strong will to learn and to pursue her studies on her own terms. as she confesses in the Response. Even further. Yet. Thus. and clearheaded woman who considered different alternatives and chose her future.150 Philosophical Genealogies and Feminism in Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz marriage was at the time. From a different perspective. she denounced the feminization of ignorance. the explanation is surprisingly simple: in order to exercise her capacities and devote herself to what she wanted to do. She showed her mastery at subtle and knowledgeable argumentation. for she is only heard in the Viceroy’s palace and across the ocean. Indeed. Her interests. Juana Inés was not an ordinary woman. She did not completely ignore philosophical movements in Europe. Juana can be considered a feminist insofar as she was able to go beyond the societal and epochal understanding of women in general and of nuns in particular.

that which makes a woman be a woman and a man be a man. Juana’s vindication of women qua women would not be accidental. sexuality is required of wise women. this neglect is quite costly if knowing requires asexuality. She should be arguing that only the “intellective” soul frees itself to attain knowledge. and knowledge can still be attained regardless of whether it is embodied in a male or a female. and the need for education of women.María Luisa Femenías 151 the Response and in the Letter of Monterrey. Sor Juana has to accept a moderate version according to which the body. This neglect becomes more significant when considering that she chose the convent in order to find a more “decent” solution to her life. rational strength. a philosophical position. then there seems to be a tension in her view. Thus. must be limited. then the materiality of women is made invisible and subordinated to a nonsexist rationality. If Sor Juana supports the rational capability of women and her feminism by resorting to the separability of the soul from the body. In Sor Juana’s view. Is neuter. But if the soul is still trapped in the materiality of the female body. Romance 48 illustrates this point quite nicely: So in my case. This is what . Sor Juana’s contributions are significant and they combine her feminism and her philosophy. In the Response. When Juana constantly asserts herself as a woman able to learn. By implicitly claiming the superiority of the rational soul over the body. I know only that my body. She used her knowledge. she employs Aristotelian categories but rests on a non-Aristotelian assumption: that a female body is not an obstacle to the use of reason. the connection between being and knowing. As I will never be a woman Who may as woman serve a man. and solid arguments to defend her views. Not to either state inclined. abstract. The foundations and explanatory possibilities of her argument on the equality of men and women in the acquisition of knowledge mark the limits and novelty of her feminism. In this.52 She displayed different techniques and made expert use of Baroque language to build a feminine subject with modern characteristics. Furthermore. she presented self-defensive strategies from her position as an intellectual woman. guardian Of only what my soul consigns. she vindicates the social understanding of women as bodies and men as reason. it is not seemly That I be viewed as feminine. she employed different types of argument and developed three main ideas: wisdom as human self-realization. among them.

In closing. No man would voyage. At the same time. Instead she walks on the razor’s edge. knowingly proceed Or dare to bait the bull to frenzied rage. Her best arguments failed when confronted with the stubbornness and baseness of her superiors. her benefactor. Sor Juana’s work is the first modern vindication of the female condition.152 Philosophical Genealogies and Feminism in Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz is known as Sor Juana’s masculinization. and if we accept that the notions of individuation and separation are the basis of modern categories. or. Were prudent ruder overly dismayed. he might place. The theoretical tensions in her work capture her nonconformist vitality that ultimately led to her painful defeat. I would like to return to one of her sonnets (149): Were the perils of the ocean fully weighed. some of these threads highlight Sor Juana’s inner conflict as a woman/nun and as a soul/intellectual. under pressure and in the face of the unexpected death in Spain of the Marques de Laguna. If it is true that the work of an author can be considered the mirror of his or her time. But Sor Juana does not seem to fight for utopian spaces. one so bold That. even though it is more precisely a kind of “asexualization. could he but read The hidden dangers. as Paz notes. . a version of courtly love. The implicit hierarchy soul/body is consistent with another one: spiritual love/physical love. if Cartesian thought entailed the epistemological success of masculine reason and the rebirth of a conception of knowledge as masculine against the feminine background of the Renaissance. then Sor Juana’s work is closer to Modern Thought than to Renaissance Thought. Should he contemplate the fury of his steed Or ponder where its headlong course might lean. heedless of the danger.” Paz saves Sor Juana from the account provided by commentators like Pfandl who sees her almost as a sexual aberration. on the other? It has been claimed that the Platonic explanation opened a utopian space where women were allowed to attain knowledge and do poetry. emboldened hand To guide the fleeting chariot bathed in gold. Yet Paz explanation is inadequate because it does not acknowledge Sor Juana’s basic break with the notion of the passive/female/subject. The strained balance between the two extremes was lost when.53 Was Sor Juana aware of the apparent contradiction entailed by defending women as subjects of knowledge on one hand and claiming that the intellectual soul is asexual. There’d be no reining had to be obeyed. she was forced to give up learning and poetry. Upon Apollo’s reins.54 In all likelihood. But were there one so daring.

Thus. but in others. The main challenge for many feminist and nonfeminist historians has been to show that women also have a history. from the French house of Borbon. specified that women did not have any claims to the throne and in general were not to inherit anything from it. the kingdom of France where in the fourteenth century. It is worth noting that female thinkers like Sor Juana and Cristine de Pizan needed to build their own genealogies in order to find a historical place. Conclusion The Baroque in general and Sor Juana’s work in particular. When the Spanish crown fell on a prince. We can say that Sor Juana’s work became more significant not only when it was rescued from oblivion. Probably. the kingdom of Spain was better than others. How could Juana fight for this in the seventeenth century? First. The kingdom of Spain had not adopted this law. when confronting problems in the succession to the throne of France. the University of Paris adopted the Salic Law to benefit the house of Valois. this was not necessarily so. Contemporary female thinkers do not need to do the same. Not unlike the “symbolic mother. the interests of contemporary women shed light on the interests of women in the past. Sor Juana lived during a . The Salic Law. In some respects this was positive.55 She demanded what women want: recognition and dignity. Charles III. The relatively recent increase of histories of women captures this. the Derecho Castellano allowed women to legitimately inherit not only material goods but even the Royal Crown. unlike legislation in other European kingdoms. but when women started identifying with her. we do filing work. It is well known that women have not played an active role in the public domain. for example. The private domain and domesticity (Hegel) corresponded in traditional societies to the realm of women. At least in this. We no longer feel that we are starting from scratch. this is the best portrait of Sor Juana.” Juana has emerged as a point of reference in a feminine genealogy that is neither imaginary nor voluntaristic. Spain joined the Enlightenment. that we have neither a past nor a future. Instead. were ignored until the second half of the nineteenth century. that time does not go by.María Luisa Femenías 153 The diversity of life he would embrace And never choose a state to last his span. an ancient law for the Salian Franks that was not much used in the seventh century. we engage in a fruitful discussion with the past and bring to light female spaces that have been excluded from the canon. and particularly for women.

M. Cf. p. C. and particularly nuns. 6. Rodolfo Mondolfo. esp. Probably influenced by Mendez Plancarte. 39 ff. Braidotti. pp.. If feminism started by demanding freedom. Foucault. in Waithe. M. something female philosophers continue to do in our own time. Cf. we should claim the opposite: the development of feminism rescued Sor Juana from her status as merely a literary figure. p. Cf. 1991). aware of her weakness and without any pretenses. 1994). Juana was aware of power relations and knew how to deal with them.” in J. Cf. Ibid.57 Notes 1. The Church put pressure on her only when she lost the protection of the Viceroy. Pizan.56 The development of a feminist and historical conscience gave rise to a fruitful dialogue. History of Women Philosophers (Amsterdam: Kluwer. she had to give up. 3. Varela and F. Gayatri Spivak. The City of the Ladies takes St. 46.. 1988). Despite the difficulty in determining whether Sor Juana read Pizan’s work. A Critique of Post Colonial Reason (Cambridge. introduction by Eric Hicks and Thérese Moreau . I have a tendency to believe that she did. cit. p. Michel Foucault. “La función política de un intelectual. had some independence. 9. MA: Harvard University Press. 10. chapter 4. M. Morkovsky. strictly speaking. Non Sexist Research Methods: A Practical Guide (Boston: Allen & Unwin. and sorority for women. 7. equality. rather than saying that Sor Juana’s feminism contributed to the development of feminism in Latin America. C. Alvarez-Uría (eds. De Livre de la Cité des Dames. M. it tracked the past by taking the present as a starting point. Thus. 1999). If the Enlightenment replaced the Baroque. E. 1960).). La Arqueología del saber (Buenos Aires: Siglo XXI). Sau Diccionario ideologico feminista (Barcelona: Icaria. Pizan was very prolific and her book was widely read in the fifteenth century. Eichler. R. 145. 1989). Nomadic Subjects (New York: Columbia University Press. op. In that situation.154 Philosophical Genealogies and Feminism in Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz time when women. Simone de Beauvoir and Luce Irigaray show this from different perspectives. Augustine’s City of God as a model. 1990). 8. Although Victoria Sau relates feminism to social and political movements toward the end of the eighteenth century. Saber y verdad (Madrid: La Piqueta. p. Morkovsky switches the order of Sor Juana’s last names. 2. Foucault. 27. p. Feminist thinkers started an inquiry into the content of Juana’s writing and began to search for a way to place it in the “canon” of philosophy. 40–41. 29. it is clear that we can find a feminist awareness and an attitude of denounce in Sor Juana. 5. Problemas y éetodos de investigación en la historia de la filosofía (Buenos Aires: EUDEBA. p. 4.. Historicism and Romanticism rediscovered past traditions and memories. 25.

I follow Méndez Plancarte’s numeration as it appears in his edition of the Obras Completas (Mexico: Fondo de Cultura Económica. 12. Santa Cruz argues that the catalogue of women that Juana develops in the Response to support the education of women is doxographical. A Woman of Genius (Salisbury. Trueblood’s translation. and discursive formations. 16. 145. 24. Cristina de Pizán (Palma de Mallorca. O. Genio y figura de Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (Buenos Aires: EUDEBA. 1993. . English version from Alan S. Zanetti has pointed out to me that several studies by Asunción Lavrin show that widows and upper-level class women in New Spain used to administer their estates and fortunes. 460. 19.. 14. 95.María Luisa Femenías 155 (Paris: Moyen Age. Except when otherwise indicated. Paz. 13. op. Her understanding of the genealogy distances her from Foucault’s model. 1985). op. NY: Bilingual Press. This reminds us of how Juan de Huarte de San Juan (1529–1588) dealt with this issue in his Examen de Ingenios. A few centuries later. conditions. 15. Cf. 20. English version from Margaret Sayers Peden’s translation. pp. 17. cit. Denis Rougemont. 25. But in Sor Juana’s case no symbolic space for a poet/learned/woman exists. the English versions of the poems are largely taken from Margaret Sayers Peden’s translation Poems: A Bilingual Anthology (Binghamton. 1992). p. R. Xirau. p. A Sor Juana Anthology (Cambridge. CN: Lime Rock Press. Paz justly criticizes Pfandl’s interpretation but then ends up embracing some of the points that Pfandl’s makes. Gabriela Mogillansky. “Cuan violenta la fuerza del deseo: voz femenina y tradición en la poesía de sor Juana Inés de la Cruz.” Mora 2 (1996). B. Ibid. Medievalia. 22.. R. 18. 21. 122. Paz. This is en even more important topic in Pfandl’s analysis. Cf. Cfr. 11. cit. op. I believe that the fact that she includes mythological figures disproves this thesis. Foucault’s aim is to examine the possibility of sociology of social control. 158. 175 and 285. 1967). unpublished. He takes as a starting point limitations. 161. It was circulated in French and apparently had quite a bearing on Rene Descartes. op. p. 36. pp. “Si los riesgos del mar considerara: Notas sobre sor Juana. Beatriz Colombi. Colombi. cit. 108.” in Jornada de Literatura y Medios. MA: Harvard University Press. 1993). 1988). p. Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz o las trampas de la fe (Buenos Aires: Fondo de Cultura Económica. Facultad de Filosofía y Letras (UBA). 28. 2.. “Sobre feminismos y estrategias … Entrevista a Celia Amoros. Respuesta. (1996). 122–24. 1986). cit. Pernoud. pp.” Mora. Celia Amorós. 1982). the genealogist must recognize whether deep and hidden truths are just fraud. 2000). 27. 123. El amor y Occidente (Barcelona: Kairós. According to his view. 26. and ff. The Examen de Ingenios was published in 1575 and was included in the Inquisition’s Index in 1581. Paz. 23. Emily Dickinson would be referred to as the Tenth Muse as well. 1950).

cit. cit. María Luisa Bemberg and Pfandl. 33. Mexico.” Margarita Pena (ed. 444.” Revista Canadiense de Estudios Hispánicos XI: 1 (1986). “Woman as Body: Ancient and Contemporary Views. ed. “Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz.. pp. Cf. 50. op. 1994).” in A. Puerto Rico (1984). p. Rougemont. Santa Cruz argues that the Response is an apology. 36. p. “Filosofía y feminismo en sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. those who denounced Juana clearly saw more the political than the philosophical consequences of her view of the subject of knowledge.156 Philosophical Genealogies and Feminism in Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz R.. L. Cf. Amorós (ed. pp. 32. 157–82. op. Perelmuter. p. cit. op. 42. 451. 46. op.) en Cuadernos de Sor Juana. pp. Spelman. n. 47. English versions of citations of Primero Sueño are from Alan Trueblood. 120. “Hacia una Universidad centrada en las mujeres. Respuesta. Ibid. Actas del Seminario “Feminismo e Ilustración” (Madrid: Universidad Complutense. op. For a helpful account of Sor Juana’s neo-Platonism and the influence of hermetism in her work see Santa Cruz. secretos y silencios (Barcelona: Icaria. 43. 277–89. In contrast to Ludmer’s position. Adrienne Rich.).” in Santa Cruz et al. 34. 59–72. passim. 48. M. 322. chapter 6 of Las Trampas. Respuesta.” in Rich. 41. English version translated by Alan Trueblood.” La sartén por el mango. 460. Benitez. cit. 35. Morkvosky. Sobre mentiras. Ibid. pp. see also “Filosofía y feminismo en Sor Juana. pp. p.” Hispanic Review 51:2 (1983). 315–324.” Feminist Studies 8:1 (1982). Perelmuter Perez. Cf. C. For example. 31. Coordinacion de Difusi’on cultural (Mexico: UNAM. 440. 1995). See also “Sor Juana y la reflexión epistemológica en Primero Sueño. . Respuesta.. 37. Paz discusses this topic in part five. Respuesta. Respuesta. Filosofia y Literatura en el Mundo Hispanico (Salamanca: Universidad de Salamanca 1997). 164. “La situación enunciativa del Primero Sueño. p. 39. 1992). E.. Despite the apologetic tone of the Response. 38. To negate the first analogy entails the potential negation of the second and the consequent social disorder: Probably. op.” in Waithe (ed. cit. Heredia and R.. p. Ibid. 44. Ibid. “Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz y la reflexión epistemológica en Primero Sueño. 40. I. 69–82. p. cit. R. “Tretas del débil. 6. Sonnets like 148 reinforce the interpretation of her neo-Platonism.).. Benitez. op. Alvarez. “La estructura retórica de la Respuesta a Sor Filotea. 444. 29.” C. 30. Santa Cruz. 45. cit. p. Benitez. Josefina Ludmer. 1983). M. 49. Perelmuter Perez. Mujeres y filosofía (Buenos Aires: CEAL. Sor Juana makes use of rhetorical tricks.

262 ff. p. “Fretygernidad: un concepto politico a debate. 55.” Hispamerica 15 (1986). O. 284 ff. This is an Orphic subject that Plato broaches in Phaedo 62b. L. 172–78 and 283–86. Rich. cit. For her. 45.” Cf. J. 53. Cf.” Revista Internacional de Filosofia Politica 3 (1994): 143–66. . However. The idea Il Affidamento and of identification are central to Muraro. Muraro. and the more one examines her work. Paz. See also “Apuntes sobre la critica feminista y la literatura hispanoamericana. 1991). I underscore “strictly speaking” because some thinkers consider that any affective and caring relationship between women is a lesbian relationship. she did not have much impact on feminism as it was developed in the following centuries. There is much written on the notion of “fraternity. Cf. Plotting Women: Gender and Representation in Mexico (New York: Columbia University Press. M. L’ordine simbolico della madre (Rome: Riuniti Editore. Sor Juana is an exceptional figure from any perspective. 1989). 57. 54..María Luisa Femenías 157 51. the term lesbianism has controversial political and vindicating connotations.. 56. Agra. p.X.. Santa Cruz. op. 278–79. the more one discovers about it. preface passim. Cf. op. cit. Franco. pp. 38. Cf. 52.

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by virtue of some beliefs about them. For instance. Some of the issues debated are the question of the rights of ethnic minorities. this is not a necessary condition for considering them of interest to the history of philosophy and to philosophy itself. III As ideas that constitute the very object of philosophical analysis.Chapter 7 A Philosophical Debate Concerning Traditional Ethnic Groups in Latin America and the History of Philosophy León Olivé Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico During the last ten years or so. the relationship between the state and minority groups. and Luis Villoro from Mexico. Salmerón. While those ideas may be associated with the work of a particular philosopher. I As ideas that are critically incorporated to their theses. In this chapter. shared by members of the relevant communities. and that are helpful in shaping their thought. In order to understand 159 . the state and traditional ethnic groups are the kind of entities they are. Fernando Salmerón. In confronting some problems raised by multiculturalism. and the related problem of cultural diversity and moral relativism. and which have evolved over time for at least one generation. For our purposes here the term “history of philosophy” will be primarily understood as the discussion and critical assimilation of philosophical ideas whose origin can be traced to the past. II As ideas that are characteristic of a philosophical tradition that serves as the background for their analyses. and Villoro deal with past philosophical ideas in at least one of the following three ways. I analyze the role played by the history of philosophy in some of the contributions made to this debate by three leading Latin American philosophers: Ernesto Garzón Valdés from Argentina. the so-called problem of multiculturalism has become a focus of discussion in Latin American philosophy. Garzón Valdés.

who was trained by the intellectual group that surrounded Ortega y Gasset in Spain before the Civil War of the 1930s. . But the state evolves in history as much as the ideas and conceptions that constitute it do.] It is no exaggeration to claim that the master work of Gaos was to make the first step toward a professional treatment of philosophy. as a passionate defense of a doctrine and incessant polemic in other cases. a full understanding of the state and of those ideas requires the analysis of their origin and evolution. Whereas (I) is unproblematic. and Villoro belong to the first generation which in the twentieth century developed a professional treatment of philosophy in Latin America. which in turn support theses (II) and (III). In what follows. . With Gaos the teaching of philosophy moved for the first time from the level of brilliant enthusiast to that of rigorous professional. Therefore. [. Salmerón and Villoro were disciples of José Gaos. I offer reasons for accepting both (II) and (III) as valuable ways of dealing with past philosophical ideas. came to have a solid theoretical formation and were well informed of the history of philosophy. it is necessary to analyze the conceptions of the state held within the state and in a civil society. (II) and (III) raise controversial issues. UNAM]. Salmerón. and always like the show of an absence of rigor and information. . . Referring to the situation of philosophy in Mexico during the first half of the twentieth century.] Gaos began his work in a time during which the teaching of philosophy in Mexico was understood in some cases to be like a more or less literary rhetoric. Valdés. his figure stood out in sea of mediocrity and of charlatanism. in our Department of Philosophy [of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Upon the fall of the Republic. This is a historical-philosophical analysis. and historians in exile from Spain. Those of us who were students of Gaos can testify to how. I focus on some specific samples drawn from the writings of our three philosophers that provide sufficient evidence to make some generalizations about their work.160 Debate: Traditional Ethnic Groups and History of Philosophy the nature and role of the state. [.1 Salmerón and Villoro. through their teacher Gaos. who infused the academy and culture of Mexico and other Latin American countries with fresh ideas and new directions. Gaos immigrated to Mexico with many other thinkers. . Villoro himself claimed that: The most significant philosophical deficiency in our environment had not been a lack of inventiveness. scientists. but a lack of professionalism.

Canadian society. well based on the history of philosophy. Although he had a much different course of development. something similar could be said of the work of the Argentine philosopher. one can claim that their work is representative of the best philosophical work developed in Latin America during the second half of the twentieth century. To speak of multiculturalism in this sense. and on other occasions as a sort of panacea. We are dealing with a concept that refers to models of society that serve as guides for the decisions and actions of the representatives of the states. But the concept of multiculturalism that gives rise to polemics is one that we can call a normative (as opposed to a descriptive) one. justify. the U. society. It is possible to refer to “multicultural” societies. sometimes used with apprehension. in focusing on some of their ideas and discussions. or global society. were some of the first thinkers of Mexico to develop their own views of philosophy and created an original body of philosophical work. among other students of Gaos. and simply to mean that in these societies different cultures coexist. The term multiculturality. This concept has various connotations. So. of the political parties. or better of “multiculturality” (multiculturalidad ). at least insofar as it has been developed by some of its most outstanding representatives in moral and political philosophy. Given the high degree of professionalism and originality present in the work of each of these thinkers. a task that we find at the base of the discussion between the three Latin American authors whose work shall be discussed in this article. conceptually rigorous. and of international . solidly argued. like the Mexican society. Salmerón and Villoro. of the citizens in general. Multiculturalism in a Latin American Context The concept of “multiculturalism” has become quite fashionable. of nongovernmental organizations.S.León Olivé 161 This background was complemented later with study at some European universities. sometimes as an object of criticism. means to refer to this reality. we will be able to support some general theses concerning the role of the history of philosophy in Latin American Philosophy. or as the case may be. who has lived in Germany for years but who has maintained steady intellectual contact with thinkers in Latin America. is factual. and it is necessary to clarify the term in order to articulate a multicultural model which can serve to orient. and when it was pertinent. of the members of the different cultures and their leaders. understood in this way. Ernesto Garzón Valdés. the actions of those agents involved in relations between cultures. it refers to an actual situation.

Huichola. in general . and practices (educational. Other multicultural societies. coming from different cultures and which maintain. Tzotzil. Joseph Raz (1994. and whose members share a language. or Tojolabal cultures. and the relations between different cultures. chapter 2). and who maintain common aspirations and propose to develop a common project. those that are composed of different groups of immigrants. some ethnic particularities (Kymlicka 1995. This is typically the case in the United States. beliefs. there is not one singular type of multicultural society. communities such as that of the Chicanos or of the Hispanics. the relations between cultures and individuals. Today. institutions. Nevertheless. The appropriate multicultural model for each type of society will not necessarily be the same. share many public spaces and services with the rest of society. The multicultural situation in Mexico and in many Latin American countries is different from that in the United States. like Mexico and other Latin American countries. but rather correspond to various intermediary points within this continuum.” that is. values. the majority of them do not live in their own territory but together in vast areas with other groups. etc. which is not the same as the situation in England or in Spain.). or the Scotts in Great Britain. In other cases. In one case. and not of an exclusive or sharp separation between two types of multicultural countries. The concept of “culture” appropriate for tackling the multicultural problematic in these countries is that of a community that has a tradition cultivated over the length of various generations. which really indicates the extremes of a continuum. to a certain extent. Spain or Switzerland) and “polyethnic states. the existing Indigenous communities are the descendents of Indian nations (pueblos) which were situated in those territories since pre-Hispanic times. To be sure. their functions.162 Debate: Traditional Ethnic Groups and History of Philosophy groups that deal with cultural policies. 59) has distinguished between two types of multicultural countries. between those states in which one or more nations coexist within the same state (for example. as in the United States. Will Kymlicka has distinguished between “multinational states. do not fall exclusively within one or the other model. Maya. Both Raz and Kymlicka point to an important distinction. the communities have their own territory and live in geographical zones that are clearly separated. their rights and obligations. This is the concept of culture that has permitted a large quantity of anthropological work to be done and is the sense of culture used when we refer to the Nahua. These models include conceptions concerning cultures. religious. but most significant is that there is no element of geographical separations. technological. such as the people of Quebec in Canada. a history. however.” that is.

they still maintain a social cohesion and. Nevertheless. Yet although they do not have their own territory. and historical traditions.León Olivé 163 with other Indigenous or mestizo groups. it is relatively easy to identify the territory in which they live and with which they can be associated. they maintain their signs of cultural identity. and evolve. because Nahuas do not have their own territory. mestizo groups dispossessed them of the land. is derived from a use that the concept of scientific tradition has had in the philosophy of science in recent years. I shall clarify this notion and discuss how and in what ways it is possible to differentiate between scientific. reproduce. they make use of their own public services and spaces. For this reason. that is to say. are dispersed through broad sectors of national territory and cannot be identified with a territory of their own. for example. as it is used here. the right of those who belong to each culture to actively participate in the construction of a nation and the life of a state. Within this area. the right of a given culture to preserve itself. in many cases the Indigenous groups are the majority in areas that are more or less well delimited.” that is. although they share their public spaces with other groups. However. understood in this way multiculturalism could justify the “right to participation. It is useful to keep this in mind when we discuss the kind of multiculturalism (in the normative sense of this term) most appropriate for a country that contains this sort of group. the case with the various groups of Mayan Indians of Chiapas. they clearly maintain their collective identity and their forms of life. philosophical. they do not fit into either of the two extremes outlined by Raz or Kymlicka. they clearly distinguish themselves from others. In addition. yet they do not interact intensively with the rest of the communities in the country. such as the Nahuas in the center of the Mexican Republic. In many cases. Multiculturalism is understood as a normative concept that could justify the so-called right to difference applied to cultures. that is to say. The discussion between the three thinkers whose work we shall analyze in this article is centered on the possibility of constructing the philosophical foundations of multiculturalism. Other groups. Yet. In what follows. they do not mix much with other social groups. Since one of my main concerns in this paper is to show the role that traditions have played in the debates concerning multiculturalism in Latin America. in the Southeast of Mexico. . flourish. This is. The Problem of Distinguishing Between Traditions The notion of a philosophical tradition. The Nahuas case is not the case of the Quebecois. it is to the problem of defining traditions that I now turn. these groups lived in land that was part of their communal property. and in any case.

methods. and methods utilized by some historical figures whose work is recognized as a cornerstone of that theoretical tradition. and methodological principles that establish the range of problems considered legitimate within the discipline.164 Debate: Traditional Ethnic Groups and History of Philosophy Systems of action and knowledge that constitute what we prototypically call science are systems in which the practices of accepting beliefs and of realizing actions based on the epistemologically trustworthy procedures have prevailed. Yet. an object of study. There are three basic ways in which traditions establish standards for the treatment of problems: 1. Velasco. A tradition. A tradition within a discipline has a conceptual component. Maxwell’s equations for electromagnetism. how they are to be discussed. I consider a scientific tradition to include not only paradigmatic examples but also a system of concepts. and practices of investigation. 146). 1997). and ideas of the past. This involves not only a conceptualization but also recognition of the object of study and of the appropriate means and methods for dealing with the object of study. which is a dynamic system that originates at some moment in time and endures for a period of time. techniques for approaching it. Newton’s laws in classical mechanics. can be identified. and Mendel’s laws in genetics are typical cases of landmarks that form part of the traditions of these disciplines. Many of these systems of beliefs. through the ideas. Among those practices. and what is the criteria to be used to accept a given proposed solution to these problems. going beyond Laudan’s view. Both . or through prototypical techniques of outstanding figures. This concept of tradition can be extended to nonscientific disciplines. tradition establishes the types of problems that are considered to be legitimate. concepts. a tradition also comes together around a sphere of problems. theses. I understand a scientific tradition as the set of historical achievements of a discipline. we find experimental techniques in disciplines like physics. in general. With respect to the problems that a discipline attempts to resolve. Following Laudan (1996. the work of Pasteur on spontaneous generation. concepts. This can be illustrated by the debate between the evolutionists and creationists that has arisen on various occasions in the United States. theses. and practices have become entrenched with the passage of time and have established what various philosophers call scientific traditions (cf. Furthermore. of observation in disciplines such as anthropology or archaeology. in the case of experimental traditions. in the sciences or in philosophy. A tradition within a discipline is more than merely a chain of theories. which are considered to be the landmarks of that discipline. and dialogical methods and argumentation in philosophical schools and traditions. metaphysical commitments.

This set of problems stands in contrast to the problems of the genesis and the development of knowledge. it is worth mentioning a tradition in epistemology. The creationist’s tradition has never been recognized as scientific by communities with a scientific tradition or by the rest of society in general. a tradition might take a theory’s ability to explain a series of previously known phenomena to be a sufficient reason for accepting it. Another tradition might demand that the predictions cover new and surprising phenomena. for example. In the field of philosophy. Darwin. but rather problems to be solved by the empirical sciences. Traditions establish standards with respect to techniques of investigations. This does not mean that the theory is static. while others endure. these are the kinds of distinctions that allow us to speak of an analytic tradition. according to which the legitimate philosophical problems posed by knowledge are those related to its justification. be it for individuals or communities. a notion that continues to be applied in the treatment of ethical problems. a phenomenological . for example. 2. the evolution of species is a fact verified by many observations and the problem consists in explaining evolution. New predictions in the field led to a practically unanimous acceptance of the theory of continental drift in those years (Laudan 1996. 3. made one of the most significant contributions to tradition within evolutionary biology. Within the field of the sciences. but its modifications are made in reference to the concepts established by the tradition. For the evolutionary tradition. In philosophy. Some traditions are never recognized except by a small group of believers. with a broad base of recognition. for example. This is the difference between those who accepted the theory of continental drift before 1966 and those who did not accept it until the evidence was collected in 1965 and 1966. The concept of “natural selection” is one of the central concepts in the tradition that Darwin helped to forge and that has been widely developed. at least in the twentieth century. and goals. Creationists remain foreign to this tradition. 239). Kant consolidated the notion of a person as rational and autonomous subject. So-called naturalized epistemology poses a challenge to this tradition of philosophy. for example. The creationists question that evolution is a fact.León Olivé 165 traditions clash precisely in their determination of the character of the fundamental problems that they intend to deal with. which members of the camp just mentioned do not consider legitimate philosophical problems. In philosophy. methods. establishing the mechanism of natural selection to explain the evolution of the species. Tradition also establishes the fundamental concepts by which we come to recognize certain problems as legitimate problems.

But we could hardly find any serious philosophical work that is not connected to one or more philosophical traditions in the sense that traditions constitute the background for the analyses of that given work. traditions are historical in the sense that they have a history and they evolve in time. There are no necessary and sufficient conditions that we can appeal to in order to decide which tradition is scientific and which is not (though it claims to be). even if they can be connected to a tradition. or philosophical? .166 Debate: Traditional Ethnic Groups and History of Philosophy one. methodological. The concepts and the theses that scientists and philosophers use and defend at any given time and that carry on a certain tradition are not. Others will draw concepts. But philosophy benefits greatly from dialogue and controversy. Considering this. it is possible to trace a line of development of theories. From the point of view adopted in this work. Generally. Yet sometimes they inaugurate a tradition through a radical break with a previously existing tradition. Yet. there are no general criteria to distinguish between scientific traditions and philosophical or ideological traditions. or any we can use to decide which traditions are philosophical ones. In this sense. Many. or in the more rare sense that the work substantially contributes to a new tradition. can we still attempt a reasonable separation between a scientific and a pseudo-scientific tradition. which may be more or less easily identifiable.2 Completely innovative works in philosophy may not be situated within a tradition. in general. if not most. concepts. Some philosophers may be faithful to just one tradition. there are and have been traditions whose history has not depended on them. it is not necessary to work “within” or in connection to just one tradition. theses. Thus. which precisely point to the evolution of a tradition. the actual concepts and theses used by contemporary philosophers may not be. they are not exactly the same as those concepts defended by the original historical philosophers who founded the tradition. I understand philosophical traditions as dynamic conceptual schemes. However. Sometimes this occurs by means of a controversy. Usually they inaugurate a tradition. technical. exactly the same used and defended by the founders of the tradition in question. and traditions often evolve through debates. But whereas dialogue and controversies are seen as healthy practices for the development of traditions. or between a scientific and a philosophical tradition? How can we label a discipline and the theoretical. among others. and techniques. as a rule. methods. In sum. and methods from different traditions. and axiological plans within it as scientific or pseudo-scientific. philosophical works have conceptual connections with more than one tradition. and a Marxist one. The techniques also develop. But those historical figures are generally considered points of references that identify the tradition. the dynamic conceptual scheme within which the author is trying to develop his work.

in the field of philosophy. and views will be considered scientific if they can be tied conceptually or methodologically to a tradition considered to be paradigmatically scientific. it is virulently opposed to a scientific tradition. and of its methodological and axiological plans. Analogously. For example. evolutionary biology. and of the methods and goals sought on the basis of a tradition. their compatibility with other accepted relevant theories. Certain activities. the legitimacy of the resources used to conceptualize a problem. not because it stopped satisfying certain criteria of science. and of the techniques applied (which must be traced within a tradition). of the methods by which one tries to provide a solution. the creationists do not have a socially recognized scientific tradition they can appeal to. Many new fields of a discipline arise by way of a separation of previously established fields and traditions. the experts. but rather because it simply does not belong to any scientific tradition. attempts of creationists to be recognized as scientists by other scientific communities and by society at large fail. 3. creationism is not scientific. the acceptance or rejection of the theory or hypothesis in terms of the available reasons and evidence. The following must be evaluated: 1. be it scientific or philosophical. of the conceptual resources. Those who practice the discipline. and for this reason we appeal to these traditions to distinguish between the scientific and the pseudo-scientific. the theory. practices. evaluate the legitimacy of the problems. it is legitimate to speak of traditions through reference to certain well-established paradigms. In this sense. Indeed. theories. and 4. when appropriate. Thus. This is the case of cellular and molecular biology. At present. The determination of the legitimacy referred to in (1) and (2) is made on the basis of the tradition of a discipline that is socially recognized as a paradigm in the relevant field. 2. the legitimacy of the problems addressed or claimed to be addressed. for example. hypotheses. established a priori. the Western “Socratic tradition” is based on an attitude and manner of .León Olivé 167 The demarcation requires a specific analysis of the problematic case. In contrast to evolutionary biology. of its concepts and its central theses. but it is not derived from that tradition. bodies of knowledge and practices are accepted as paradigms of science. and it never did: it did not arise as a result of any scientific tradition. the acceptability of the concepts. and in this case. and the hypothesis in question in relation to common knowledge accepted by the pertinent community. namely.

the full understanding of some entities requires the analysis of philosophical ideas that have an origin in the past and that have evolved in time. like the state or traditional cultures. It is also possible to speak of a “Kantian tradition” based on certain problems and the way in which these are approached and resolved. But in those processes some philosophical ideas are necessarily involved. is comprised of a set of beliefs. but they are also philosophical at the same time. elaborating.3 It remains for us to now explore the connection between the notion of tradition that I have worked out and its relevance to more contemporary debates concerning multiculturalism and the significance of history for philosophy in a Latin American context. principles. One reason exists for saying that the analysis of the historical process of the development of the state or of a traditional culture. of a Kantian tradition within philosophy. and criticizing arguments. Therefore. following the lines just sketched. rationally examining beliefs. institutions. But there are paradigms that can serve as reference points. we can speak of a Confucian tradition. for example. I take them to be part of the history of philosophy. which would take teachings of Confucius as a starting point. of an experimental tradition within the field of science. This enables us to speak. A historical or sociohistorical tradition. and of a Jewish. for example. It proceeds by placing emphasis on the individual skills used in following. It would be useless to look for necessary and sufficient conditions that would allow us to distinguish between scientific. Christian. These are analyses of a historical kind. and values whose foundations are in turn analyzed and criticized. The Constitution of Social Objects The key thesis for understanding past philosophical ideas as ideas that constitute the very object of philosophical analysis (presented at the beginning of the article as thesis III) is that some social entities. Likewise. with these problems and solutions having their point of departure and paradigmatic treatment in the works of Kant. norms. philosophical. is required to fully understand them: they are dynamic systems. of conceptions of the world. It is true that it is possible to have a partial understanding of the characteristics of a system . or Muslim tradition or of an Indigenous Latin American religious tradition within the field of history.168 Debate: Traditional Ethnic Groups and History of Philosophy analyzing problems through critical and rigorous thinking. are constituted by some specific philosophical ideas. and sociohistorical traditions. and practices that go beyond the fields of science and philosophy and are historically and socially recognized. Since those objects are historical. their understanding requires an analysis of the historical processes of their origin and development. of values.

but still enter public debates . Such knowledge constitutes historical knowledge. It can be objected that I am referring to social entities and to the kind of knowledge that is the concern of the empirical social sciences. All of them can be approached from the perspective of philosophy as a discipline of learning or from less formal and less rigorous. Some of the philosophical issues raised by multiculturalism are different conceptions of the person. of moral and legal rights. but perhaps politically more committed conceptions that enter into the constitution of social objects. philosophy necessarily participates in the production of knowledge of those entities. their analysis and evaluation is required. in their work about the problems of multiculturalism Garzón Valdés. ideas defended in the past by Latin American philosophers and thinkers. even though we cannot expect philosophy to say and explain all that must be said and explained about them. and Villoro refer to philosophical ideas of the past to reflect on and analyze them. of the state. The Role of Philosophical Traditions in the Debate Concerning Multiculturalism in Latin America Although in different ways. including history. to achieve. They bring attention to ideas of classical philosophers in the Western tradition. or can reasonably be expected. and that this is not what philosophy is expected. All of these issues require a conceptual understanding that is not exhausted by empirical research alone. Therefore. Knowledge of its past reactions to external and internal changes is also necessary to understand its tendencies and to make predictions or design policies to intervene in its behavior. it is not correct to expect philosophy to obtain full knowledge of that kind of entity. the term philosophy refers to reflections and discussions more or less systematic. By “philosophical ideas of the past” I mean ideas that cannot necessarily be identified with a particular philosopher. as much as it participates in the constitution of them.León Olivé 169 and of the way it works just by knowing its present state. But a more complete knowledge of the system requires knowledge of its past states and of the admissible range of variation of the variables that define its identity. But insofar as philosophical ideas necessarily enter in their constitution. Salmerón. and of the role of one’s culture in the world. of the relationship between individuals and the culture where they are born and where they grow up. and ideas defended by philosophers elsewhere. which are necessary for the existence and preservation of those objects. Indeed. When I say that philosophical ideas are constitutive of social entities. and this is a philosophical task.

Traditional ethnic groups should enforce them provided that they do not clash with national and international legislation on basic human rights and that the faults involved are not serious crimes that should be dealt with at the federal level. the idea that there is a moral obligation to respect other cultures and not to interfere or intervene in their internal affairs is defended on relativistic grounds. Second. or the grounds for acknowledging some rights and legislating them. whether or not there are universal standards of moral evaluation. and the latter is certainly a moral right. so that their members can freely choose and steer their way of life. Relativism is the thesis that there are different cultures. and generally within the political sphere. Most defenders of the view that those groups have such rights do not understand “autonomy” as meaning “complete independence” or “absolute sovereignty. as individuals and as a group. it is necessary to concede political autonomy to those groups. Those debates may be carried on in the media. They also claim that the state should accept these groups’ traditional moral and legal codes. they defend these groups’ right to elect their authorities in their traditional ways. But this is an issue that arises quite often in discussions on multiculturalism.” Instead.170 Debate: Traditional Ethnic Groups and History of Philosophy concerning some issues. is whether or not traditional ethnic groups should enjoy the right to establish autonomous political regimes. One of the issues under discussion. personal identity and autonomy require the preservation of the traditional culture. for example the nature of the state. as they have as a matter of fact for many years. each one with different standards of . the argument in favor of the political autonomy of indigenous groups in countries like Mexico can be analyzed in two steps. at least for those traditional ethnic groups. or any set of norms and values in any culture—is not at stake. First. First. It should be noted that so far the problem of the scope of validity of moral norms and values—that is. criteria for moral evaluation that could legitimately be applied to any action. in parliaments. Thus preservation of the culture is also a necessary condition for the exercise of the autonomy of the individual. in order to preserve that traditional culture. the very exercise of individual autonomy. the right of individuals to choose the way of life they prefer.4 Two reasons are usually given in favor of this view. the preservation of the identity of the group—under the specific circumstances of these traditional groups—is a necessary condition for the constitution and preservation of the personal identity of their members. and they claim that the legitimacy of the chosen authorities should be recognized by the state. Second. depends on whether their culture can offer them a range of choices. Sometimes.5 Thus. and which at present is one of the most vibrant political problems in Mexico.

It is worth examining his ideas in some detail because by doing so we will be able to understand the main points at issue. But this again—so the argument goes—is a form of imperialism. according to this argument. . which differ from those in modern societies. and they cannot be judged from the point of view of modern Western societies on pain of these modern Western societies facing a charge cultural imperialism. Accepting this dilemma. we should respect other culture’s point of view. there are no universal criteria that can be applied to evaluate and make moral judgments concerning those societies. Garzón Valdés has reacted against this kind of argument. or actions on ethical and legal matters. So. All criteria for value judgments are culturally bound. The Kantian Tradition In a recent paper. no culture has the right to impose their own moral views and values on others. The imperialism would result from the fact that. and norms of any culture. Garzón Valdés claims that if these distinctions are taken into account. and that quite often when people propose such standards they are really putting forward the standards of their own culture as if they were truly universal. The confusion between cultural diversity and moral enrichment. norms. Other people argue that no one has proved that those universal standards exist. some people argue that there are indeed standards of moral evaluation that are universally valid. or accepting that every standard of moral evaluation is relative to a specific culture. Above all. particularly their moral and legal systems. The confusion between tolerance and moral relativism. In particular. 2. if we want to avoid imperialism. which can therefore be applied to evaluate customs. their validity does not depend on any specific context or culture. and that there are no neutral standards that can be used to make valid evaluations of one culture from the point of view of another one. values.León Olivé 171 moral evaluation. the previous arguments are shown to be fallacious. actions. it is argued that traditional ethnic groups have their own moral and legal codes. Garzón Valdés refers to five kinds of basic confusions involved in the discussion. and no neutral criteria can be established to approve or condemn values.6 He argues that those defending these sorts of relativistic positions—position that make criticism impossible on pain of imperialism—usually overlook some important conceptual distinctions. that is. Some people think that one has to choose between either accepting that there are universal standards for moral evaluation. and tries to clarify the concepts and theses underlying them: 1. they all are relative to specific cultures.

his goal is to reinforce his point that sensible tolerance must go along with a set of prohibitions. Thus. silly tolerance. that is to say. tolerance becomes irrational. It is to that effect that he quotes Plato. The dilemmas dissolve once it becomes clear that they emerge out of basic or derived confusions. 4.”9 Garzón Valdés’s interest here is not in ancient Greek scholarship. pure tolerance without any constraint. just. and wise person. since they are the relevant ones for the theses I want to argue for in this paper. the distinction between sensible tolerance. Through this quotation. Garzón Valdés argues that indiscriminate tolerance. Therefore. Good reasons will be those that presuppose a minimum of objectivity. The confusion between legal rights and moral rights.172 Debate: Traditional Ethnic Groups and History of Philosophy 3. Garzón Valdés reminds us of a paradigmatic example of a praiseworthy action by a fundamental figure in Western history and philosophy.” he voted against the majority. According to Garzón Valdés. He might have used any other example. Garzón Valdés refers to Socrates to illustrate the fact that if some limits are violated. that is. he stresses how Socrates maintained respect for human dignity in spite of having to impose his preference in a “dictatorial” way and thus showing intolerance for the vox populi. The confusion between cultural unity and institutional unity.” Garzón Valdés quotes Socrates saying: “I made up my mind that I would run the risk. the quotation . The difference between them lies in the reasons given in defense of tolerance. With respect to the first point. sensible tolerance should be distinguished from silly tolerance. or could have abstained from referring to other philosophers to formulate and communicate his idea. that is. 5. contrary to the law. and 5. He exploits Socrates’ figure as a paradigm of an honest. Indeed. However. and intolerance must be done on the basis of the quality of the reasons given for being tolerant with respect to specific issues. ends up eliminating every regulation of human behavior. He suggests that this is what Socrates shows when. The confusion between genesis and the development of personal identity and the need to preserve and promote the development of the community where one was born. as senator and having the presidency “at the trial of the generals who had not taken up the bodies of the slain after the battle of Arginusae. For the majority had “proposed to try [the generals] in a body. having law and justice with me. rather than take part in your injustice because I feared imprisonment and death. 3. “the acceptance of rational criteria for the defense or condemnation” (of a particular action or system of actions).8 In the first historical quotation of his paper.7 I focus on points 1. these basic confusions give rise to derived confusions and to apparent dilemmas. and refers to the morally commendable attitude of Socrates. on pain of becoming unwise tolerance.

The next historical reference appears within the context of the explanation of the conditions that have to be met in order for reasons to be considered good reasons for tolerance. have to be measured against that tradition. that reached maturity in the eighteenth century with the work of Kant. which should be assessed on its strength as a reason. Through that quotation. The reason. He sees them as exemplar historical figures that exercised tolerance and gave good reasons in its favor. or old ideas restated. or old ideas restated. One of his concerns is to argue in favor of universal principles of rationality as the foundation for a critical morality of universal validity. There is yet another function that the quotation performs here: it reinforces the idea that what he is arguing for is as valid today in Latin America as it was in Greece more than two thousand years ago. that is to say. are either compatible with the tradition. becomes more persuasive and easy to understand and to accept if it is illustrated through an example of this kind. or they are not. But the tradition plays a further role of excluding some ideas not on the basis of logical incompatibility alone. Garzón Valdés illustrates the concept of sensible tolerance through references to the ideas of John Locke and Bartolomé de las Casas. as we will see when we examine the third confusion. offering it as one good reason for accepting his view concerning the need to establish limits for tolerance. of regard for the interests of others considered as autonomous agents.León Olivé 173 has a pedagogical function. he is emphasizing the universality of his claim. New proposals. but Valdés also uses it to convince the reader. Appealing to that tradition reinforces his arguments. By this. The reference to Plato’s work and to Socrates’ decision and views concerning tolerance is an appeal to the tradition that informs Garzón Valdés entire philosophical work. Garzón Valdés is arguing against those who accept moral relativism. and the universal validity of the reasons he is adducing to sustain it. This again helps Garzón Valdés make his case by showing that sensible tolerance is a concept that refers to an attitude that has been present and valued in Western society for centuries. This is to a great extent a purely logical matter: new ideas. stressing their reasons in defense of religious tolerance. . He argues that good reasons are those that assume an attitude of impartiality. Whereas the reference to Socrates was made in order to reinforce his idea about the limits of tolerance. He makes it clear that his thought is within a tradition that started in Greece twenty-five centuries ago. and that goes on vigorously in our days. and at the same time highlights that he is systematically stating ideas that have been known and defended for centuries. and if they do not fit in. But the tradition that informs Garzón Valdés’s work is one that demands reasons. they are to be excluded.

Another false dilemma follows from the confusion between tolerance and moral relativism (understood as a necessary consequence of cultural diversity). Again. Garzón Valdés quotes Michele de Montaigne: “It seems we have no other test of truth and reason than the example and pattern of the opinions and costumes of the country we live in. the perfect and accomplished manners in all things.174 Debate: Traditional Ethnic Groups and History of Philosophy he means agents capable of formulating their own plans of life as long as they do not violate the harm principle articulated by John Stuart Mill. According to him. or one defends the universal validity of human rights. It is a mistake to think that it is possible to be tolerant only on relativistic grounds. the perfect government. in which case it would not be possible to defend the universality of human rights. or else they should rationally defend democracy. But Garzón Valdés claims that this is to accept a kind of naturalistic fallacy. from the mere description of habits and customs of a given society. He emphasizes that he has been addressing a longstanding confrontation of ideas in the Western philosophical world. Good reasons that he is restating in a systematic form. paternalism is ethically justified). in which case they would be unable to articulate an objective defense of democracy. And with this comes another historical reference. only silly tolerance can accept moral relativism as its foundation. In line with that tradition. the reference to a classical figure here. . “Moral isolationism” postulates the abandonment of every prescriptively universal perspective in morality. Garzón Valdés makes it clear that sensible tolerance has nothing to do with moral relativism. nor can it be inferred that such diversity is valuable per se. with good reasons. insofar as they are not incompetent (in which case. the inference should be made as to what is morally correct in it. It can be stated as follows: either one is tolerant. in this case to show that those defending moral relativism also have venerable predecessors. he argues. People who make this mistake and that at the same time accept the correct idea that tolerance is a characteristic of democratic societies.10 But for Garzón Valdés this is an example of a confusion that derives from the basic ones already mentioned. where there is a strong tradition that has established the theses he is arguing for. although not necessary for his argument. plays the role of stressing the tradition that constitutes the background of his analysis. From the very existence of diverse cultures. it is not possible to make the inference that all the moral norms that as a matter of fact exist in them should be respected. There is always the perfect religion. According to it.”11 Garzón Valdés makes it clear that he is not addressing a brand new idea or a brand new confusion. face a false dilemma. For they think that they should either be democratic (tolerant). but then one becomes an intolerant ethnocentrist. but then they would have to embrace intolerance.

but it should be noted that his defense of the idea of a critical morality. shared with other members of their group. Herder postulated that the need to belong to a group where there is community of language. Garzón Valdés argues that those who believe in the existence of the dilemma disregard the fact that. That minimal ethical basis is at the origin of the modern idea of human rights: “the idea that every rational human being has to accept two basic propositions: the right to self-defense and the prohibition to arbitrarily or unnecessarily harm other human beings. We will see that Salmerón mentions Herder’s idea with approval.”12 No rational person could reject these two principles. people belonging to those minorities would not be deprived of the right. that is universally valid. when examining Salmerón’s view.13 Article 27 of the International Agreement on Civil and Political Rights. According to Garzón Valdés. approved by the United Nations on 19 December. and a common project is as basic as the need to have nourishment or shelter. is rooted in the Kantian tradition. there is a minimal ethical basis that makes possible the coexistence of diverse cultures. memory. established the following: In states with different ethnic. In contrast. Garzón Valdés completely rejects that idea. from a moral point of view. Garzón Valdés argues that it emerges when people overlook the distinction between positive morality and critical morality. Here Garzón Valdés explicitly alludes to an idea of Johann Gottfried von Herder. to have their own cultural life. The fourth confusion that Garzón Valdés discusses consists in the belief that there is an inextricable relationship between cultural unity and institutional unity. and critical morality is the set of principles that satisfies criteria of universalizability and impartiality. Positive morality is the set of moral principles accepted as a matter of fact in a given society. that between cultural diversity and moral enrichment. under pain of dissolution. which Fernando Salmerón has brought into the debate. With respect to the second confusion. Here I shall not give further analysis of Garzón Valdés’s ideas on this issue. to practice their own religion. territory. 1966. On the basis of this decree . and no society could rationally reject them. and to use their own language. as we shall see shortly. and proposes its incorporation within the Kantian tradition. I will analyze the difference between these two authors below. religious or linguistic minorities. The third confusion is that between the genesis and development of personal identity and the need to preserve and promote the development of the community in which one is born. He refers to international and national laws that have established exceptions to the applicability of major laws on the basis of group membership.León Olivé 175 Thus. this presupposes the idea that collective entities can be moral subjects and this idea is simply wrong.

and here Garzón Valdés quotes Luis Villoro. he argues that the longstanding problem of Latin American countries has been the inefficiency of the laws or their application. and one should not be misled by the fact that legal rights must be grounded on moral rights. Moral rights can only belong to individuals. This is a historical remark by means of which he suggests a partial explanation of the disastrous situation in which ethnic minorities live in Latin America. Garzón Valdés rejects this idea and the underlying assumption that there is a “natural right” of cultures to selfperpetuation. Again. Besides. The idea used to support this view is that cultural rights require institutional protection. One quotation is from the Peruvian Manuel González . Indeed. But this is to give priority to the groups over and above individuals and their rights. This may suggest that collective entities can be moral subjects. he offers two quotations. One of those is the right of ethnic groups to have a peaceful and secure existence.176 Debate: Traditional Ethnic Groups and History of Philosophy different rules have been established at the international and national level that may conflict with more general laws. However. this time not to appeal to his own tradition. sometimes there are formulations. mostly based on correct moral principles. According to Garzón Valdés the problem is that exceptions to the law on the basis of alleged collective rights are often grounded on the idea that ethnic groups have moral rights. There is nothing wrong with legislation—such as the project of Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples—acknowledging collective rights.14 The fifth confusion is that between legal and moral rights. namely that what is urgently required in Latin American countries is the effective enforcement of current laws. when he proposes his positive idea. not only legal status and recognition.15 Garzón Valdés thinks that the assumption of collective moral rights includes the postulation of nonindividual entities as moral agents. it multiplies entities in the way that was so irritating to William of Ockham. on the basis that cultural structures give the context of choice for individuals. and this is an incorrect anthropomorphic conception of society. but to support the idea that a great deal of the problem in Latin America is the proclivity of state authorities to act beyond the law.16 This is the last reference to a classical thinker in that paper. However.” whose claims have to be evaluated from an ethical perspective and that every ethical evaluation has to consider how individuals are affected. an idea that Garzón Valdés completely rejects. not moral ones. But it should always be clear that the rights acknowledged in such legislation are legal rights. He refers approvingly to Chandran Kukathas’s idea that cultures are mutable historical groups “associations of individuals. that may suggest confusion between legal and moral rights. Villoro has claimed that collective rights are a condition of individual human rights. he concludes.

they also play a rhetorical role in helping him to persuade his reader. the Marquis De Mancera prove this. or may remain implicit. In addition to playing a pedagogical function in helping the author to communicate his ideas clearly. It may modify the tradition. these two historical quotations play the same role some of his historical-philosophical quotations played for his philosophical ideas. Ninety years before Garzón Valdés was writing. and generally there are. he brings out evidence for his view. as the paper of Garzón Valdés shows. they perform the rational function of offering reasons that support his claims. 3. obedience is corrupted. (substantial or methodological). In this case.”18 For Garzón Valdés’s sociological-political-historical explanation. Herder and Kant These points with respect to the role of traditions in philosophy can be more clearly seen if we turn to some aspects of Salmerón’s main paper on . Even if a work deals with pure conceptual analyses related to contemporary problems. or to old ones seen from a new perspective). In 1648 he wrote: “in faith to the distance. That reference can be made explicit. for instance by incorporating new elements to it. But above all. the connection is established via the web of concepts the work resorts to. However. as he himself does to some extent. It may enrich the tradition by finding new applications of it (either to new problems.17 However.León Olivé 177 Prada. A particular work related to a specific tradition. and the substantial theses that it defends. a few historical references are inserted at the appropriate time in his argument and play the role of showing the tradition to which his work is related. But even if it is not made explicit. The following statements of the Viceroy of Peru. connections between the author’s ideas and one or more traditions within Western philosophical thought. the methods it uses. and he does not have an explicit historical interest. may have one or several of the following consequences with respect to it: 1. The state of affairs he is reporting already existed in the seventeenth century. Garzón Valdés develops his argument with scarce historical references. This evidence helps him to persuade the reader. 2. It can criticize the tradition to the extent of breaking with it. there is more peace and tranquility in the towns less frequently visited by authorities. but furthermore above all it supports his idea. To summarize. this much was known two and a half centuries ago—Garzón Valdés goes on. there may be. González Prada said: “There is a revealing fact: there is more well-being in the distant enclosures of the big haciendas.

178 Debate: Traditional Ethnic Groups and History of Philosophy the problem of multiculturalism. and referring to contemporary philosophers like Steven Lukes and Larry Laudan. In his paper. “which can offer security. But he insists that the concept of dignity should also be at the basis of the acknowledgment of collective rights of traditional ethnic groups. But to a great extent Salmerón wants to show that the concepts .20 Salmerón stresses that in modern philosophy there has been an intertwining of two ideas that are central for the problem of multiculturalism.” and the humanist ideals of universality and tolerance. They are the idea that there is a human need to belong to a community. “Ética y diversidad cultural. memory. nor to offer a summary or an analysis of a series of philosophical ideas of the past that are relevant for the contemporary problem of multiculturalism. Salmerón initiates his discussion of the politics of recognition. and territory. Let us examine some of his key moves in order to analyze the relevance of his historical comments. since it is at the basis of proposals for solutions at the legal and political levels. whereas the concept of identity is the one that leads to the problem of recognition. Rather. Salmerón offers reasons for these ideas through the discussion and critical assimilation of both contemporary and past philosophers. The importance of highlighting those historical aspects will emerge in due course. He is not attempting to write an essay from the point of view of the history of philosophy. The condition for recognition of differences and of collective identities and collective rights is the respect and preservation of individual dignity.” He focuses on this as a moral problem. welfare and conditions of self-fulfillment for the individual. through a common language. and autonomy. Salmerón attempts to highlight some of the historical aspects of the concepts that are intertwined in the contemporary debate on identity and cultural diversity.”19 Salmerón primarily addresses the issue of the so-called “right to difference” or the “politics of recognition.21 His intention is neither to give an account of the historical conditions that led to that intertwining of these ideas. Salmerón argues that ultimately the politics of recognition has to be based on the concept of the person as a moral agent. customs.or herself. But he stresses that the problem requires a whole series of concepts that are inextricably linked together: dignity. Salmerón reminds us that the concept of dignity lies at the basis of the politics of equality. since specific personal and collective identities are the ones that struggle for recognition. He notes that Johann Gottfried von Herder was one of the first philosophers to defend the idea that it is a human need to belong to a particular group to which the individual feels attached and identifies him. identity. Specific identities are emphasized on the basis of differences that characterize groups’ members as compared to other citizens. After discussing moral and epistemological relativism.

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necessary to understand the problems posed by multicultural societies are not new by any means. They have a long history. Their meaning has been configured since the origins of modern philosophy and their origin can be traced back to Renaissance thinkers.22 However, this does not mean that those concepts and their relationships have remained static. On the contrary, they have evolved, and although he does not say so explicitly, Salmerón’s work is a contribution to the further development and articulation of the web of concepts required to successfully approach the problem of multiculturalism. I mentioned before that central to that web of concepts is Herder’s idea of the basic human need to belong to a group. Salmerón proposes to incorporate this idea within a Kantian framework, thus introducing a change in the Kantian tradition. Furthermore, he suggests that Herder’s idea can be justified from a moral point of view, in terms of one of the ends that Kant’s ethics acknowledges as duties, namely, promotion of the happiness of others. Communities should be committed to the happiness of their members. But since happiness could be achieved in different forms, according to people’s plans of life, its achievement requires the participation of everybody in the community and it should be a matter of public concern. Salmerón argues that this can be done while respecting the dignity and autonomy of individuals.23 Thus, Salmerón proposes a model in which the concept of dignity can be applied to communities, and the notion of the rights of communities goes beyond the notion of legal rights, without incurring the confusion suggested by Garzón Valdés. But, at the same time, he leaves the sphere of personal dignity untouched. We saw before that Garzón Valdés’s thought can be identified with the Kantian tradition, and it is clear that the same goes for Salmerón’s work, insofar as the central concepts and theses of their theories are closely linked to those of that tradition.24 We also mentioned that whereas Salmerón tries to incorporate Herder’s idea within the Kantian framework, and to develop a coherent view, Garzón Valdés completely rejects this idea. This poses an interesting problem and a challenge for the thesis I am arguing for, since it seems that both authors defended opposite views within the same tradition. Could we say that one of them made a logical mistake? I think the answer must be negative. Sometimes the acceptance or rejection of an idea is not a simple matter of logically analyzing the possibility of its inclusion in the accepted tradition. Instead, it is a matter of the extent to which an author who wants to incorporate a new idea into an existing tradition is willing and able to reorganize and enhance the tradition without producing an incoherent system. This is the path Salmerón followed.


Debate: Traditional Ethnic Groups and History of Philosophy

The difference of opinion between Garzón Valdés and Salmerón extends to the concept of personal identity. Garzón Valdés correctly distinguishes between personal identity and social identity and emphasizes that they must not be confused. On the basis of this difference he suggests that it makes sense to talk about a “cosmopolitan identity” or better, this time resorting again to Kant, to talk about “citizens of the world.” He concludes that there is no reason to suppose that a “citizen of the world” or a cosmopolitan individual has a less developed identity than people brought up and identified with specific local cultures. Neither Salmerón nor Villoro defend the identification of personal identity with social identity. Nor would they defend any cultural tradition at any price. Salmerón was quite explicit in rejecting the idea that personal identity can be reduced to its social role in a given community “overlooking the autonomy of the individual for moral action.”25 And Garzón Valdés is not taking issue with Salmerón in this respect. However, Garzón Valdés rules out the possibility of extending the concept of dignity to collective entities. And he rules out the idea of seriously considering that there is an important contribution of the social environment to personal identity that has moral consequences. Salmerón, in contrast, thinks that these ideas can be coherently incorporated within a Kantian framework. He agrees with Garzón Valdés that fundamental rights are individual rights.26 Moreover, fundamental individual moral rights set limits that cannot be trespassed in the name of collective rights. This is the negative end pointed out by Kant: the principle of humanity as an end in itself. But, Salmerón allows an analogous treatment for collective entities, as long as one keeps in mind that collective entities are not subjects of consciousness in the same sense that persons are. Collective entities are the constructions of individual members, “intersubjective representations at the service of a common project.”27 Keeping this assumption in mind, Salmerón acknowledges that persons are partially a social construction. “My own identity as a person . . . results partially from a negotiation with other members of the communities in which I take part, and the ways in which I make their ideals and beliefs, norms and tastes my own. Even to the point that it may very well be that the fulfillment of an ideal of perfection and of a good life is possible and is enhanced through my participation within that community. And the development of my identity may depend on the recognition of others and may gain a place in such intercourse.”28 This idea can be applied both to individuals and to communities and, therefore, has major consequences from a moral point of view. “Because as much for persons as for groups, a humiliating recognition or simply one as

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inferior may contribute to a deformation of the self-image a person or a collectivity has of themselves.”29 It does not follow from this that every culture deserves respect just for the fact that it exists. To the contrary, it does follow that no culture that trespasses the threshold of human dignity can be respected from a moral point of view. On this point, Salmerón and Garzón Valdés are in complete agreement. However, they differ when it comes to the incorporation of Herder’s idea within a Kantian framework. Salmerón’s acceptance of Herder’s idea does not mean that he denies the possibility, and in some cases, the desirability of there being cosmopolitan persons or world citizens. He and Villoro would certainly acknowledge this. Garzón Valdés is clearly an example of a cosmopolitan person. He was born in Argentina and has lived in Germany for a long time, for various reasons of political biography as he himself puts it. And he has constantly traveled and taught in many different countries, without ever loosing his profound love for and dedication to Latin America. But the existence of cosmopolitan individuals does not seem to run against the idea that identities are conformed partially by the communities in which persons develop as persons and through the interaction with others. Furthermore, the concept and the possibility of world citizens do not seem to contradict the idea that communities offer the background of choices for plans of life and conceptions of the good and that, therefore, in both senses they are necessary for individuals. The possibility of cosmopolitan individuals is compatible with Salmerón’s proposal, and it simply seems to suggest that there are individuals whose needs may be, and perhaps have to be, satisfied by several communities. Let us now turn to another consequence of Salmerón’s proposal. By proposing this model faithful to the Kantian tradition, Salmerón makes not only a positive contribution to the debate, but he articulates a criticism to other current points of view. In particular, Salmerón opposed his model to Charles Taylor’s views, as he expressed them in the well-known paper, “Multiculturalism.”30 Salmerón argues that Taylor missed important points in Kant’s ethics. But this is not just a point of Kantian scholarship. What is at stake is the very possibility of constructing models adequate for the understanding of the problems of multicultural societies. According to Salmerón, Taylor rejects the Kantian view because he has misread Kant. Taylor overlooks a fine distinction found in the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals between two possible principles of morality, where there is an opposition between two positive ends of life, which in turn can be correlated with our duties: “Self-perfection,” and “the happiness of others.” These two principles can be projected to the public sphere, but then the ideal of perfection can only be thought of in negative terms. Self-perfection can only be a matter of concern for the individual. Communities can only


Debate: Traditional Ethnic Groups and History of Philosophy

maintain open spaces for the realization of plans of life preserving autonomy and dignity. However, the duty of justice, namely the duty to cooperate in the realization of the happiness of the others, is a matter of public concern, and above all of community concern. This is the key move by which Salmerón grounds both the right of individuals to belong to a community and the duties of the community, in the Kantian tradition. At the same time, Salmerón stresses that the concept of dignity can only be conceived as a negative end. It establishes the limits that cannot be trespassed by others, and therefore that cannot be removed on behalf of collective rights. Taylor does not envisage the possibility of incorporating the idea of the need to belong to a community as a basic human need. Furthermore, he wrongly attributes the origin of the conservative liberal view that the state and communities should remain neutral with respect to the choices of individuals to Kant’s ideas about dignity. And for that reason Taylor rejects the Kantian model. But then he has missed Kant’s fine distinction mentioned above, and Kant’s conception of dignity is conceived as only a negative end. Had Taylor realized this, he would have had to accept the Kantian model, and to realize that Herder’s idea is compatible with Kant’s concepts and, therefore, he would have had the model he was looking for to ground a moral theory for multiculturalism. Although this issue is interesting for Kantian scholarship, in Salmerón’s paper and in the context of the current debate on multiculturalism, it has an even broader significance. The elucidation and articulation of concepts originally proposed by past philosophers in Salmerón’s paper serve the following purposes: 1. They inspire Salmerón’s views and provide respectability to them. 2. Salmerón shows that those concepts should lie at the core of any conceptual scheme through which contemporary philosophers try to understand and to propose solutions for the problems posed by multicultural societies. 3. More important, Salmerón constructs with them a model that he considers the best approach to the problems posed by multiculturalism. 4. That very model, based on his historical analysis, is also used by Salmerón to articulate a criticism to other views on multiculturalism (Taylor’s). Jorge Gracia has pointed out that one of the roles that philosophical ideas of the past can play for contemporary philosophy is as a source of inspiration, offering also support and respectability.31 This is exactly what

Likewise we expect philosophers to be able to identify the tradition with which a specific analysis is connected. is that it was a good thing for Salmerón to resort to Herder’s and Kant’s ideas. we expect philosophers to be able to identify the relevant rules of logic. Authors do not have to be aware of those connections. I think that this much has to be granted. the historical analysis— although useful—was not necessary to accomplish (2). since that helped him to articulate his model and his criticism to Taylor’s views. and raised the same criticism against Taylor. the objection would go. namely that through historical reflections it is possible to reveal presuppositions. But if they cannot. and the same criticism raised against Taylor (except for the historical point of his misreading of Kant. Their identity depends only on concepts and their relationships. or in a negative sense if they criticize or reject those basic concepts and theses. (3). and conflicts that are at work within the conceptual scheme with which philosophers of the present try to approach specific problems. at best. Philosophical traditions are objects produced. And the relationship in question is a conceptual one. at most we can say that they are . Points (2) to (4) refer to another function of the history of philosophy that is relevant for philosophy. Traditions are neither trademarks. it could be argued that all that has been shown so far. not on being consciously labeled by people who construct and use them. without knowing the rules of inference that warrant the validity of the argument. would have constructed a model related to the Kantian tradition all the same. So. The situation of someone constructing a Kantian model without knowing it would be like the character that spoke prose without knowing it. nor do they require a patent. logical connections. and transformed by philosophers in the very processes by which they develop their substantive work. reproduced. Some contemporary reflections and works in philosophy are conceptually linked to specific traditions. To use another analogy. although possibly without knowing so. The fact that someone might construct a model connected with the Kantian tradition without being aware that he has done so does not eliminate the relevant conceptual relationship with the tradition. But then the reply to this objection is that someone who had articulated the same or a very similar conceptual model. either in a positive sense if they elaborate on the basic concepts of the tradition. It is undoubtedly true that a similar conceptual model could have been articulated. It is true that if questioned about the warrants for the validity of their arguments. someone may elaborate an argument that is correct from a logical point of view. and (4). But the same end could have been obtained without the scholar and such careful historical analysis. This has also been pointed out by Gracia.León Olivé 183 is suggested in (1) above.32 Now. of course).

Thus. the rules are there all the same. In spite of the situation of inequality and disadvantage of those groups. Salmerón examined the claim that conceptual schemes and traditions are constitutive of some kinds of collective entities. Analogously. when a philosophical work has a peculiar relationship with one or several traditions. But it is not necessary for philosophers to be aware of the connections of the concepts they use with specific traditions. That has nothing to do with the truth of their philosophical claims or the soundness of their arguments.” We “can grasp their identity only by understanding their project and their history.184 Debate: Traditional Ethnic Groups and History of Philosophy showing their ignorance. it is also constituted by “the way we look at them. In the same way that it is not necessary for someone to be aware of rules of logic that she uses to reason. mainly with groups of European origin. for example it presupposes the rules. Traditional ethnic groups in Latin America live in a marginal and disadvantageous situation. their dialogue with us and their evaluations of our judgments are necessary as well. the importance of the tradition for a philosophical work is similar to the significance of rules of inference for the argument. but generally they have affirmed their identity and have tried to exercise their right to difference within the national context.” But the reverse is also true: “their current project and their awareness of belonging to a community is not enough to define their identity. and so are traditions. Since the argument has a peculiar relationship with the rules. political. he reminds us that minorities in Latin America exist within national societies.”34 . But in the latter case. at different levels (economic. but nothing less. its complete analysis should make those relationships explicit. In the above mentioned paper. I claim that philosophical works are sometimes connected with philosophical traditions. since one of its central problems concerns the identity of collective entities and their rights. and cultural). which in turn are increasingly dependent. during the last five centuries there have been moments when their identity has been negotiated through interactions and cultural intermixture (mestizaje cultural ).33 The identity of those traditional groups is not constituted only by their current project. To complete the analogy. Nothing else is entailed by the claim defended here with respect to traditions. on the international context. Conceptual Schemes I will now examine the thesis that conceptual schemes and traditions are fundamental for philosophical analyses of multiculturalism. the complete analysis of the argument should make that connection explicit.

S may believe that there is water in the road ahead. or at least in one which is in the right track to reach such a complete democratic state. S has apprehended p (which is the object of the belief ). And beliefs are crucial for the self-understanding of people and for the identity of traditional ethnic groups. is an acquired dispositional state that causes a coherent set of responses and which is determined by an object or an objective situation that has been apprehended. beliefs referring to the groups in the social arena and the existence of collective rights on the basis of their differences. In this case. A belief. 3. namely. then. 2. And the same can be said of groups of European origin. But S may be right or wrong as to the nature of p.”36 This means that democratic societies are the best suited to apply the “politics of recognition. the application of the politics of recognition would not be independent of the beliefs and attitudes of the human beings living in those democratic societies. that has been apprehended by S. S is in an acquired state x of disposition to react in determined ways under different circumstances. But some of those beliefs would be beliefs about matters of fact. According to Villoro’s conception of belief. p determines x. S was wrong in her judgment when she accepted the belief that . Creer. Conocer: A person S believes that p (where p stands for the contents of a proposition) if and only if 1. if S believes that p. there must be an objective situation apprehended by S.35 Let us examine an example drawn from Salmerón’s paper. for instance. Each group has its own traditions and conceptual resources by means of which each understands its identity. He suggests that the “politics of recognition of social groups can find its true dimension only in a complete democratic society.” But a society where such a politics were fully accepted and duly applied would be a society where specific beliefs would be commonly accepted. Saber.León Olivé 185 It is through conceptual frameworks and traditions that ethnic groups regard themselves as the groups they are. Those traditions and conceptual resources constrain the beliefs that the members of those groups can have. For our purposes here let us understand the concept of belief as Villoro defined it in his 1982 book. p. A belief implies the responsibility of the subject making the judgment that hers is an acceptable belief. but she has only apprehended some rays of light being reflected in a peculiar way on the road. Thus. For instance. about the nature of collective entities and about similarities and differences between people and between groups. “S believes that p” means that there is an objective situation.

But we do not have to go into the problem of the role of conceptual schemes in the apprehension of natural facts and their role in the existence of objective facts in general. the identity of collective entities. But if it is to be a right within a modern democratic society. This is the very meaning of being rational. moral. namely. The very existence of those rights depends on their being acknowledged by the members of the society in question. and a judgment is made (even if only implicitly and unconsciously) a conceptual scheme is in operation. The notion of a conceptual scheme thus refers to a set of concepts. and for the subject to judge whether or not to accept the belief. the kind of situations we are interested in cannot be divorced from the problem of rights. The right to difference we are talking about is a right that can be acknowledged within modern societies. it is necessary to resort to a conceptual scheme. and for making judgments about them.186 Debate: Traditional Ethnic Groups and History of Philosophy the road was wet. Our problem is related to the existence and apprehension of some social facts. Perhaps. In sum. if it exists at all. Whenever an objective situation is apprehended. A conceptual scheme is not only a set of concepts. and (2) the operation of a conceptual scheme that makes that apprehension possible. For that means that those people will eventually have the disposition to act according to the existence of those rights. This is one of the reasons why actual social and political disputes are concerned with trying to convince people to accept the belief that those rights exist. it also includes methodological rules for the acceptance and rejection of metaphysical. and values that we use and require for apprehending objects or situations in the world. the existence of a belief requires: (1) the apprehension of an objective situation. epistemic. most of the time this judgment is not consciously made. it must also be acknowledged from the point of view of all the different conceptual schemes available in that society. The right to difference. I believe this is the case with respect to every object or fact in the empirical world (natural and social). is a right that we would claim as valid in our culture and in our interaction with members of other cultures. This in turn means that those rights exist if they are rationally accepted in that society. The claim here is that conceptual schemes not only allow the apprehension of individuals and collectives as entities with specific identities but they take part in the constitution of those identities. rules. But then for a situation to be apprehended as the object of a belief. Note that I am referring to acceptability within the context of specific societies. The existence of rights is not independent of the beliefs and attitudes of the people in the society where those rights exist. and aesthetic beliefs that are firmly entrenched. But we may attribute this ability to judge to any rational being able to discriminate between beliefs that she accepts and beliefs that she rejects. Moreover. . norms.

the scope of rights and the range of beneficiaries of rights. there must be an objective situation capable of being apprehended by the members of the society. By this. The conceptual scheme is in those cases necessary for the existence of the relevant object.León Olivé 187 including those of traditional ethnic groups. But since what is being analyzed is a conceptual scheme. But a conceptual scheme is also a historical entity and has a cultural nature. may and should follow. the existence of specific rights. the analysis of the dynamic features of a conceptual scheme is a historical-philosophical task. I mean that it is an entity that has an origin and that suffers transformations in time. A given conceptual scheme may be discussed and reelaborated at particular moments. With respect to entities like traditional ethnic groups—and as we will emphasize below. in the sense that this is an intellectual activity reflecting on an object that has a historical nature. This is constantly done when there are discussions about sovereignty. The idea. In sum. of course. created and transformed by human beings. and not that the right must be acknowledged as a matter of fact since the beginning from all points of view. there must be a conceptual scheme that allows people to apprehend such a state of affairs and to make judgments concerning it. the constitution of which is largely constituted by philosophical concepts. I have argued that conceptual frameworks are necessary for the identity of cultures. To a great extent. This is precisely what Salmerón has attempted to show in his analysis of the basic concepts that are necessary to understand and ground the right to difference. But conceptual schemes do not arise spontaneously. there are two conditions that must be met for the existence of social facts: first. as an intellectual activity. And second. I take this to be one of the approaches that the history of philosophy. for example. although it is not sufficient. Conceptual schemes are historical objects. This will be the objective situation required for there being beliefs held by people. maintained and transformed by philosophers. entities like the state—the relevant conceptual scheme makes a decisive contribution both to its existence and to its identity. But whoever engages in that kind of task is doing philosophical work. And a great deal of what makes a conceptual scheme are basic concepts. The analysis of the dynamic aspects of a conceptual scheme is part of a historical task. and that they are to a great extent the result of philosophical . and that its identity depends on structural features as much as on dynamic ones. The discussion and reformulation of a conceptual scheme is a philosophical task (but one not necessarily performed by professional philosophers). conceptual schemes in the Western world have been produced. is that the right must be accepted after due interactions between agents of the different groups involved.

The implicit thesis here is that the state has philosophical conceptions “built in. then doing history of philosophy when doing philosophy is inevitable. the resulting . at least when dealing with some issues in moral and political philosophy. But since they are philosophical.” From this. let us turn to this problem by examining some ideas of Luis Villoro.37 Now. Although the problems have a long history. Even though it is in principle possible to pinpoint the actual conceptions of the state present at a given time. If this is true.188 Debate: Traditional Ethnic Groups and History of Philosophy work. And yet any contemporary discussion about the nature and status of the state has to deal with them. Those transformations are required if the needs and demands of minority cultures in Mexico are to be properly met. The Role of Philosophical Ideas in the Constitution of Objects In light of the political and social problems that have been taking place in Mexico in recent years. understood as an intellectual activity. I have already suggested that the state is such an object. we may conclude that those ideas play a role in history. In suggesting ways in which his argument could be developed. particularly those concerned with the situation of Indigenous peoples that affect the role of the state and its relationships to traditional ethnic groups. this thesis presupposes that some philosophical ideas are constitutive of the state. a reexamination of the conception of the state underlying the discussion is necessary in order to propose a new model to guide actual transformations in the political sphere. Since part of what the history of philosophy does. in the sense that those ideas have an origin in the past and have evolved in time. and which also have a historical character. they are also part of the history of philosophy. and therefore where philosophy and history of philosophy become inextricably linked together. But in the social and political world there are other entities whose existence also owes a great deal to philosophical ideas. say in terms of the policies currently enforced by state officers. Villoro draws attention to the fact that the modern Mexican State had its origins and has been developed through a process where there has been a constant tension between a liberal and a socialist conception of the state. it follows that in order to understand the contemporary Mexican State it is necessary to understand the philosophical conceptions that underlie and support it. is precisely to reflect critically on ideas of the past. To bring this paper to a close. The latter is in some respects similar to some views currently defended by some communitarians. Villoro has argued that it is necessary to discuss afresh the very conception of the state.

for has an impact on the problems that emerge from the social and political reality of that society. Thus. But since they are philosophical. Sometimes they propose changes in the conceptions and practices of the state. Moral and political philosophy is important for a society.León Olivé 189 view of the state would be quite restrictive. and changed through practices. when its actions are legitimate and its policies morally acceptable. particularly when we are concerned with traditional cultures. A full understanding of the state requires an analysis of the ideas that have shaped it as an institution in time and that have contributed to its identity. maintained. similar to the very processes of development of the institutions themselves. they also belong to the history of philosophy. plausible. beliefs. many times they suggest transformations of the current institutions and changes in attitudes toward cultures. But institutions are historical entities created. Some particular institutions may be relevant to the historical development of a country and others may not. But they should also be useful to the ordinary citizen in coming to an understanding of what the state is. Thus. what its purposes and its role are. . moral and political analyses are useful when designing policies. When proposals for the solution of some of the problems posed by the situation of minorities are put forward. Questions concerning their basic beliefs. and attitudes of people. and rationally defensible theories and ideas about the role of the state and of traditional cultures. But for these to be responsible proposals they must be based on a full understanding of the state and of the cultures involved. The built-in conception of the state is philosophical and historical. the philosophical ideas that contribute to the constitution of the state are part of history tout court. moral standards. in order to propose a solution to the problems arising from the role of the state in a multicultural country. It may also be necessary—as Villoro suggests—to revise some of those conceptions and perhaps put forward new. Something similar happens with cultures. and the legitimacy of their form of government require philosophical ideas. it is necessary to carefully analyze the built-in conceptions of the state and some fundamental ideas within and about those groups. as much as they are part of the history of ideas. In general. and the relationship between traditional ethnic groups and the state. This is a further reason for the need to understand the built-in conceptions that contribute to the identity of traditional cultures and of the state. yet all of them will be historical. the philosophical foundations of institutions and perhaps of whole cultures most likely have required processes of sedimentation and development. and probably changes in the cultures themselves. With respect to the state.

190 Debate: Traditional Ethnic Groups and History of Philosophy The inextricable relationship between philosophical conceptions and social institutions makes them necessarily historical and makes a historical perspective necessary for the philosophical discussion of some of the moral and political issues of multiculturalism. and a tradition is as much a historical object as it is a conceptual tool. although not necessary. The identity of some institutions like the state. and worse. like those posed by multiculturalism in countries such as Mexico. Any reflection on them is part of the history of philosophy as an intellectual activity. Although the analysis and discussion of the foundations of current institutions is a philosophical task. and of cultures. to shape ideas and theses relevant to understand problems and to propose solutions and guides for action concerning moral and political problems. they belong to the history of philosophy. it may not necessarily be developed by professional philosophers. 3. It may be developed as nonrigorous philosophy. Historical perspective and historical knowledge is useful. we can conclude that at least with respect to some crucial moral and political philosophical problems. The Philosophical Community and the Intellectual Division of Philosophical Labor I have argued in favor of the idea that the history of philosophy is relevant for moral and political philosophy in one of the following three senses: 1. nor has it to be undertaken in a rigorous way (although this would be desirable). Anyone intellectually analyzing the state has to engage in a philosophical and in a historical-philosophical analysis. 2. Many philosophical analyses are conceptually connected to a tradition. depends in part on philosophical ideas. Therefore. it is necessary to understand . insofar as those conceptions are philosophical and historical. Again. which may operate in the understanding of problems and as a background for offering solutions. Historical analyses of philosophical ideas are necessary to understand the foundations of institutions and cultures. Ideas that help their members understand themselves and their culture and its place in the world can legitimately be called philosophical ideas. The same is true for conceptions of self-identity of traditional ethnic groups. the history of philosophy—duly understood—is necessary for philosophy. Yet it still will be a philosophical task. as bad philosophy. Therefore. in order to understand those institutions and cultures correctly.

The development of philosophy. But that understanding is historical and philosophical at the same time. as the development of any other discipline. the task of elaborating the concepts necessary to analyze the problems and to suggest solutions to them. the thesis I have defended does not entail that every individual contribution to the elucidation or resolution of the philosophical problems related to the moral and political issues of multiculturalism must include historical analyses. The optimum situation is one where there is close communication between the members of the community specializing on different aspects. Within the philosophical community. there may be an intellectual division of labor. and to provide sensible proposals for transformations in social and political life. What is important is that the community guarantees that the whole spectrum is covered. and that they exchange ideas. insofar as they are philosophical. and in which ideas that constitute institutions are made explicit and critically discussed. Rather. I do not think that it is necessary that a single individual develop both philosophical ideas and do historical studies to make contributions to philosophy. Others.León Olivé 191 the ideas constitutive of their identity as they were originally discussed and later developed. criticize each other. is a collective task. Having said that. more talented. others on pure conceptual discussions within the contemporary context. for that will help to develop healthier and deeper theories. Thus. in an organized or in a spontaneous way. The philosophical community can be organized in such a way that some thinkers concentrate on the strict historical philosophical discussion—in contexts of the past—others on analyses of past ideas in a way relevant to the problems of the present. it must produce historical philosophical studies in which philosophical traditions are analyzed and examined. The history of philosophy is necessary to deal adequately with the kind of moral and political problems posed by multicultural countries. I want to conclude by clearly stating my view. In turn. will be able and willing to move and make important . is the task of the philosophical community. this understanding is necessary if changes in institutions and in basic elements of cultures are proposed. and engage in controversies. But the task of dealing adequately with those problems is the task of a community and not of single individuals. Some individuals may want to concentrate and specialize on some fields within that spectrum. the thesis implies the following: If the philosophical community is going to make a significant contribution to the understanding of the problems of multiculturalism we have discussed. and still others on applying all of this to concrete problems and situations. Furthermore.

León Olivé and Fernando Salmerón. Cf. “Algunas confusiones acerca de los problemas morales de la diversidad cultural. He quotes Villoro from the Mexican journal. 86.. Luis Villoro. Ibid. 84. 77–78. Cf. pp. 1999). pp. Larry Laudan. Michel de Montaigne. 1995). p. eds. editors (México: UNAM. 83. p. 7.” Cf. Educación e Historia. 1996). 1995). Chandran Kukathas. and also Joseph Raz. p. Beyond Positivism and Relativism (Boulder. Cf. CO: Westview Press. “Algunas confusiones acerca de los problemas morales de la diversidad cultural. 234. FCE. Cf. 203. 1994).” p. Garzón Valdés. Homenaje a Fernando Salmerón. pp. (1995). Multicultural Citizenship (Oxford: Oxford University Press. I develop these ideas further in Olivé (2000). Garzón Valdés. 6. Garzón Valdés. 9. La Jornada (Mexico City. Villoro.” Filosofía Moral. pp. La autodeterminación de los pueblos indios. p. Notes 1. I:31. Año 18. September 26. Luis Villoro and León Olivé.” Ethics in the Public Domain (Oxford: Clarendon Press. 12. This conception of philosophical traditions is inspired by Larry Laudan’s idea of “scientific traditions. “¿Crisis del Estado-nación mexicano?” The argument concerning personal and collective identity has been discussed in León Olivé. 1995. Ibid. 81–109. Siglo XXI-UNAM. 81. 5. Plato. Luis Villoro. 13. . 1995). México. in subsequent nonpublished discussions Villoro has made it clear that his idea is that the only possible bearers of moral rights are individual persons. See also Héctor Díaz Polanco. “¿Crisis del Estado-nación mexicano?” Dialéctica (México). 155–76. Apology. “Multiculturalism: A Liberal Perspective. 1962) . For the argument concerning personal autonomy see Will Kymlicka.” p. “Algunas confusiones acerca de los problemas morales de la diversidad cultural. 1996). (México: UNAM.” La Identidad Personal y la Colectiva. Autonomía Regional. entre libros. Garzón Valdés. 2. Ernesto Garzón Valdés. This is the case of our three philosophers. 103. 14. “Algunas confusiones acerca de los problemas morales de la diversidad cultural.. Multiculturalismo y Pluralismo (México: Paidós. 15. 104. A similar assertion can be found in Villoro’s “¿Crisis del Estado-nación mexicano?” However. México. “La identidad colectiva. 3. 11. núm. Oeuvres Complètes (Paris: Gallimard. 32. 98–99. “Algunas confusiones acerca de los problemas morales de la diversidad cultural. p. Ibid. also León Olivé. “Are there any cultural rights?” The Rights of Minority Cultures. 1991. 4. 10.” pp. 1994). 8.. Nueva época. edited by Will Kymlicka (Oxford: Oxford University Press. 14–23. En México.192 Debate: Traditional Ethnic Groups and History of Philosophy contributions in all the fields. and that explains their leadership within the Latin American philosophical community. 27. 146–47.” p.

ética y política. pp. “Moralidad y racionalidad. Enciclopedia Iberoamericana de Filosofía. Issues in Philosophical Historiography (Albany. pp. Cf. Ibid. 1976). p. Garzón Valdés. 30.” Multiculturalism. “Algunas confusiones acerca de los problemas morales de la diversidad cultural. pp. 34. Salmerón.” p. Charles Taylor. In this respect see Manuel Atienza’s “Introduction” to Ernesto Garzón Valdés. p. Jorge Gracia. “Etica y diversidad cultural. Horas de Lucha (Caracas: Bibioteca Ayacucho. p. edited by León Olivé (México: Siglo XXI.” p.. 83. 31–57. Garzón Valdés. Creer.. pp. 1996).. Luis Villoro. 71. 36.” p. Ensayos sobre racionalidad en ciencia y tecnología. p. 25. p. In addition to the paper we are analyzing. Idem. 26. 17. Ibid. 1991).” p. 1994). “Ética y diversidad cultural. p. pp. NY: State University of New York Press. 27. p. and Enseñanza y Filosofía (México: Fondo de Cultura Económica. 18..” Filosofía Moral. Homenaje a Fernando Salmerón. 1992). Educación e Historia. 1982).León Olivé 193 16.” Epistemología y Cultura. Ibid. 29. Ibid. 104. “The politics of recognition. Ibid. Ibid. 72–73. For a brief and lucid summary and discussion of Salmerón’s theory of morality and how it relates to the Kantian tradition see Isabel Cabrera. 1993). pp.. 28. “Algunas confusiones acerca de los problemas morales de la diversidad cultural. Ibid. 21. 19–45.” Ética y Diversidad Cultural. 141–42. 20. Fernando Salmerón.” Páginas Libres. 343. “Nuestros Indios. 1993). Salmerón.” p. edited by Amy Gutmann (Princeton. 74. 219–42. 32. 33. 170 . 1988). Derecho. 82. NJ: Princeton University Press. Manuel González Prada.” Cuestiones morales. 1993). Idem. 76.. “Etica y diversidad cultural. edited by León Olivé (México: Fondo de Cultura Económica-UNAM. 77. 31. 12 (Madrid: Trootta-CSIC. “Ética y diversidad cultural. 35. 22. p. pp. 1971). En torno a la obra de Luis Villoro. Ética y Política (Madrid: Centro de Estudios Constitucionales. 24. “Actitud y valores. 23. also his “El problema ético de las minorías étnicas. Conocer (México: Siglo XXI Editores. 107. Saber. 245–51. p. 1996). 67–85. Vol.. 84. she discusses views included in the following works by Salmerón: La Filosofía y las Actitudes Morales (México: Siglo XXI Editores. Examining the politics of recognition. Salmerón. . Philosophy and Its History. and “La antinomia entre las culturas. 72. 19. editors (México: UNAM. edited by Luis Villoro and León Olivé (México: UNAM. Ibid. 79.. Ernesto Garzón Valdés and Fernando Salmerón.” Racionalidad. En torno a la concepción moral de Fernando Salmerón. 74.

References Cabrera. Montaigne. 1995). 1993). pp. Salmerón.” Ética y Diversidad Cultural. 1985).: State University of New York Press. Ernesto. pp. 131–54. Jorge. Educación e Historia. pp. Fernando. and “Sobre la identidad de los pueblos. Garzón Valdés.” Ética y Diversidad Cultural. 31–57. Garzón Valdés. Luis Villoro and León Olivé (México: UNAM. La Filosofía y las Actitudes Morales (México: Siglo XXI Editores. edited by Luis Villoro and León Olivé (México: UNAM. pp. 1996). Issues in Philosophical Historiography (Albany. eds. “Algunas confusiones acerca de los problemas morales de la diversidad cultural. Philosophy and Its History. Villoro. pp. “La identidad colectiva. 1996). “La antinomia entre las culturas. El Mal y La Razón. Olivé. Cf. For Villoro’s complementary views on these topics see the following papers: “Autenticidad en la cultura. 1996). “Multiculturalism: A Liberal Perspective.” Epistemología y Cultura. and “Igualdad y diferencia: un dilema político. Gracia.” La Identidad Personal y la Colectiva. Colorado: Westview Press. Garzón Valdés. eds. eds. León. 65–84. The Rights of Minority Cultures (Oxford: Oxford University Press. Educación e Historia. Multiculturalismo y Pluralismo (México: Paidós. 219–42. “El problema ético de las minorías étnicas. 1993). edited by León Olivé and Fernando Salmerón (México: UNAM. 1996). 155–76. En torno a la obra de Luis Villoro. Joseph. Kymlicka.” La Identidad Personal y la Colectiva. Isabel. Hector. edited by León Olivé (México: Fondo de Cultura Económica-UNAM.” Ethics in the Public Domain (Oxford: Clarendon Press. Kymlicka. pp. Garzón Valdés. NY. León Olivé and Fernando Salmerón (México: UNAM. 1993).” Filosofía Moral. . 2000). Olivé. Oeuvres Complètes (Paris: Gallimard.” Filosofía Moral. 1999). Homenaje a Fernando Salmerón. pp. eds. Ernesto. “Aproximaciones a una ética de la cultura. Homenaje a Fernando Salmerón. “Actitud y valores. 1994). 1971). Ernesto. 85–100. El Bien. ed. Ernesto Garzón Valdés and Fernando Salmerón (México: UNAM. Will. León Olivé (México: Fondo de Cultura Económica-UNAM. 1993). Raz. 1994). Derecho. León. Larry Laudan.” El Concepto de Ideología y otros ensayos (México: Fondo de Cultura Económica.). Multicultural Citizenship (Oxford: Oxford University Press. “¿Crisis del Estado-nación mexicano?”. Facetas de la ciencia y la tecnología (México: Paidós UNAM. Ética y Política (Madrid: Centro de Estudios Constitucionales. pp. La autodeterminación de los pueblos indios (México: Siglo XXI-UNAM. Ernesto. Homenaje a Fernando Salmerón. Educación e Historia. 1991). Díaz Polanco.” Filosofía Moral. Michel de. 81–109. 245–51. Olivé. pp. En torno a la concepción moral de Fernando Salmerón. León. 1995). 1962). 1992). Beyond Positivism and Relativism (Boulder. Autonomía Regional.194 Debate: Traditional Ethnic Groups and History of Philosophy 37. Will (ed. 171–96. Luis Villoro and León Olivé (México: UNAM. 1994).

Racionalidad y desarrollo científico (México: Paidós UNAM. ética y política. 1997). eds. Homenaje a Fernando Salmerón. Fernando. pp. Fernando.). 1996). Luis. Saber. León Olivé (México: Siglo XXI.León Olivé 195 Salmerón. pp. “Moralidad y racionalidad. “Igualdad y diferencia: un dilema político. Luis. Educación e Historia. 171–96. ed. 85–100. pp.” Multiculturalism. vol. “The politics of recognition.” El Concepto de Ideología y otros ensayos (México: Fondo de Cultura Económica. “Autenticidad en la cultura. ed. Año 18. Salmerón. Conocer (México: Siglo XXI Editores. 1985). 19–45. 27. 1991). ed. ed. Charles. Creer. Villoro. Ensayos sobre racionalidad en ciencia y tecnología. 67–85. Villoro. NJ: Princeton University Press. núm. Villoro. Amy Gutmann (Princeton. “Aproximaciones a una ética de la cultura. 1996). pp. León Olivé and Fernando Salmerón (México: UNAM. 14–23. Nueva época. Velasco. 1994). Examining the politics of recognition.” Filosofía Moral. Luis.” La Identidad Personal y la Colectiva. . pp. Enciclopedia Iberoamericana de Filosofía.” Ética y Diversidad Cultural. 1993). “¿Crisis del Estado-nación mexicano?” Dialéctica (México).” Cuestiones Morales. 1982). Luis. (1995). Villoro. “Ética y diversidad cultural. Salmerón. 1988). Enseñanza y Filosofía (México: Fondo de Cultura Económica. pp. “Sobre la identidad de los pueblos. Ambrosio (ed. Osvaldo Guariglia. 12 (Madrid: Trotta-CSIC. 131–54. Villoro. Luis. León Olivé (México: Fondo de Cultura Económica-UNAM. eds. Taylor. Luis Villoro and León Olivé (México: UNAM. pp. Luis. Fernando. 111–22. 1994). Villoro.” Racionalidad.

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I am exclusively responsible for the content. The result is a piece quite different from the original. Salles and Millán-Zaibert have kindly offered to translate the revisions. In the Caribbean it started a little later. Instead. it is a short and provocative essay that attempts to gather and summarize complex arguments in order to facilitate a first approximation to the topic by those who do not share the intellectual traditions of Latin America. Mexico.1 This essay is not structured as a traditional philosophy paper. we have witnessed at least two types of situation.2 In continental Latin America. I revised and reworked portions of the text and changed its title. I have developed this position more fully in other works where I discuss this and other topics in more detail. I am grateful to John Ackerman for his faithful translation of the text in 1997. My objective is to give a concise account of how I (along with other colleagues) approach the topic of the history of philosophy in postcolonial contexts. is A first version of this essay entitled “History of Philosophy in Postcolonial Contexts” has benefited from its presentation and subsequent discussion at the meeting “Neoliberalism. I thank Rubén García Clarck and Maurice Kande Mutsaku for their careful readings of the text. Yet I believe that a philosophy that is unaware of. Of course. its philosophical past will be epistemically arid. the postcolonial era started in the beginning of the nineteenth century. Arleen L. and the History of Philosophy” held in Tultenango. (un?)known as Latin America. Salles and Elizabeth Millán-Zaibert sent me valuable comments for the publication of this article in their volume. 197 . The first. It is not obvious that fostering the history of philosophy is an essential (although not necessarily sufficient) condition for energizing philosophical creativity among Latin Americans. neocolonialism. but in both cases it has lasted until now. Their insightful comments contributed to substantially improving the arguments.Chapter 8 How and Why to Foster the History of Philosophy in Postcolonial Contexts Horacio Cerutti-Guldberg Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México In this essay. A few months ago. in November 1997. I use the term postcolonial contexts to refer to the emancipatory rupture that took place in the nineteenth century in an America. During this period. Democracy. my aim is not to provide a proof or a demonstration but rather an informative summary for those who are not acquainted with the tradition of Latin American thought. or ignores. F.

I shall proceed in four steps. I present. the history of philosophy is built “in light of an . in association with the United States. I shall point out some similarities between the Latin American tradition and contemporary African philosophical reflection. I claim that the way in which the history of philosophy has been taught at Latin American universities is unacceptable because it ignores or makes invisible the significant qualitative steps made by the history of ideas (philosophical ideas) in the region. correcting what would be known as theory of dependence. interpretations. Third. Fourth. approaches. Thus. a kind of political euphemism. His purpose was to show the necessity of a revalorization of the history of philosophy and especially of its least spectacular moments.198 How and Why to Foster the History of Philosophy illustrated by the case of Puerto Rico. known under the title of selfgoverning commonwealth.3 Hence.6 The first is set forth in the suggestive prologue to Emile Bréhier’s history of philosophy written by the Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset (1883–1955). The other situation is that of dependence with domination. Ortega made clear what he considered to be the indissoluble relationship between philosophical reflection and the history of philosophy. that is. Second. which Augusto Salazar Bondy took charge of specifying. In his 1942 text. He thought that this process could be used to limit. His oreographic metaphor (“… oreography is not only the science of sharp peaks. in a merely demonstrative way. according to Ortega.4 In what follows. I shall provide some examples of how the history of philosophy is taught at universities. I shall survey three decisive moments in the attempt to constitute our own historiographic tradition. I argue that there are certain procedural characteristics that are needed to transform our philosophical memory into a history. guide. and regulate the historiographic enterprise without ever being fully realized. the thesis that a special history of philosophy is necessary in order to philosophize in the Latin American context. The mountain calls forth the valley”) attempted a complete profile of the entire historical and philosophical process. The term does not refer to discourses. the term postcolonial refers to the course of history and the situations that the course of history produces. First.5 Three Milestones in the Formation of our Historiographical Tradition In the contemporary Iberoamerican philosophical tradition—I must note that by identifying it as such I explicitly refer to its colonial historical antecedents—we find three important moments that shaped the relationship between philosophy and its history from our America. or schools of thought.

a ‘history of ideas’—philosophical.”7 In Ortega’s work. these ‘ideas’ are abstractions of ideas and have no history. religious or economic—is impossible. I insist. philosophy and the history of philosophy have something in common. like viscera. “Conflict between the History of Philosophy in Mexico and the History of Philosophy in general” (1952). He says: “The present summons preceding times and this is the reason why a philosophy is true not when it is definitive—an unimaginable thing—but when it carries the past within itself. Ortega firmly believed that “it is urgent that we undertake the study of the less brilliant periods. philosophy had been “known. The problem is that the underlying conception of philosophy produces a conflict between the two historiographical areas and therefore. These minor figures contribute to the intellectual enterprise as epigones. According to Gaos. Philosophy is thus history of philosophy and vice versa. Under the suggestive heading.”8 The inadequacy of what are usually called “ideas” beyond their circumstance (today we would call these ideas without a context) led him to repudiate the history of ideas as an unproductive discipline. despite the fact that they have been doing philosophy since colonial times.” By playing with the complementary senses of the terms cima and sima in Spanish (peak and valley. the history of philosophy in Mexico should be part of the history of philosophy in general. spread. He accomplished this when he attempted to define the object of study of a history of Hispanic-American philosophy. mathematical. but rather that is as historic and corruptible as any other facts in the past.9 According to Ortega. their philosophy was not truly original. despite Ortega’s discontent.Horacio Cerutti-Guldberg 199 expression—our philosophy—that is not definitive. . the history of philosophy in Mexico is not considered part of the history of philosophy in general. the discipline has been legitimized and established in academic institutions in our America. However. or simply as marginal figures behind or beyond the scene established by the well-established intellectual figures. a concern for context is clear: “As the term is usually understood. Gaos laid out a careful argument that must be followed step by step. Gaos claims that even Mexicans have thought that. Instead. Gaos corrected the premises of a syllogism that excluded the Latin American philosophical production from a world history of philosophy.”10 The second milestone in the Latin American historiographic tradition was set by the Spanish-Mexican philosopher José Gaos (1900–1969). and discovers “the progress to itself ” in it. They share an awareness of the historical nature of their respective disciplines. respectively). Ortega outlined an oreographic metaphor of mountain peaks and valleys that pointed to the need to study not only the great thinkers but also the minor characters.

We have to give him credit for delimiting the meaning of the term pensamiento (thought). who in these critiques and developments had not become original philosophers or even philosophers at all. too. How can the History of Philosophy in a country not be a part of the History of Philosophy in general! There must be some mistake in the premises: in the way of thinking encoded in the name ‘History of Philosophy in Mexico. “even if there weren’t an original Mexican philosophy or an original philosophy of the Mexicans. “And perhaps thereby this history would have shown itself to be fertile ground for helping to conceive a new idea of the History of Philosophy in general. It is necessary to critically revise these ideas and that way of thinking. originality. there would be a harmony stemming from the reconceptualization of the alleged originality of what is considered philosophy.” Gaos believes that these convictions rest on two spontaneously or unconsciously adopted assumptions. and a history of philosophy in Mexico. Gaos is outraged by this view and claims that “this conclusion appears absurd in its own terms. and nationality. This in turn means that what is known as philosophy in Mexico would not be a part of the history of philosophy in general. the same line of reasoning is applicable to the remaining Spanish-speaking countries.” Instead of the conflict between a history of philosophy in general. and nationality. and that only those original philosophies can be characterized by the nationalities of the philosophers from whom they originate. Mutatis Mutandi. While examining the relation between philosophy.” The critical revision proposed by Gaos requires acknowledging the philosophical ideas developed in Mexico. strictly speaking there would not be a history of philosophy in Mexico. They are that the History of Philosophy must be the History of original philosophy—or produced by original philosophers. and will in turn prove to be itself fertile. Insofar as the history of philosophy in Mexico focuses on the development of an “apparent” philosophy that is not a true philosophy due to its lack of originality.’ and in the way of thinking about the history of philosophy in Mexico. He believes that it might even help to change the current understanding of history of philosophy in general. Gaos tries to account for .”11 Not only are we indebted to Gaos for attempting to avoid the sterilizing conflict of histories. The revised understanding would include the history of Mexican philosophy. in the ideas about the History of Philosophy in general and about the relationships between philosophy. to be fertilized by this idea in a circle of generosity. or criticized by Mexicans. strictly speaking. Thus. there would not be such thing as a Mexican philosophy. However. originality.200 How and Why to Foster the History of Philosophy developed. and one should talk about a “History of Philosophy in Mexico” rather than of “Mexican philosophy.

then. but as problems of circumstances. as a paradigmatic antimodel for philosophical historiography. and specializing themselves in this way they contribute in a central way to the formation of nationalities. the processes of national organization required the solution to many urgent problems. philosophical discussion should include the following: an examination of the relationship between economic. No one can deny that Bondy’s text is the starting point for Latin American philosophy in the second half of the twentieth century. Thought and language specialize themselves. For that reason. He subtly reflected on different theoretical traditions and examined all the complex aspects that philosophical reflection must consider. and thus it is frequently confused with literature. which has not received enough attention in the area that concerns us here. he believed that in addition to the relationship between philosophy and its history. existentialism. This shaped the way in which thought manifested itself. more immediate place and time. The title of his often quoted and widely republished 1968 book is. deservedly touted as classics. Moreover. and an . I consider this section and its relation to the text as a whole. but this ‘pensamiento’ uses as its forms the methods and the style of philosophy or of science.13 Although the first section has gone unnoticed by critics. Not only did Salazar Bondy put on the table central arguments that went beyond the reflections carried out during the first half of the century. He defined “thought” as the kind of reflection whose objective is not having the background of “systematic and transcendent philosophical objects but rather one of immanent and human objects that by the very nature of things are historical. analytic philosophy. To the above pair of texts. In the case of our America. These do not present themselves as the eternal possible themes of a system. The volume is divided into three sections: The Process.14 Let us look at the matter in more detail. “Circumstantial problems and those in need of urgent resolution call for public speech and newspaper articles. that is. they are problems in need of urgent resolution. Historicism. and An Interpretation. and historical-political contexts.” This type of reflection is expressed in literary forms. he also articulated arguments that would play a major role in later discussions. in national thoughts and languages. cultural.”12 They require a practical philosophy applied and committed to the resolution of unavoidable social claims. Does there exist a philosophy of Our America? (¿Existe una filosofía de Nuestra América?). it is necessary to add another one by the Peruvian philosopher Augusto Salazar Bondy (1925–1974). and Marxism were some of the theoretical traditions that he articulated. The Debate. One can appropriately speak of a before and an after this book. phenomenology.Horacio Cerutti-Guldberg 201 the particular ways in which philosophy insinuates itself in the social and cultural life of the region.

The origin of the history of philosophy in this region can be located in the moment of the conquest. dependence with domination. it did not completely assimilate and adapt to these new lands. philosophy appeared as an imported activity or a manufactured product arriving from Europe in its finished form. In fact. and circumscription of the appropriate discourse for resolving the central question of his work. Why does this way of doing history deserve to be characterized as an antimodel? Here. mixed with the identification of intellectual and/or philosophical currents (scholasticism.202 How and Why to Foster the History of Philosophy analysis of indispensable methodological aspects. Salazar Bondy prolonged the normalized and hegemonic historiographic production existing at that time that unfortunately continues until today. and wrongly interpreted here). In Latin America. what he avoided allowed him to make strong claims. or structural transformation became essential topics of philosophical discussion. The reception of these different currents was completely passive (according to the metaphor of the “waves” of influences arriving to our coasts in a weakened form.15 Regarding the relation between the history of philosophy and philosophy. I believe that we are justified in considering his historiographic scheme as paradigmatic. I summarize the central features. at least in the Latin American region. At that time. This was probably because not even he realized that it was an interpretation and not the exhibition of the process itself. The categories of alienation. that this pedagogical activity would be like the sterilizing halter of autonomous reflection. enlightenment. however. for example. He did not explain that the section of the book entitled “The Process” expressed his interpretation of the history of philosophy or at least the interpretation that he gave to himself. Bondy’s text is more significant for what it avoided and implied than for what it affirmed. he showed that the arrogant view that holds that context should be avoided in philosophical discussion is actually unjustified. the positivist view. positivism. romanticism. I shall not examine in detail all the deficiencies of this historiographic modality. A political criterion (colony/independence). later deformed. the delimitation of the topic of discussion. and later rejecting or criticizing it. etc. This means that there was no internal justification for adopting a particular philosophical position. For this reason.) was used to identify different periods of thought. Thus. What is evident is that from this point of view autonomous . assuming that someone could exhibit it purely. the predominance of these unchallenged schools of thought was exclusive and excluding for many centuries. By raising the issue in this way. exemplifying one particular way of doing history. As such. Not until the twentieth century would philosophy become a profession with a plurality of positions available to the professor—I must note.

Horacio Cerutti-Guldberg 203 philosophical development is impossible and unthinkable. it becomes evident that colonial situations have manipulated the relation between colonized peoples. philosophy in Africa goes back to ancestral times. and this requires a good explanation so they can be transformed. as has been correctly noted by the Panamanian philosopher Ricaurte Soler (1932–1994). that the relationship between philosophy and its history is decisive for the status of present and future philosophy in the region. Regardless of how we evaluate it. comparative studies with African philosophy are particularly interesting. The aim has always been to strip memory of all its resistance. what is known as the theory of dependency introduced a clear terminology to account for the specificity of the region. Indeed. . The easiest way out is to emphasize exclusively external causality. to use Sanchez MacGregor’s terminology).16 What Can We PRIMA FACIE Learn from the Significant Similarities with African Philosophy? A comparison of contemporary African philosophy. the situation is different. For our America. Salazar Bondy’s historiographic proposal appears as an antimodel. distorting the past to consolidate domination. Most countries in Latin America are neither colonies nor neocolonies (except for the already mentioned case of Puerto Rico and a few areas in the Caribbean). if the theory of dependence—or “dependentismo” as it is called by its critics—could not survive internal difficulties. which started after the Second World War with the work of Tempels. it could be said that philosophy was born in Africa before any other region on the globe. In any case. for in the African case the aftereffects of colonization are still fresh. their own history.17 As is well known. and Latin American philosophy since the “Generation of 1837.” the days of the romantic historicists and of the “mental emancipators. However. In this sense. Christos Evangeliou. The complexity and concealment of domination fosters a situation of dependency that in turn makes theoretical characterization very difficult. Passive and subdued subjects. The Greek philosopher. this does not mean that situations of dependency do not exist. and particularly their own memory (or discourse. It exemplifies what we cannot continue to hold. but this is insufficient for it overlooks significant nuances in the phenomenon in question. they experience a situation of dependency. In this sense. When one’s reflection on this topic goes beyond the discussed historiography. as he paradoxically argues we should.” shows parallel attitudes and intentions. purely receptive and corrupters of foreign works cannot begin to think for themselves overnight.

and for some. First. a project to overcome intellectual underdevelopment. an African history of philosophy is not a phenomenon to be discovered.20 The thesis of Murungi is that without a certain vision (still to be built) of the history of one’s own philosophical reflection or of that one imposed by others. Although complex and not clear-cut. this relation has been used as a heuristic criterion to determine the birth of authentic philosophy.18 However. The argument is more or less as . reflection is impossible. So is. It is important to highlight four issues at the center of African philosophical reflection. in the scholastic spirit. a systematic critique of ethnocentrism. They clearly illustrate concerns that African and our American philosophical reflection share.23 Most reputed African authors attempt to break with these introjected structures of domination that hinder the development of autonomous philosophical thought. the African case has one “advantage” (in quotes and stated ironically in the sense that all clouds supposedly have silver linings). that he thought would have ethical and evangelizing consequences. the consciousness that colonial domination and colonial mentality easily insert themselves in the hearts and minds of the colonized.22 Probably. intentions. and he raised (ontological) metaphysical questions. In order to achieve this objective. The debate over Tempel’s work. Hountondji) and the critical epistemological version (i..e. With postcolonialism came a different objective: to organize the African philosophical memory to produce the kind of thought needed to satisfy the current needs of African people. in the spirit of Frantz Fanon. This view is confirmed in both the Europeanist vision (i. which halted the colonizing process.e. his work has been a touchstone for stimulating African philosophic discussion.19 Tempels confronted the problem of how to remove unnecessary cultural prejudices.. He or she is the we-subject of this history. Africans’ consciousness of colonial domination is still fresh. and methods continued until the beginning of the last decade. and traditional epistemological values.204 How and Why to Foster the History of Philosophy has shown that the tale about philosophy being born in Greece during the period between Thales and Aristotle is unjustified and is contradicted by the statements of the Greek thinkers themselves. Ngoma-Binda).21 In Murungi’s words: To the African. what is understood as contemporary African philosophy goes back to the work of the Belgian Franciscan Placide Tempels in 1945. thinkers become committed to attempts at a classification of African thought. the relation between myth and logos. it is a phenomenon to be constituted.

oral communication has usually been disdained as a support to knowledge. modernity. These attempts are. and modify philosophical ideas to conform to their own necessities. Second. more complex. acritical. these local subjects begin to philosophize from the specific situations in which they live. everyday habits must refer to these modalities of vital orientation that have already formed. and to reelaborate. as a common axiological horizon to a variety of projects. re-create. the oral communication of the Africans is a highly creative means to socialization and education. The most pressing dilemma that presents itself here is how to assimilate modernity without losing that which is local. as a result. Yet it constitutes an irreplaceable link to the past. These obsessions act as a catalyst of attempts to fulfill the collective yearnings. attempts to conceptualize reality itself always appear situated in some way. Without it. To avoid these traps. always in the dernier cri—blocks and slows down the region’s creative potentials. and extralogical attitude because it is in style. Under the omnipresence of these obsessions. Myth and logos do not exclude each other. the attempts of local subjects who try to develop a practical philosophy that will not fall into the academic traps that are so typical of politics of philosophy. The intense need to be in step with today’s world— which leads to a repetitive. Third. . space will open up for logos too.Horacio Cerutti-Guldberg 205 follows: where myth is present. And yet the African case wholly illustrates that this intellectual distinction is inadequate. an obsession for development. how to become a modern subject without becoming any less “African. because the borders between myth and logos are porous.” Fourth. the perception of any sort of specificity of “Our America” is made extremely difficult and the development of an autonomous reflection which directly responds to our specific necessities is impeded.24 The Latin American case is. The recognition and loyalty to their situated-ness leads these subjects to resist a mere passive application of that which is thought in other parts to their own local situation. or for access to modernization appears as the leading thread of many collective yearnings. While the Western tradition embraces graphic logocentrism. rather they mutually strengthen and enrich each other. one is condemned to cultural sterility. Knowledge is spread and shared in very fertile horizontal relationships. Finally. This is perhaps because we identify and perceive ourselves as an inherent part of the so called Western world and. in this case. it is inevitable that a conflict between the various secular traditions destined to regulate collective life arises. Intellectual effort is made unfruitful by the imposition of the corsets of argument and coded matrices that are not thought out but simply repeated. in a way. so to speak.

has dehistoricizing effects and undermines the historiographic labor by making it invisible. Among other unfortunate consequences. where I strove to put together some of the tradition’s basic characteristics. Nevertheless.206 How and Why to Foster the History of Philosophy Sterilizing Instruction In our philosophy departments it is customary to consider the instruction of the history of philosophy as the central pillar of philosophic studies. Knowledge of the development of the world history of philosophy is. Rodolfo Mondolfo. which is mine in every case.25 In order to synthesize the chief features of this tradition allow me to refer to some of my previous work. As a result they only have occasional contact with the original sources and are not in a condition to train their students in the work of an historian. a pernicious effect. which is always constituted by historiography and reinstituted by every confirming reading. Since this instruction is carried out as if it permitted the acquisition of a consciousness of the historicity of human philosophizing it causes the false perception that philosophic problems engender themselves intraphilosophically. Antonello Gerbi. No serious researcher who today works with the history of philosophic ideas in Latin America can hold the naive pretension of being able to ignore the enormous and worthwhile efforts developed in this respect since the forties and the fifties. The fundamental problem is that the professors who are in charge of this instruction are generally professors who do not dedicate themselves professionally to the history of philosophy. In addition. is privileged over other previous and possible readings. In line with the above comments we should mention that it has been the tradition of the History of Ideas—which must be understood in its strictly Latin American sense that started after the Second World War with the work of Tempels—which has emphasized the necessity of selectively working with primary sources and the difficulties that are encountered in this process. good preparation for the eventual elaboration of one’s own philosophical reflections. perhaps unintentionally. among others. One can list the honorable exceptions to this rule because they have left an important wake with their works and disciples: José Gaos. posing—and this only in the best of cases—a type of unmediated relationship with the original sources. this results in a confusion and a dissolution of the notion of a classic. especially those that took place in the process of the reconstruction of the history of ideas of our countries. at least in the beginning. One cannot justify why this last reading. with my reading being just one amongst many others. we must point out that the hegemonic instruction as it is usually practiced produces. We can afford to . Rodolfo Agoglia. supposing that this is the objective. This perspective does not appear entirely mistaken. Francisco Romero.

and accumulated language. the matter is quickly dispensed with by simply directing students to consult a manual. conceiving of the first as an indispensable complement to a complete cultural vision and unwilling to accept debilitating reductionisms. a permanent confrontation of this history of ideas with the particular national. Abelardo Villegas. regional. the following historians of philosophic ideas stand out within the tradition: José Gaos. Ricaurte Soler. Some characteristic common features of this tradition have been. In the worst of cases. Arturo Ardao. knowledge. Yamandú Acosta. situation.27 • • • Among others.Horacio Cerutti-Guldberg 207 do this much less today. Francisco Miró Quesada. and Leopoldo Zea. which has allowed a distinction between the progressive and the regressive aspects of these ideas and the use that has been made of them. among others: • an affirmation that our ideological past is worth being studied • with the highest theoretical rigor and respect for the documental sources. circumstances. .26 an emphasis on the political and ideological roles played by social agents. with its own stages. In the best of cases. outside of the work of these and other intellectuals in the region. Joâo Cruz Costa. classes. it is worth mentioning. and Latin American histories. surroundings. and a clear understanding that this work fulfilled the objectives of Latin American integration and comprehension. and demanded the right to one’s own discourse and affirmed the existence of Latin American philosophizing’s special modalities. problems. María del Carmen Rovira Gaspar. We must also add to this list the names of younger researchers who have done important work: Hugo Biagini. recognition of relevant historical periods. a tradition that is already sufficiently outlined and consolidated. a permanent concern to connect ideas with their context. Arturo Roig. and so on. Jaime Rubio Angulo. No explicit consideration is made of the decisive questions like: starting points. But. the instruction of the history of philosophy is carried out according to manualistic criteria and in a piecemeal way. internal and external debates. and. a bit of text by some author from the period supposedly under study is plucked out and the course centers around the study of this piece of work. Pablo Guadarrama. groups. academic recognition. because we are trying to work inside this tradition. among others. with a social dimension whose supposed “exteriority” must be deconstructed.

or breaking with the past through more or less decisive measures. I must make it clear that I understand philosophy as a rationally controlled exercise of conceptual reflection on reality (in its different levels) that is institutionally organized in order to form new practitioners of the discipline and in order to transmit the knowledge.29 We are now interested in identifying some parameters that arise out of the practice of “Our American” historiography that can serve as guidelines for the elaboration of an up-to-date history of philosophical ideas in the region that would be fertilized by and fertile for today’s philosophy. to put it metaphorically. To begin one needs to delimit—without looking for an exhaustive definition. Preliminary Suggestions for the Development of a History of Philosophy That Would Make Philosophizing in Latin America Possible Philosophy advances—if it indeed advances—by chewing on its past. the insufficiencies of the category of influence. something proper to a thought that is always exercised from a specific and characterizable situationality. the unfailing question arises concerning the starting point. and work styles from generation to generation. or overcoming it (aufheben). the beginning of this process. In the case of “Our America” we cannot deny the existence of pre-Columbian philosophy . Instead.208 How and Why to Foster the History of Philosophy contextualization. of course—the object of our historical activity. values. the limitations of the categories used to characterize philosophic currents (what Gaos insightfully named “the imperialism of the categories”28). Once we agree on what is to be the object of our history. I will not tarry with a detailed justification of each one of these points.30 With this in mind I offer here a list of possible guidelines for the practice of the history of philosophy in postcolonial contexts. the incidence or repercussions of philosophic elaborations in world society. Therefore. I will state them with the objective of making visible the general outline of the alternative idea of our relationship with the philosophic thinking of our past. This very institutionality is what permits individual expression and the manifestation of personal styles. regulative concepts of total history. except by coincidence. and that is not the way philosophic knowledge proceeds. one cannot prolong or break with that which is not known. habits. philosophic manifestations in contexts outside of so-called Western culture. and so on. In any case. to say it with another metaphor that has by now been canonized as a technical term.

Dominant thought can be considered to be hegemonic thought without necessarily being understood as a single and exclusive thought. Historiographic categories as nebulous and as nonoperational as “influences” and “epochs” require a reconceptualization that would enable us to determine the references in each case. It is necessary to define criteria that can be used in the philosophic dimension in order to identify the necessary divisions in the moments of the global historic process. Perhaps the most extreme solution can be somewhat fertile: exclude these terms from the historiographic enterprise altogether in order to work on identifying exactly which aspects of one type of argumentation have repercussions in subsequent ones (taking into account the importance of an active and modifying reception) and describing in detail the common features of a discourse as a whole. One of the indispensable instruments established by the historian is that of historical periods. It is important to emphasize this because there is a frequent tendency to set up milestones of political history and to slip. Analogously. into these milestones.31 Of course. since oral expression also necessarily . on postulating a certain type of starting point for this process. Obviously. an a-critical attitude vis-à-vis the ideological. and so on. contextualized appreciation for polysemias. imperceptibly. In this area of historiographic and philosophic studies the linguistic and semiotic turns have greatly transformed the historiographic labor by alerting us to naïvetés concerning the lack of knowledge of mediations. one will need to carefully study the avatars that will arise after the region’s process of reflection. The frequent institutional embeddedness of thought cannot be overlooked. By understanding it in this way we open up our investigation to receive upcoming counterhegemonic manifestations. we put its continuity into question. This leads us to examine the expressions of Indigenous and AfroAmerican thought that are effaced by institutionalized discourse and to clearly confront the institutional erasure of the category of gender in order to incorporate these alternative perspectives into the historiographic philosophic enterprise. as Arturo Roig has pertinently pointed out. Since the starting point requires a certain level of self-affirmation and of knowledge of the reality to be studied.32 To open oneself up to the expression of the thought of the social sectors mentioned above introduces variants into the discussion concerning the corpus which is to be investigated. the characteristics that this cultural product has before and after the so-called discovery will not be identical. of contingent re-beginnings of the philosophic process.Horacio Cerutti-Guldberg 209 and the survival to the present day of some of its cultural manifestations. one should speak rather.

33 Behind our new historiographic proposal lies a regulative criterion of total history as a horizon for understanding. But. graffiti. And this at a time when systems seem to have disappeared from the face of the globe! Nevertheless. The tension between the real and the ideal. These last forms of expression are both extremely valuable indicators of partially expressed discourses and are also able to be reconstructed. is never rigorously tested. scientific. From what has been said. to the extent that philosophy is conceived of as one of the many dimensions that make up the process of human historic reality. But this conclusion. and economic.210 How and Why to Foster the History of Philosophy has to be taken into account. and so forth. one must also attend to written testimonies. as if this instrumental character affected the theoretical nucleus of the argumentation in a dangerous way. religious. this weak objection wields itself as a fearful weapon against Latinamericanist reflection. introduces a critical factor into historiography that is very stimulating. The regionalization of thought should respond to the different historic spaces that have actually existed and not necessarily to a retrospective transposition of today’s nation-states. Sometimes the objection is reinforced with the rejection of the social instrumentality or social and public function that is sought after in the best of our thought. . “parallel series” can by confronted and compared with one another in their constitutive elements: political. social. This tension makes it necessary to look forward to the Golden Age and to work toward realizing it in the near future. It has become customary to criticize the essay form of the majority of our philosophic production for its supposed lack of systematic rigor. it follows that the very notion of the history of philosophy is historical and so the historicity of philosophy must be carefully considered in the activity of philosophizing. The deformations of the theoretic nuclei that occur in explicitly ideological formulations and in the formulations that are in direct relation to these are falsely considered to be the crucial and only necessary tests. in addition to the methodological and epistemological complexity that the inclusion of this aspect creates. In this way. literary. including fragmentary ones like street paintings. This will make our reconstructions more trustworthy. with philosophy as their background. the typical utopic tension. technological. of course. We must be particularly attentive to the demands of the present time and space from which we consider the past. It is necessary to track down and respectfully consider the diversity of time and space in the history of philosophy that are required to put together this history. The intention of the future then appears explicitly as an orienting criterion of the historiographic enterprise. history. artistic.

7. 3. For this reason I have proceeded by recalling some central milestones in our philosophic and historiographic tradition. En torno al pensamiento y a la obra de Cerutti Guldberg (Mexico: UNAM. p. . See also Rubén García Clark. 2000). in dismissal of ) what has been thought before.. Notes 1. utopía y política. “Historia de las ideas filosóficas latinoamericanas. 1993). Bartolomé o de la dominación (Lima: PEISA. Ensayo problematizador de su modus operandi (Mexico: Miguel Angel Porrúa-UNAM. 8. this historical work will be the shared labor of teams. and Kande Mutsaku. 1956). pp. On the Latin aspect of this America see the excellent work of Arturo Ardao America Latina y la Latinidad (Mexico: UNAM. 1997). José Ortega y Gasset: “Prólogo (ideas para una historia de la filosofía)” to Émile Bréhier. Cf. there will be abundant references and in others almost none. 2. comparing our thought with some aspects of contemporary African philosophy with which we share common endeavors and concerns.” 5. 2001). eds Filosofía. 2000). In some cases. examining the pedagogy of the history of philosophy in our universities and recommending procedures for a renovated and critical philosophic historiography. Historia de la filosofía. but one cannot do philosophy in a pertinent way in Our America in ignorance (or even worse.Horacio Cerutti-Guldberg 211 Conclusion It is worthwhile to repeat the central thesis: in our postcolonial context a reconstruction of our historic philosophic memory is necessarily required in order to exercise our philosophic activity in a pertinent manner.” in Revista de Hispanismo Filosófico (Madrid: Fondo de Cultura Económica. see my Filosofar desde nuestra América. 15–16. 6. And the historians of thought of our region assist us in shedding light on what has been thought by thinkers of other generations. 27. For an explanation of the epistemic value of the preposition “from” in my terminology. Ensayo problematizador de su modus operandi (Mexico: Miguel Angel Porrúa-UNAM. 1993) for the notion of “latinidad. Ibid. 2001). 4. America Latina y la Latinidad (Mexico: UNAM. 4th ed.. See Filosofar desde nuestra América. Excepting only rare cases. As a result of the nature of each one of these steps the bibliographic references will be unequal. See Arturo Ardao. translated by Demetrio Náñez (Buenos Aires: Sudamericana. Luis Rangel. This work must not necessarily be carried out by a lone investigator. It is not necessary to be a historian in order to do philosophy.

Ibid. Gerd-Rüdiger Hoffmann. La Philosophie Bantoue. 1963). H. and Bureacratic Power in Lesotho (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. my essay “La cuestión de la Historia de la Filosofía. 1990). and by V. 50. 1980). 1990). The Invention of Africa. 1984). 1944). Arturo Ardao has rigorously analyzed the consequences of that situation in “Sobre el concepto de historia de las ideas. Odera Oruka. 18.” Archipiélago 1:6–7 (March–August 1996). De la independencia a la emergencia del imperialismo (Mexico: Siglo XXI. “Wie und warum im subsaharischen Afrika Philosophie entstand. For a general introduction to African Philosophy cf. .” in Filosofía de la Lengua Española (Montevideo. Crucial works for these critiques are the now classic texts by Walter Rodney.. Cf. Y. 1988).212 How and Why to Foster the History of Philosophy 9. O. pp. Jean M. p. “Intercultural conflicts in African Philosophy” (Sâo Leopoldo. Enseñanza de la filosofía e investigación en Africa (Barcelona: Serbal/UNESCO. Of course. 19. Brill. 1996). 10. P. XXXII. El pensamiento hispanoamericano. I have gone over this point elsewhere. Van Parys. (Berlin: Dietz Verlag. his excellent study When Greece Met Africa: The Genesis of Hellenic Philosophy (Albany. Brasil: UNISINOS. 1991). 11. Cf. Raphael Okechukwu Madu. En torno a la filosofía mexicana (México: Alianza Editorial Mexicana. La teoría del desarrollo en transición (Mexico: FCE. 1995): 49–56 and in Memoria comprometida (Heredia. 1997). Theotonio Dos Santos. 67 and ff. 16. 20.). 15–16. 1994). 1961). translated by A. 1980). Italics in original. 12. Idea y cuestión nacional latinoamericanas. Italics in original. “Pensar América Latina. 15. José Gaos. 1982). Indiana University Press.).. “Las preguntas básicas sobre la filosofía-de-los sabios en Africa. 14.. 1975). 3d ed. Siglo XXI. How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (Washington: Howard University Press. 17. The turning point I indicate here must. The Anti-politics Machine: “Development. Augusto Salazar Bondy: ¿Existe una filosofía de Nuestra América? (México. Mudimbe. pp. 12) (México: El Colegio de México. 13. J. NY: State University of New York Press.. Philosophy. José Gaos.” in Ensayos en Homenaje a Arturo Ardao (Montevideo: Universidad de la República. No.. Tsenay Serequeberhan (ed. Une approche simple de la Philosophie Africaine (Kinshasa: Editions Loyola.). be carefully distinguished from the turning point that Salazar Bondy postulated between the unauthentic philosophy of his day and the authentic philosophy that would come after the predicted liberation of “Our America” from its state of dependency. Costa Rica: Universidad Nacional. 11. Gnosis. Bodunrin (ed.” in Revista de Filosofía de la Universidad de Costa Rica. 4–12. Hiltrud Rüstau und Gerd-Rüdiger Hoffmann (ed. and the Order of Knowledge (Bloomington and Indianapolis. Ricaurte Soler. Rubbens (Paris: Présence Africaine. Nigeria: University of Ife Press. African Philosophy The Essential Readings (New York: Paragon House. Cf. Uruguay: Alfa. Magnus Blomstrom y Bjorn Hettne. Philosophy in Africa: Trends and Perspectives (Ile-Ife. of course.” Depolitization. 1985). p.” in Wie und warum entstand Philosophie in verschiedenen Regionen der Erde? Ralf Moritz. 1988): 194–226. 1988). the following other works of interest: James Ferguson. 1993). pp. (Jornadas. Evangeliou is also the author of Aristotle’s Categories and Porphyry (Leiden: E. 10th ed. Cf. 77 (July 1994): 7–17.

The general demand for this type of reflection is reflected in the interviews with African philosophers and theologians that are included in the interesting volumes organized by Raúl Fornet-Betancourt (ed. Paris (Le Livre de Poche/UNESCO.” in Análisis XXVIII. for example. 15. . (I thank Claudio Malo González for access to this text. 3d reprinting of 2nd ed. the thought-provoking text by Morris Berman. 28. 1989): 76–96. Filósofo e historiador de las ideas (Guadalajara: Universidad de Guadalajara. Horacio CeruttiGuldberg. 24. La Philosophie Africaine Contemporaine: Analyse HistoricoCritique (Kinshasa: Facultes Catholiques de Kinshasa. I have been pleasantly surprised by the a posteriori discovery of the proximity of this delimitation that I propose to the general conception of philosophy put forth by the UNESCO since 1946. 31. 27. Jean-Paul Sartre “Prefacio” to Frantz Fanon. manifestations in Latin America. 1995). 1987). El reencantamiento del mundo (Santiago de Chile: Cuatro Vientos Editorial. Here we should recall the epigraph to his work taken from Malcolm X: “Just as a tree without roots is a dead tree. Cf. Dokumentation einer Weltumfrage (Aachen: Concordia.) But this is another discussion which it is impossible to go into here. Los condenados de la tierra (México: FCE. 1987) and La inteligencia latinoamericana (Montevideo. Ibid. 30. Cf. 2d ed. Hacia una metodología de la historia de las ideas (filosóficas) en América Latina (México: Miguel Angel Porrúa. The field of the history and the philosophy of science is also being fundamentally reformulated. p. “On the Notion of African History of Philosophy. 1997) and Memoria Comprometida (Heredia. For a detailed description of these and other philosophic expressions of our philosophic tradition see Diccionario de Filosofía Latinoamericana (México: LongmanAlhambra. 2000). John Murungi. 2d ed.. Categories like “life world” and “communicative community” are perhaps compatible with the historical circumstances and contexts. for exogenous reasons.). Dokumentation einer Weltumfrage (Aachen: Verlag für Interkulturelle Kommunikation. It is thought provoking to consider how the pragmatic turn adopted by contemporary philosophy has had. Costa Rica: Universidad Nacional. 25. I thank Edgar Montiel for access to this book. Quo vadis. 1994). 1990). For a history of ideas in this Latin American sense. 53–54 (1991): 13–202. Arturo Andrés Roig. El pensamiento latinoamericano y su aventura (Buenos Aires: Centro Editor de América Latina. 1999).. Philosophie? Antworten der Philosophen. teoría del discurso y pensamiento latinoamericano. in press). and Theologie im III Mellennium—Quo Vadis? Antworten der Theologen. 1994) and “Histora de las ideas. 1981). Teoría y crítica del pensamiento latinoamericano (México: FCE. Nrs. Ngoma-Binda. Universidad de La República.” in Arturo Andrés Roig.Horacio Cerutti-Guldberg 213 21. 1972): 7–29.. especially in the field of Latin American Philosophy. a people without tradition or culture is a dead people” (p. 29. the thought provoking study by Roger-Pol Droit.. Cf. see Arturo Ardao.. 23. Une enquête de l’UNESCO. Préface de Federico Mayor. P. Filosofía en lengua española (Montevideo: Universidad de la República. 22. Philosophie et démocratie dans le monde. 1996).” mimeograph. 1). “Elementos para una historia de la historiografía mexicana. 26. Arturo Andrés Roig.

artes y comunidad cósmica (México: Siglo XXI/UNAM. 2 (1994): 4–9. I made a still insufficient initial approximation to the African dimension of our philosophy in “Africanness: a Latin American philosophical perspective. Voces y testimonios tojolabales: Lengua y sociedad. Los hombres verdaderos. See my manuscript. 10. 1996). the stupendous study by Carlos Lenkersdorf. La lucha de los sistemas: Un ensayo sobre los fundamentos e implicaciones de la diversidad filosófica (México: UNAM. 1995).” translated by Marcia Lockett in: Unisa Latin American Report vol. no. . there are similar and very thought-provoking reflections in Nicholas Rescher. 33. For a methodological suggestion on how to work with indigenous thought cf. From the perspective of other traditions and styles of thought. ¿Una filosofía antes que ética?” for a first look at the feminist discussions in Latin America. “Estrategias teóricas de un pensamiento radical.214 How and Why to Foster the History of Philosophy 32. naturaleza y cultura.

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Filosofías para 229 . including: De Varia Utópica (Ensayos de utopía III ) (1989). where he specializes in Latin American philosophy.. ed. Una polémica del siglo XVI (1992. ed. Memoria comprometida (1996). La búsqueda de la justicia social y el bien común en tiempos del virreinato (1990. 2d. The History of Philosophy in Colonial Mexico (1998) (translated by Elizabeth Millán-Zaibert).. He has published extensively on the history of Mexican thought.1993). La teoría de la argumentación en el México colonial (1995). Hacia una metodología de la historia de las ideas ( filosóficas) en América Latina (1997). 2001).Contributors Mauricio Beuchot is a professor in the Department of Philosophy and Philology at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). una filosofía barroca (1999. ed. Estudios de historia y de filosofía en el México colonial (1991). Filosofía de la liberación latinoamericana (2d ed. La querella de la conquista. with special emphasis on the colonial period. Redmond. 2d. Sor Juana. Horacio Cerutti-Guldberg is a professor of philosophy at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). with Walter Redmond. His books include: with W. Filósofos dominicos novohispanos (Entre sus colegios y la universidad ) (1987). 2000). in English translation as. and political philosophy.. La filosofía social de los pensadores novohispanos. 1997). Presagio y tópica del descubrimiento (1991). 2d.” He is the author of many books in the area of Latin American philosophy and political thought. “Democracia y utopías: espacio público y subjetividad en América Latina.. Historia de la filosofía en el México colonial (1996). Los fundamentos de los derechos humanos en Bartolomé de las Casas (1994). the history of ideas. He heads a research project entitled. La lógica mexicana del siglo de oro (1985).

of Las Revoluciones en el Mundo Ibérico. José Martí’s Our America: From National to Hemispheric Cultural Studies (1998). Maniquis and Joseph Perez. Gracia is Samuel P.. ed. Experiencias en el tiempo (2001). Jorge J.230 Contributors la liberación. She is coeditor of Mujeres y Filosofía (1994). and Group Identity (2003). She is currently working on the book Feminist Thought in Spain and Latin America with Amy Oliver. Oscar R. Buenos Aires. ed. He is the editor or coeditor of many volumes ranging in subject from medieval philosophy to philosophical analysis in Latin America. Martí is the director of the Center for Ethics and Values at California State University. Her current research focuses on women’s studies and theories of gender.. “José Martí and the Heroic Image.” in Raul Fornet-Betancourt. He is also well known for his work on Latin American philosophy and philosophical historiography. Teología. ¿Liberación del filosofar? (2d ed. 1766–1834 (1989). Individuality: An Essay on the Foundations of Metaphysics (1988). Gracia is on the boards of several philosophy journals and edits an interdisciplinary series on Hispanic culture and thought. His books include: Old Wine in New Skins: The Role of Tradition in Communication. Martí is the author of several essays. How Can We Know What God Means? The Interpretation of Revelation (2001). Belnap and R. Filosofar desde Nuestra América (2000). E. with Robert M. Fernandez.. including: “Aportes de cubanos fuera de Cuba a la filosofía actual. Ethnicity. 1983) and is coeditor. Hispanic/Latino Identity: A Philosophical Perspective (2000). Aristóteles filósofo del lenguaje? (2001). María Luisa Femenías is a professor of philosophy and chair of the Department of Philosophy at Universidad Nacional de La Plata. Inferioridad y exclusión (1996).. “El positivismo del siglo XIX. and Nationality: A Foundational Analysis for the Twenty-First Century. He is currently working on a book entitled Surviving Race. Capen Chair and SUNY Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Argentina. He has published widely in the area of metaphysics and medieval philosophy.” in Jorge J. eds.” in J. E. Enciclopedia . Northridge. He has published numerous articles in international journals. 2001). Knowledge. 2. She is the author of Como leer a Aristóteles (1994). Philosophy and Its History: Issues in Philosophical Historiography (1992). Sobre sujeto y género (2000). Concepciones de la Metafísica. he edited The Gabino Barreda Commemorative Issue of Aztlán: International Journal of Chicano Studies and Research 14 (No. Filosofía. Gracia. A specialist in Latin American philosophy. Literatura: Aportes cubanos en los últimos años (1999).

the articles. Olivé is a member of the Editorial Board of the Biblioteca Iberoamericana de Ensayo (PaidósUNAM). He is the author of: Debates (1989). “Analytical Philosophy in Latin America” and “Positivist Thought in Latin America. and in the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy (1998). Truth. and social and political philosophy. a project in which some 500 Iberoamerican philosophers have participated. he is editor of Ética y Diversidad Cultural. with Fernando Salmerón he coedited. Vertigos argumentales. Una ética de la disputa (1994). IL and has also taught at the Universidad Simón Bolívar in Caracas. Homenaje a Fernando Salmerón (1996). recent examples include. Sueños de vagabundos. el mal y la razón. moral y literatura (1998). Educación e Historia. a volume entitled. and Argumentation. Philosophie und Rechtstheorie in Mexiko (1989). His primary areas of investigation are the role and structure of argument and rhetoric in philosophy. Filosofía Moral. Facetas de la ciencia y la tecnología (2000). and with Fernando Salmerón he edited a volume in German. Her research interests are Latin American philosophy and German philosophy. and she regularly publishes articles in these fields. and aesthetics. and the search for philosophical identity (2004). “Luces y sombras de la escritura filosófica en español. La Identidad Personal y la Colectiva (1994). Carlos Pereda is Research Fellow at the Instituto de Investigaciones Filosóficas. His primary research interests are in epistemology. He is a member of the Editorial Board of Enciclopedia Iberoamericana de Filosofía (Editorial Trotta-CSIC. Un ensayo sobre filosofía.” in Revista de Occidente (2000) and “Association. ethics. León Olivé is professor of philosophy at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) and Research Fellow at the Instituto de Investigaciones Filosóficas. and Crítica de la razón arrogante (2000). She has held research fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. More recently he has authored Multiculturalismo y Pluralismo (1999) and El Bien.” Elizabeth Millán-Zaibert is assistant professor of philosophy at DePaul University in Chicago. (1993). He has published numerous articles in national and international journals. values.” in Perspectives on Habermas (2000). philosophy of science and technology. He has coedited.Contributors 231 Iberoamericana de Filosofía (1998). . She is coeditor (with Jorge Gracia) of Latin American Philosophy for the 21st Century: the human condition. with Luis Villoro. Conversar es humano (1991). Madrid). Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM).

Argentina. the Sociedad Argentina de Análisis Filosófico (SADAF). with Maria Julia Bertomeu. Luna. among others.232 Contributors Eduardo Rabossi is a Senior Research Fellow (CONICET-Argentina) and Professor and Chair of Metaphysics and Philosophy of Language at the University of Buenos Aires. Bioethics: Latin American Perspectives (2002). F. He was founding member of one of the few philosophical societies dedicated to philosophical analysis in Latin America. He is the author of many books and articles dedicated to philosophical analysis and its applications to various branches of philosophy. including: Análisis filosófico. with Fernando Salmerón. He served as a member of the National Commission on Missing Persons in Argentina and as Argentina’s State Undersecretary of Human Rights (1984–1989). Her research and teaching focus on ethical theory and applied ethics. Etica y análisis (1985). Bioética (1998) and Decisiones de Vida o Muerte (1995). He has been a British Council Fulbright and Guggenheim Fellow and a Research Fellow at the National Humanities Center and the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. She has coedited. and “Philosophical Analysis in Argentina” (1984). Salles is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY) and is a docent in the Master Program in Applied Ethics at the University of Buenos Aires. Arleen L. . Recent publications center on emotions in ethical theory and the notion of autonomy in the Latin-American context. with F. He is well known for his work in analytic philosophy. lengua y metafísica (1977).

Jacques. 31. 85 Basalenque. Rudolph. John P. 79 Cicero. 86. 94. It does not cover the bibliographies or the biographical sketches of the contributors at the end of the volume. Mauricio. 211. 79. Arturo. Rosi. 78. Diego Martín de. 77. Francisco. 103. 117 Amorós. 5 Castro. Gabino. 154 Bréhier. 128 Beauvoir. 114. 78. 97. Agustín Pablo. José de. 79. 104 Bartolache. 213 Aristotle. 35. Andrés. Antonio. 61 Beuchot. 83. 141 233 . Celia. 113. 58. 47. 113. 141. 66. 97. Yamandú. 97. St. Thomas. 17. Samuel. 98. 122. Emile. Magnus. 17. 154 Bello. George. 91. 206 Alberdi. 77. 88. 154 Bacon. 82. 95. 72 Briceño. 98 Benitez. 101 Brucker. 94. Hugo. Linda Martin. 42. 135. 155.Index The index records proper names. 156 Bergson. 86. 120. 81. 18. 117 Alzate. 65 Casas. 69 Bunge. Alfonso. 75. José Luís. 3. 213 Berkeley. 23. 97. Francis. 112. 98 Brunschwig. Francisco Javier. 61. 102. Laura. Henri-Louis. 102. Johann Jakob. Diego José. 193 Carnap. Ignacio. 121. 116. Diego. 87. 5 Braidotti. 124. 17. 71. 212 Arriarán. 40 Cabrera. 85. 95. 97. 66. 103 Alcázar. 54. 16. 99. 207 Blomstrom. 79 Ardao. Bartolomé de las. 147. Acosta. 102 Cerutti-Gulberg. Rodolfo. 17 Alegre. 11. 79. 15. Felipe. 5 Beristain de Souza. 105 Berman. Manuel. 117 Abellán. 204. 212. 105 Barreda. José Antonio. 207. 4. 12. 193 Augelli. 212 Boutroux. 99. 18. 129 Atienza. 39. Juan Bautista. 17. 41 Acosta. Horacio. 101. Emile. 4. 90. Simone de. Morris. 94. 16. 114. 12. 207 Agoglia. 146. 95. 6. 40 Augustine. 115. 109–129 Biagini.. 102. 95. 173 Caso. 116. 118 Barreda y Laos. Abad. Mariano. Mario. 156 Aquinas. 197–214 Cervantes de Salazar. 116 Alcoff. 112. 42. Isabel.

52 Diógenes Laertius. 176. 112 Echeverría. 200. 207. 84. 99. 113. José. David. 177. 99. 134. 75. Charles Robert. 103 Eguiara y Eguren. 71. 199. 147 Deústua. 206. 98 Droit. 5 Díaz de Gamarra y Dávalos.234 Cieza de León. 115 Hume. Alejandro. Francisco Javier. 155 Franco. 85. Juan Benito. Auguste. 21–42. Guillermo. 97.. Pablo. 193 Guadarrama. 181. 182. 116. 179. Jürgen. 47 Davis. 169. Bolivar. 122. 86. E. 133. Manuel. 91. 61. Edmund. 212 Hortigosa. 97. 155 Comte. 5. 192. 72 Ingenieros. 116 Habermas. Bernal. Eric Donald. 62. James. 179–181. Joao. Luís de. 54. Rubén. 75. 111. 47. John. 42 . 28. 87. Paul. 61 Herder. 101. José. Raúl. 171–177. 131–157 Ferguson. 160. 153 Heraclitus. 98. 183 Hernandez Luna. 98. 127 Gaos. 30 Hispano. 102 Irigaray. 211 Garzón Valdés. 96. 95. 203. Emmanuel. 13. 161. 33. 13. René. 39. Frederick. 94. 154. 168. 79 Cigala. 94 Hoffman. Michel. Alonso. 102. 7. 207 Guerra. 99 Díaz. María Luisa. José. 6 García Clark. 18 Kant. 6. Guillermo. Hans-Georg. 212 Hinojosa. 182. Elsa Cecilia. 101. 183. 123. 145 González Prada. Benito. 40. 95 Index Frondizi. Edmundo. Ricardo. 6. 112. 83. 124 Eisenberg. 128 Díaz del Castillo. 42. 131–157 Darwin. Johan Gottfried. 72 Cruz Costa. 112. 52. 109. 103. 114. Georg Wilhem Friedrich. 40. 95. 61. 75. Donald. 80. 175. Bjorn. 128 Femenías. 116. Jean. 13. 212 Fabri. Rüdiger. 17. 66. 207 Cruz. 65. 31. 63. 101 Fanon. 81. 120. 146. Estevan 86. 165. 112 Gadamer. 90. 12. 80. 80. 13. 65 Hartmann. 213 Duns Scotus. Risieri. 65. 61 Hurtado. 79. 88 Copleston. 154 Jaksic. 96. 193 Gracia. José. 206 Góngora y Argote. 84. Ernesto. 31. 65. 102. 58. Thomas. 159. 179. Ricardo. 118. 47. 65. 116. 123. Alfredo. 212 Ferrater Mora. Jorge J. 42 Escobar. 82. 94. 181. 105. 213 Foucault. 220 Evangeliou. 97. José. 102. 178. 183 Kempff Mercado. 177. Nicolai. 15. 60. 208 García Bacca. 47. Harol Eugene. Harald. 123 Echeverría. Francisco. 28. 213 Farías Brito. Christos. 134. 165 Davidson. 85. 94. 59. 124. Enrique. 112 Husserl. 95 Frost. 41 Descartes. 47 Kino. Soren. 79 Dussel. 96. Beatriz. 136. Iván. 128 Colombi. Pedro. 133. Pedro. 193 Gerbi. 116 Hirsch. 161. 32. 157 Francovich. 116. 118 Hoffding. 16. 71. Manuel. 103 Falla Barreda. Porfirio. 101 . 41. 52. Antonio de. 81. Frantz. 116. 104. Sor Juana Inés de la. 84. 180. 117. 116 Hobbes. Luce. 123. 94. 182. 41 Kierkegaard. Roger-Pol. 84. 113 Guerrero. Eusebio Francisco. 17. Juan. 100. 8. 72 Fornet-Betancourt. Raimundo de 5 Feijoo. Pedro de. 33 Hegel. 14. 14. Antonello. 128. 77. 105 Hettne. 204. 173. 128 Clavijero. 119. 113.

105 Robles. 207. 63. 112. 97. Susana. 105. Miguel. Chandran. 128 Rescher. Odera. 157 Pereda. 214 Rich. 211 Oruka. 86. 116 León Pinelo. 58 Piñon. 116 Roig. Thomas. 100. 40 Mercado. 172. 42. 5 Kukathas. Nicholas. 147. 174 Millán-Zaibert. Justus. 95. Agustín. 73 Nuccetelli. 178. Plato. 156. 128 Rivera y Sanromán. Kande. 112 Malebranche. 101 Llull. 77. Walter. 95. 17 Ockham. 40. 162. 101. Alasdair. 41. 79. 139. 54 Quine. 160. 163. 17. 32. Larry. 14.O. 211 Naranjo. José Carlos. Raimundo. Luis. Kart. 113. 1. 157. 116 Navarro. 5. Athanasius. 124. 120. Oscar R. 104. 97. 8. Richard. 192 More. 80. 115. Diego de. Carmen. 128 Russell. 174. Juan de. 118. 26. John Stuart. John.. 206 Rorty. 155. 165. Bernabé. 41 Nietzsche. 89. 178 MacIntyre. 173 Lukes. 88. 212 Parmenides. Nicolás. 115. 136. 96. 142. 116 Rubio Angulo. 84. 3. 103 Laudan. 192 Recaséns Siches. 154. Eduardo. 122. 99. 159–195 235 Ortega Sotomayor. 65. Enrique. Agustín de la. 13. 100. Eduardo. José Victorino. 127 Magallón. Carlos. 14. 164. 53. Elizabeth. 103. Will. Rodolfo. 31. 101 León Portilla. 5 Mondolfo. 157. 6. H. León. 61. 82. 99. 31. Francisco. 192 Larroyo. Manuel. 220 Lastarria. 66. 212 Rodríguez. 47. 118 Maneiro. 96 Mejía Valera. 124 Rabossi. W. 105. Christine de. 79. 115 Mill. Luís. Arturo Andrés. 142. 61. 89. Michel de. 192 Kymlicka. 9. 61. 6. 204. 104. 176 Olivé. Gabriel. 65 Quiroga. 118. 62. 90.V. 163. 135. Octavio. 137. 92. 173 Popper. 96. Jaime 207 Rueda. 155 Mendieta. 75–105 Medina. Steven. 6 Redmond. 206 Montaigne. Vasco de. 97.Index Kircher. Luís. 112 Rousseau. Francisco. Rossi. 113 Pizan. 82. John. 10. 25. 176. 152. Diego. 116. 94 Méndez Plancarte. 82. José. 116. 154. 162. 192 Leibniz. 97 . 145 Locke. 138. Paul. 61. 80. Friedrich. 140. 6. 112 Lipsius. 211 Raz. Gottfried Wilhelm. 17. Pedro de. 40 Miró Quesada. 145 Korn. 144. 83. 209. Mario. Alejandro. 9. Walter. 50. 72. William of. 90. 144 Passmore. 47. Antonio. 99. 123. 31. 53. 96. 47. 5. Bertrand. 103s Mariátegui. John. 223 Romero. 84. Oswaldo. Eduardo. 207 Molina. 113 Rangel. 54. 95. 213. Adrienne. 83. Jean Jacques. 213 Mutsaku. 51. Tomás de. Paz. 13. 198. Alejandro. 98. 154 Murungi. 113. 95. 112. 57–73 Ramos. Francisco. Francisco. 79. Vicente. 95. 5. 65. 129. 16. 3. 111. 105. 42. Samuel. 213 Nicol. 95. 153. Carlos. 101 Martí. 52 Rovira Gaspar. Manuel. 154. 5. 207 Rubio. 62. 157 Ricoeur. 128 Rodney. 94. 121. 98. 134. 11. 204. Joseph. 16. 25. 41 Martí. 115 Morkovsky. 111. 104 Pereyra. 6. 10. Francisco. 128 Ngoma-Binda. Phambu. 43–55 Pereira Barreto. 88. 101 Ortega y Gasset. Juan Luís.. 73 Rosa. 78. Christine.

97. 198. 147 Zea. 161. 155. Antonio de. 84. 41. 136 Schutte. 124 Zayas y Sotomayor. Ricaurte. 96 . 4. 150 Villanueva. 42. José. 104. 156 Index Ueberweg. 96. 3. Alonso de la. Quentin. Jerónimo. 154 Sayers Peden. Ramón. 79. 104 Sastre. 160. 159. Gottlied. 89. 114. 189. 61. 6 Valadés. 79. 5 Schleiermacher. 25. Mario. 156. 213 Sau. 161. 194 Sanchez MacGregor. 112. 1 Salmerón. María Isabel. 94 Valverde y Téllez. 40. 90. 127 Sócrates. 169. 116. 65. 80. 72 Windelband. 112. 41. 120 Xirau. 52. 17 Salazar Bondy. 193. 97. 164 Veracruz. Martín de la. Abelardo. 96 Wittgenstein. 113 Vieyra. 129. 212 Salles. Miguel de. 181. 97. 155. 28. Max. Ofelia. 95. 66. 82. Juan de. 113. 75. Juan de. 11. Francisco. 41 Sigüenza y Góngora. 193. 101. 95 Schwartzmann. 98 Taylor. 177–187. Xavier. 40. 105 Van Parys. 98 Suarez. Arleen L. Charles. 72. 192. 203 Santa Cruz. 41. 98. Ambrosio. 124 Skinner. 157 Sarmiento. 95. 115 Zubiri. 192. Friedrich. Ludwig. 121. Carlos de. 113. 160. 18. 17. 142. 103. 42. 14. 155 Scheler. 21. 127. Margaret. 53 Vaz Ferreira. 77. 6. Enrique. 99. 102. 81. 115 Wilson. 172. 47. 60 Tiedemann. 154 Stanley. Victoria.. 159. 71 Schons. 17. 212 Spelman. 207. Thomas. Naomi. 183. 96. Friedrich. 128 Valera. 127. Joaquín. 70 Unamuno. Carlos. Jean Marie. 175. 60. 185. Augusto. 7. 180. 63. 207. 96.236 Sáenz. Luis. 2. 96 Villegas. 15. 203. Dietrich. 169. 122. 181. Herbert. 123. 156 Spencer. 60 Torre. 136. 112. 45.. Joaquín. Dorothy. 72. 100. Margaret. Emeterio. 88 Spivak. Alan S. 98. 80. Leopoldo. 94. 207. 52. Wilhem. 14. 193. Fernando. Jean Paul. F. 42. 144. 83. 17. 81. 155 Zack. Félix. 195 Tennemann. 6 Xirau. 176. 212 Vasconcelos. 81. Francisco de. 71. 136. 18. 201–203. 61. 143. 182. 194 Vitoria. Zumárraga. 100. María de. 5. 173 Soler. 188. 28. 53 Velasco Gómez. Elizabeth. 41. 115. Gayatri. 40. 17 Zapata y Sandoval. 88. 99 Trueblood. Diego. 5. 114. 100. Domingo Faustino. Villoro.

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