History of European Ideas 38 (2):266-287 (2012)

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Summary The article deals with the political thought of the young Spanish philosopher and intellectual, José Ortega y Gasset (1883?1955). The main aim is to examine to what extent his political thought was articulated in a systematic manner, and to understand if it was meant to be practically implemented. Ortega's political thought has been described as liberal on the one hand, and anti-democratic and conservative on the other. The disparities regarding Ortega's politics usually arise from his declarations, which aimed to confront the changing social and political situation in Spain. To many researchers, these declarations seem incoherent, evolutionary, or ideas that can be directly deduced from the evolution of his philosophical theory. The extent to which Ortega's political theory was systematic will be understood through focusing on the role designed for the Spanish intellectuals in Ortega's declarations and works. Instead of considering his political thought in relation to either his philosophy or the political events and changing circumstances in Spain, I will attempt to examine how, during the years of his youth, his political declarations were always guided by a consistent feature with a practical political purpose: to challenge the Spanish intellectuals to promote social awareness of and reflection on the country's problems, and to consider potential solutions to these problems.
Keywords Ortega y Gasset, José  Spanish intellectuals  social democratic awareness  Spanish Socialist Party  Restoration Monarchy  political democracy
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DOI 10.1080/01916599.2011.646687
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