José Ortega y Gasset: modern, anti-modern, present Lecture Series EMINENT SPANIARDS

José Ortega y Gasset: modern, anti-modern, present

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Thomas Mermall

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  1. Thomas MermallThomas Mermall

    Húngaro (1937), nacionalizado norteamericano, ha sido profesor en varias universidades de Estados Unidos y está especializado en el ensayo español del siglo XX. Es autor de Las alegorías del poder en Francisco Ayala (1984) y La retórica del humanismo: la cultura española después de Ortega, además de editor de La rebelión de las masas, de José Ortega y Gasset (1998).

José Ortega y Gasset, one of the most powerful minds in the history of Spanish thought and a significant figure of the contemporary philosophical landscape, deserves beyond expectation a place in the pantheon of "eminent Spaniards". Along his wide and tireless reformist labour we can highlight his wish of making accessible to all Spaniards the trends of modern thought and submit them, in words of one of his biographers, to the "imperative of modernity". And yet, while Ortega defended the new sensibility he declared himself as "not modern at all and very much of the 20th century".

I believe that the most fruitful approximation to the sense and importance of his writings is to appreciate them as a modernizing will, anxious to elevate the Spanish culture to the level of European science, but that at the same times attempting to overcome those manifestations of modernity that our thinker considered limited, erroneous, expired, or damaging. In my conference I propose to make a brief analysis of some of the key essays of the Madrid-born philosopher, as well as the critics and comments that our thinker made to figures like Descartes, Galileo, Darwin, Velázquez, Debussy, among others. This way we will discover a modern, anti-modern, and current Ortega.