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Phenomenology in Latin America

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-ZA015-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved July 23, 2024, from

Article Summary

The Latin American struggle against the positivism of the nineteenth century was the primordial endeavour of the founders of Latin American thought, such as José Enrique Rodó (1872–1917), José Vasconcelos (1882–1959), Alejandro Korn (1860–1936), Carlos Vaz Ferreira (1871–1958), Alejandro Deústua (1849–1945), Enrique Molina (1871–1956) and Antonio Caso (1883–1946). These thinkers fought to win their philosophical freedom in a battle against continuing such European currents as Neo-Kantianism and the existential-phenomenological movement, on the one hand and on the other, developing a philosophy that was purely Latin American.

In all of this the influence of the Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset (1883–1955) was fundamental. Ortega y Gasset was mainly interested in the problems of history and culture. His famous apothegm, ‘I am myself and my circumstance’ (1947: 322), was the justification for a phenomenological movement axiological in nature, as well as being the point of departure for the affirmation of Latin American circumstance.

Few have cultivated the Husserlian style of phenomenology in Latin America outside the classroom. Latin American thinkers have preferred to apply the phenomenological method to the different fields of knowledge. In particular, those dealing with sociocultural aspects, literary criticism, socio-economic structures and juridical axiology. In all works related to axiology the thought of the philosophers Nicolai Hartmann (1882–1950) and Max Scheler (1874–1928) were enormously influential.

Many of those originally inclined towards phenomenology drifted from the 1970s onwards, towards analytic philosophy, philosophy of science and logical neopositivism.

Citing this article:
Bertelloni, Maria Teresa. Phenomenology in Latin America, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-ZA015-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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