Ortega’s social philosophy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This first part of this chapter is mainly devoted to an analysis of The Revolt of the Masses and to Ortega’s distinction between minorities and masses. (The origin of this distinction can be traced in philosophers such as Nietzsche who had a lasting influence on Ortega but also in his own reflections about Spain and the ways of rescuing it.) We will show that the philosophical method consisting in a search for the “latent” dimensions of reality beneath its patent levels—proposed for the first time in the Meditations on Quixote—is applied here to social reality. The psychological and sociological type Ortega names “the mass-man” underlies European and American life and explains their most visible aspects: the contempt for the past, the mentality of the heir who does not have to take care of his heritage, the technical specialization without worries of cultural and ethical nature. We will then turn to Ortega’s social ontology in Man and People, showing its deep relations with Alfred Schütz’s social ontology. Both authors aim to give a philosophical foundation of Max Weber’s comprehensive sociology and ground social ontology on life as a radical reality. On the other hand, the two authors address several criticisms to the Husserlian theory of intersubjectivity, exposed in the fifth Cartesian Meditation. They both doubt of the possibility of the transcendental grounding program that Husserl intended to achieve, proposing instead a phenomenological description of the social world as lived in the natural attitude. We will also show that, for both, the experience of the “social” is the experience of a level of “invisibility,” i.e., the norms, procedures, and laws that manifest themselves in the effective reality of a community.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe philosophy of Ortega y Gasset reevaluated
EditorsCarlos Morujão, Samuel Dimas, Susana Relvas
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9783030792497
ISBN (Print)9783030792480, 9783030792510
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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