- Ortega y Gasset, José
- (1883–1955)Spanish philosopher and essayist. Ortega y Gasset was born in Madrid, and educated by Jesuits, before studying in Germany. He taught metaphysics in Madrid from 1910 until 1936, when his republican activities compelled him to leave for Argentina, and then Portugal. He left few academic philosophical works, but exerted a great influence on the modernization of Spanish intellectual life through newspaper articles and teaching. In his Meditaciones del Quijote (1914, trs. as Meditations on Quixote, 1961), he looks for a way between idealism, which overemphasizes the mind, and realism, which overemphasizes things, finding it in the priority of life, or in the Hegelian composite of the self-with-things. Each life is one point of view on the universe; truth is therefore plural, for no one view is uniquely true. A life is a drama, chosen in an existentialist fashion. In spite of his republicanism Ortega y Gasset had little respect for the thinking of the mob, mired in lazy common-sense empiricism. The aristocratic first principles of a Plato or a Descartes are to be chosen and embraced for their fertility; only the plebeian Aristotle would want to found them in sense experience. Works include La Rebelión de las masas (1930, trs. as The Revolt of the Masses, 1931) and En torno a Galileo (1933, trs. as Man and Crisis, 1958).
Philosophy dictionary. Academic. 2011.