Heidegger in Mexico: Emilio Uranga’s ontological hermeneutics [Book Review]

Continental Philosophy Review 41 (4):441-461 (2008)

Abstract

“Exiled” Spanish philosopher José Gaos was the first to translate, in its entirety, Martin Heidegger’s Sein und Zeit . Emilio Uranga, a student of Gaos in Mexico City (exiled since 1938), appropriates Heidegger’s ontological hermeneutics in an effort to expose the historico-existential structures making up “ lo mexicano, ” or Mexicanness. Uranga’s Análisis del ser del mexicano (1952) freely and creatively employs the methods of existential analysis, suggesting that the being-there of the Mexican being is ontologically “insufficient” and “accidental”—modes of being reflected in existential expressions of sentimentality, indifference, and angst particular to this form of life . As a work indebted to Heidegger’s Sein und Zeit, Analysis of the Being of the Mexican fails to be faithful to this method. This, however, is the source of its value. The purpose of this paper is two-fold: one, to introduce the Anglo–American philosophical readership to Uranga’s existential phenomenology; and, two, to disentangle the lines of thought that make up Uranga’s Análisis and in the process defend Uranga from the possible charge that he ignorantly misappropriates Heidegger’s method.

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Carlos Alberto Sanchez
San Jose State University

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