What is Knowledge? [Book Review]

Common Knowledge 10 (2):365-365 (2004)

Barry Allen
McMaster University
José Ortega y Gasset (1883-1955) is the most original philosophical voice in modern Spanish history. This posthumous work comprises lectures and seminars held in Madrid, 1929-1934. While Ortega was meeting with students, Spain was in turmoil. In 1931 the King was deposed; within a year of the last lecture, Spain had descended into civil war. Ortega made his classroom a refuge where philosophy would continue to be taught despite the barbarism swelling around them. Throughout his argument there are echoes of Dewey's pragmatism, Bergson's vitalism, and Heidegger's existential ontology, with anticipations of Wittgenstein and Foucault. In the end, though, Ortega is completely on his own — a subtle, erudite, urbane, Socratic philosopher, whose newly translated lectures on knowledge are a dionysian epistemology with constant reference to Cervantes.
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DOI 10.1215/0961754X-10-2-365-a
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