"Not at all modern and very twentieth century": reflections about a sentence of Ortega y Gasset

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This paper focuses on a well-known sentence of the Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset in El Espectador in order to understand the meaning of 'modernity' in his writings. The analysis will take place at four different levels: 1. showing that for Ortega modernity is the epoch of idealism and subjectivity, with the consequent reduction of reality to something virtual; 2. grasping the ambiguous place that phenomenology has in modernity according to Ortega: on the one hand, phenomenology is the consummation of the project of modernity and, on the other, it is the opening of a new horizon, with the introduction of such notions as the noetic-noematic correlation or the executive character of consciousness; 3. trying to understand the 20th century (and a fortiori the 21st) as the century of the exhaustion of modernity, in need of a new grounding of thought in life – life understood as 'my own life'; 4. assessing the relevance of Ortega’s diagnosis of Spain in the light of the fact that the historical withdrawal of Spanish culture from modernity has given Spain a chance to live up to the challenge posed by the exhaustion of modernity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-197
Number of pages19
JournalEtudes Phénoménologiques
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Phenomenology
  • neo-Kantianism
  • Modernity
  • Consciousness
  • Philosophy of culture


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