In my opinion, José Ortega y Gasset (1883-1955)
was the greatest philosopher of the first half of the twentieth century and one of greatest philosophers of all time. He not only revolutionized metaphysics but also developed a theory of history and a sociology that anticipated many of the developments of the second half of the century.
Although he is known in the United States primarily by his book, The Revolt of the Masses
, the best introductions to his thought are the following works:
Some Lessons in Metaphysics
- This is a series of lectures Ortega gave to his students at the University of Madrid at the height of his fame in 1933. He introduces his students to metaphysics by referring them to their immediate experience in the classroom.
Man and Crisis
- Also consisting of a series of lectures, Ortega here develops a theory of history based on alternating periods of stability and crisis, stability as evidenced by a set of agreed upon beliefs and crisis by a breakdown of those beliefs.
Man and People
- Although unfinished at the time of his death, Ortega here presents a basic introduction to sociology based upon the previously developed metaphysics and theory of history in his other works.
Having studied his thought for over 50 years, I feel very confident in answering any questions or replying to any comments you have regarding his philosophy and works. I have recently started a website, OrtegaInUs
, that is still under construction and includes a Bibliography of Works in English By and About Ortega and a webpage on The Meaning of Life, consisting of translations of passages from Ortega's works on the concept of "life," which was at the heart of his philosophy.
In addition to replies to this topic you may submit questions to me directly at [email protected]