Historical reason

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review



This chapter tries to grasp the relation between vital reason and historical reason. As has been said above, especially in chapter “Phenomenology Revisited” , Ortega establishes a close connection between reason and life: reason originates in life and endeavors both to understand its meaning and to illuminate its projects. But meaning is a historical category, depending on the fact that life is guided, either by the belief on a transcendent Being, or by public virtues in the domains of ethics and politics, or by faith in scientific progress, or by any other ideal. In important essays like En Torno a Galileo, for instance, Ortega tried to show the relation of reason to an overall worldview, which in the case of the Ancient World was structured around the belief on the reality of the Cosmos (even if it was a Cosmos inhabited by immortal gods) and in the case of Modernity is structured around a physical-mathematical project. The chapter also aims to address the important issue of the relation between history and truth. The philosophical kern of the problem (analyzed, for instance, in Ideas y Creencias and La Razón Histórica) lies in the following questions: Does truth change with historical epochs? Can the same basic truths be valid for the medieval man and the nineteenth century? We will try to show that Ortega’s answer may be found in his “perspectivism.” According to Ortega’s perspectivism (somewhat different from Nietzsche’s, regardless the influence of Nietzsche on Ortega), each epoch, perhaps even each generation, sees the world from one perspective, namely, the one that corresponds to its vital needs. Perspectivism is the outcome of the necessary selective function of a reason embedded in life and in its system of importancias (things that matter), a function that neither rationalism nor relativism were able to understand.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe philosophy of Ortega y Gasset reevaluated
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9783030792497
ISBN (Print)9783030792510, 9783030792480
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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