Philosophy and Vocation: Jose Gaos' modern philosophy seminar
-ed. Aurelia Valero Pie-

translated by D. Ohmans
© copyright 2018

Text imprint Mexico City, Fondo de Cultura Economica, ©2012

Philosophy and Vocation TOC
Editor's introduction Paper by José Gaos on the philosophic vocation Paper by Ricardo Guerra on the philosophic vocation Paper by Alejandro Rossi on the philosophic vocation Paper by Emilio Uranga on the philosophic vocation preceded by a letter to José Gaos Paper by Luis Villoro on the philosophic vocation Commentary by José Gaos Commentary by Ricardo Guerra Commentary by Alejandro Rossi Commentary by Emilio Uranga Commentary by Luis Villoro Summary by José Gaos Epilogue by Guillermo Hurtado Chronology

EDITOR'S INTRODUCTION During the first academic semester of 1958, the master José Gaos and his students Ricardo Guerra, Alejandro Rossi, Emilio Uranga, and Luis Villoro organized a Seminar of Modern Philosophy. The idea consisted in gathering, once a month throughout the course of a year, to discuss classic and contemporary works which each one would expound according to their specialty and greater knowledge concerning the authors. Following those guidelines, they agreed that Gaos would explain some texts of Kant, Heidegger and Husserl; Guerra and Rossi would so so with several others of Hegel, Uranga would tackle Feuerbach's thought, and Villoro would comment, for his part, on Husserl and on Jaspers. The traces are few that are preserved from those sessions, dedicated to dialogue and the interchange of ideas, without excluding on principle, given the strong personalities gathered there, polemic and confrontation. There subsists, however, a series of writings that each member of the seminar prepared, dedicated to the theme of philosophic vocation. At what precise moment--the question seemingly was asked--did their interest in philosophy commence and why had they persevered, vitally and professionally, in that discipline? The first question that that in turns awakens is obvious: how and why was a survey taken, from the critique of the founding texts of contemporary philosophy to inquiry into the specific circumstances that had led to their analysis? The proposal, there is no doubt, emerged through the initiative of José Gaos, for whom the themes of vocation and its origin, far from representing a digression in his philosophical reflections, constituted the very basis of them. This restlessness was founded in the spectacle of failure of which, in his eyes, the philosophers of every age were victims, charged with finding a universal and eternal truth, only to see themselves refuted by their sons and intellectual descendents. To its discredit, given that it never stopped living with a certain discomfort, the logic which ruled the history of philosophy had been reproduced in his own life, passing in the space of a few years from the scholastic to the neo-Kantian and, ultimately, to phenomenology, first in Edmund Husserl's variant and, some time after, in that of Max Scheler. When existentialism and historicism's turn arrived, he confessed: "I could no longer welcome them as the truth... I was already chastened by the succession of previous truths..." From the rationalization of that experience emerged and was nourished his very particular skepticism, which came to be called "personalism." In deference to historicism--that, in general terms, departs from the succession of doctrines throughout time to affirm the pertinence of a specific moment in space, the historicity of a man and of his thought--the personalism of Gaos maintains its temporal simultaneity and its root in the thinking subject, solitary in the last analysis. It deals, then, with a radicalized form of the former which, without the consolation of an historical community to belong to, obliges, even invites one to learn to live under the conception of the "historical solitude of the individual within her time." Despite said skepticism, to which was sometimes imputed his lack of vitality and his incapacity to produce a work of his own, Gaos was never resigned to abandon philosophy. If it was not possible to obtain constants in that discipline insofar as an object of study, he would have to seek them in its subject, the philosopher. What did those ones have in common, dedicated to the search for an impossibility, for a chimera of the intellect? Under the sign of this interrogative there begins to gestate in his mind the theme of the vocation of those called to demonstrate the limits of human understanding. As can be concluded from his writings, this reflection recurred in his now faraway years in Spain, a time before the outbreak of the Civil War and when he commenced as a young professor in the International University of Verano, in Santander. It was then that he proposed offering some conferences upon "Intellectual characteristics. Principles and problems of intellectual orientation in life and its specialization," as well as a course entitled "Orientation and vocation in the liberal professions." With the idea of punctuating his ideas and conferring a more concrete content on them, he presented a series of questionnaires to his students, deriving from different schools and areas of knowledge. Among the questions figured the following: "Upon what, in the last and final analysis, in your judgment, does dedication in general to certain activities depend, professional or non-professional, in preference to others?" "Upon what, in the last and final analysis, in your judgment, does dedication in particular to the profession chosen or practiced by you depend?" And many others that dealt with the places, times, qualities, aptitudes, and characteristics in general which, in the opinion of the interviewed, that were necessary to practice it. Nothing remains of the responses that resulted from that poll more than the suspicion they must have harbored some value, since Gaos, now in Mexico, lamented having lost such important documents among the rubble left by the war. Though it would be more exact to say: almost none, given that among the papers held in the archive a duly numbered and completed questionnaire exists. The person shown there was none but the subject himself. "I practiced--he affirmed-- a professional mixture of what today is called general scientific research with the technique of university teaching: I am a professor of philosophy in the university and a university professor should be, according to the dominant ideas, a scientist, and furthermore a docent." Less conventional seems the reply to the interrogation concerning his motivations which, he maintained, derived in his case "from individual tendencies, of an individual character; fundamentally, of the sex instinct or of an erotic character, the desire for enjoyment, sensual or aesthetic, and of a hedonistic character; of the desire for superiority and domination and of arrogance and of the desire to profit from them; also of the capacity for enjoyment from eroticism or from pride." Seemingly this is his first reference to pride, a trait that he considered distinctive to his personality and which later he would attribute as common to philosophers - perhaps for constituting one hundred percent of the responses preserved to his poll. It may be assumed that in the years around his course at the University of Santander he continued meditating about this idea, given that in October of 1938, in what was the first cycle of conferences in Mexico City, he presented it to his public now transformed in concept. A philosopher, he declared then, was one who turned to philosophy out of "desire for primary knowledge," convinced that this latter represented that which had been defined since ancient Greece as a "science of first principles." Through an operation similar to that which Nietzsche had deployed to exhibit the "will to power" as the principle of life, Gaos revealed what was hidden behind the patient and purportedly disinterested search for the truth: pride, a vital pulse that was manifested as consciousness or mere desire for intellectual superiority. There was in effect, the expositor maintained, a "pre-established harmony between philosophy and pride," given that "in both the same fundamental notes are sounded": intellectuality, redemptive substance, abstraction, superior and dominant principles, of an absolute character. The paradox lay in that, despite its convergent nature, philosophy was found incapable of fulfilling its promise, that is to say, of delivering the truth and first principles to individual avid for them, and ultimately, of getting full satisfaction from its pride. It is thus, he concluded, that "the philosopher is the man who shows man his limits, his finitude, and so exercises a regulative function over human existence." The description of the philosopher that Gaos offered during those weeks in October did not fail to awaken polemics among his contemporaries. Francisco Larroyo, the first to make his objections public, sharply noted that the traits indicated by his Spanish homologue, pride in particular, together established a psychology of the philosopher that had little or nothing to do with the basic essence of philosophy. For this the aforementioned did not interrupt or even modify his meditations upon vocation and its motivations. In fact, in the "Preliminary note" that opens Two ideas of philosophy, a book which recovers the polemic between Larroyo and Gaos, it was announced that the conferences on this last "were in turn the summary of a book to be published by the Casa de España in Mexico City." The book never appeared but, by virtue of his correspondence with Alfonso Reyes and from different drafts from that epoch, we know that the text to which reference was made were the Philosophical Journals, a title under which he thought to frame his ideas on the philosopher's trajectory from vocation until refractoriness of the philosophy, passing through profession and deception, according to the cycle which Gaos identified as most characteristic among his colleagues and fellow travelers. In the introductory pages that he wrote towards this end, he explained that: since the biography of a professional of philosophy as such properly begins with the philosophic vocation, to this theme the first part of the book is dedicated. Consideration of this theme promptly reveals up to what point vocation is something brought back towards the very principle of life, as it advances toward its goal, encompassing it, wholly, integrally. Two later volumes, signaling a continuation, would be consecrated to studying the philosophical profession. Such indications point toward the monumentality of the projected work and were not false: he dealt with the unique book, that in which he desired to transfuse, on a par with his philosophy, his entire life, including his past and his future. Hundreds of pages preserved in his archive give evidence of the continuity of the endeavor and of the importance that the theme held for its author. However, beyond the diverse dispersed references in his published work, he never managed to deliver to the printer a study of the magnitude and characteristics that he proposed. That was due, in part, to the numerous work activities which, practically since his arrival in México, very quickly embraced and overwhelmed him from courses, direction of theses, editing of articles and reviews, up to chores a little unpleasant for him such as were translation and those of an administrative type. If indeed all that made the realization of this his opera magna difficult, the greatest obstacle consisted, in reality, in the incapacity of Gaos to organize his meditations into a system and in his growing frustration and disenchantment with philosophy. The nearest to those Journals that he managed to compose were his very well known Professional confessions, produced in 1953 in the form of conferences and that five years later appeared in print with the seal of the Fondo de Cultura Económica. Over almost three such periods the focus has been invariable; not so the amount of content, reduced in this second version to narrating his experience as a "philosophy professional," yet without integrating it with the history of the discipline, from its origins in classical antiquity up to his time, such as he had planned at one time. For 1958, the year in which the sessions of the Modern Philosophy seminar began, Gaos evaluated his trajectory with bitterness, even considering himself as a failure: he had not been able to write the great work that would consecrate him as a philosopher and which, for two decades, had been awaited from him. The time elapsed had been sufficient, not only for some of the most distinguished philosophers of his era to doubt his capacity to carry it out, yet also he himself. Such bitterness and unrest were made patent in the text he presented to his students, in which he questioned the correctness of their motives, the authenticity of their vocation, the meaning of their persistence in it and, even more important, the future of their ideas. The philosophical scenario then was not the most propitious place to think differently: for some time the restoration of metaphysics had reached its conclusion and there began the boom of the Marxist and neo-positivist, today called "analytic," philosophies. In that context Gaos, spokesman for the moment of the principal philosophic novelties, had been converted, in his own words, into a "laggard," into an "anachronism," while his philosophy, without even having been written in its final details, was already a work of the past. The relationship with his four pupils also had changed since he knew them, with some it being more than a decade, in his classroom. Although the majority kept attending his courses--in those years they participated in one dedicated to Aristotelian logic--by those dates they all occupied positions as professors and researchers in the UNAM, had lived long periods in various of the principal French, English and German universities, included published works and, in general, were profiled as the most promising members of their respective generations. On the other hand, if indeed the collaboration with Gaos had been maintained in uninterrupted form, helping them on more than one occasion in obtaining scholarships and work positions, the intellectual distance was becoming ever more notorious. Emilio Uranga, in particular, had publicly ventilated his divergences from the master as much in the classroom as in the press. As if to give not an inch of remorse, on the 10th of February in 1952 he published a review of the conferences that his professor had convened some days before. In it, at the same time he recognized that "the Hyperion can be defined as a dialogue with Gaos," he also reproached his little information regarding the latest works and positions taken in the group, as well as his lack of boldness to pronounce about the Mexican in concrete and now not methodological terms. With regard to the remaining members of the seminar, if they once clung to the ideas of the teacher, the texts which they presented in this venue constitute clear evidence they had stopped doing so. Evidence perhaps consists of the entry that Gaos inscribed in his diary: "A moment arrives when the master must treat his pupils as equals and, if they merit it, even as superiors. Then they, even though they dissent from him and even criticize him, they neither abandon him nor renege." Such a formula is exact for describing what happened in the seminar that here concerns us: the writings demonstrate that, beyond certain minimal gestures of deference towards the teacher, the tone of the discussion which prevailed throughout the sessions was that of dialogue among equals; and if Gaos did not reach the extreme of attributing them complete superiority over himself, at least he allowed them to expound their more recent ideas about philosophy, as well as sincerely sharing with them his fears, frustration and pessimism before the future. None of the four disciples missed the opportunity that was presented to criticize the stance of the master, whether it be in the manner of Ricardo Guerra, dismissing with a mere negative the possibility of philosophy as personal confession; like Alejandro Rossi, questioning the validity of the question itself; through the viewpoint of Emilio Uranga, who entered the professor's game only in order to demonstrate that the philosopher's motives had nothing to do with her work; or finally, like Luis Villoro, who highlighted the non-philosophical character of the proposal. Yet nevertheless they did not abandon him either: all of them agreed to reflect on the selected theme and respond to it, perhaps not "jealously" like his old students at the University of Santander, yet at least seriously and with depth, giving as a result the texts published here and which, a little more than half a century away, speak to us about the intellectual development of each, as well as of a defining moment in their conception of philosophy. There were at least four sessions of the seminar consecrated to the theme of the philosophic vocation. In the first, the works that each had written were presented; in the second the commentaries that were elaborated about them; a third in which Gaos expounded a summary and his own conclusions; and seemingly, there was a last session where Uranga expressed a balance of which no trace remains in the archive. The texts discovered are those that comprise this work. The value entailed in that set of essays did not pass unnoticed by their authors. In effect, in a letter to Vera Yamuni dated the 24th of August in 1958, Gaos commented that "the seminar with Uranga, Villoro, Guerra, and Rossi is going very well. We are creating some ever more interesting writings and I think that the final volume will be important." Already some months later, in February of 1959, the professor turned to the task of writing an introduction, in which he explained the purpose of the works and justified its publication: my companions, we convene to fundamentally proceed with each step in writing, so that our first common labor will not remain in words the wind blows away, but instead put in a form that will enable their publication, if estimated worthy of that elevation. Since we estimate it, in effect, as a good case of a philosophical colloquium with results that open personal perspectives in detail and also in interesting conjunctions, concerning the radical problem, the problem par excellence, the problem, in sum, of philosophy itself; but, perhaps above all, an instructive example of how a philosophical colloquium can be carried out, diligently pooling the will to cooperate, and the unrestricted freedom of thought and expression in the breast of camaraderie and friendship. This being so, why did it not attain, as had been planned, the benefit of printing? The opinion Luis Villoro elaborated in this regard, included in the original, is revealing in this sense. In it he noted the lack of certain elements that would confer unity on the works, but more significantly still, asked that all the commentaries implying some kind of insult or injury toward their designee be suppressed. However, it is precisely those comments that reflect the type of relations which united the seminar's members, relations in which friendship and respect are seen, yet also rivalry, the spirit of polemic and even the ridicule of one by another, Ricardo Guerra certainly being the principal victim, arriving at the point where he was denied the privilege of making observations. Gaos himself contributed to feeding the antagonism among his students, first in calling Emilio Uranga "the greatest possibility that México has of coming to possess a great philosopher," and later, calling him primus inter pares. Yet if that were not enough, in ending each one of the sessions of the seminar in 1958, he moved to evaluate who had had the best performance, occasionally awarding the advantage to Villoro and other times to Uranga, his rebellious pupil. It is very probable that the failure of the publication project is due to those misencounters and divergences and not so much, as Gaos suspected, that the themes which awakened his interest did not evoke the same effect in his students. In fact, years after the conclusion of the seminar, some of them continued to reflect upon vocation and its motives. Paradoxically, it was the most defiant of the disciples, Emilio Uranga, who devoted the greatest attention to the proposed subject for the longest time, thus giving constancy to the influence which his teacher exercised over him. In the work that he presented in the seminar, included in this small volume, he narrates in a style at once lucid and humorous what characterized his encounter with philosophy with regard to an early episode of his amorous life. In this form, while he seemingly coincided with Gaos in that his initiation into the discipline determined the conception that he had of it, he refuted the latter's thesis from three distinct angles: in the first place, by giving his tale the character of accident, a cardinal concept in his study of the being of the Mexican, he negated the essentiality of personality and the motifs of philosophy. The second element of disagreement consisted in stressing that philosophy is a question of dialogue and interaction with the other and that consequently the subjectivism which the professor defended not only was found in the extremities of the material, but was reduced to mere spasms of autistic illness. Of an historical nature, his last objection recalled that, in philosophic terms, by "world" was not always understood an abstract relation between man and the all; for some time it had also encompassed the concrete ingredients which comprise his reality and which likewise made of philosophy an object of shared meditations, axis of the everyday and encounter space with the neighbor. Through this brief synthesis, very far from the literary virtuosity of Uranga himself, perhaps the reader has divined that his reply to the master's poll was nothing but a systematic falsification, point by point, of the most distinctive ideas of José Gaos. Undoubtedly the result obtained was to Uranga's liking, since he very quickly gave the texts to the printer. With the title, "Autobiography and philosophy," one of them saw the light of publication in July of 1958, while a month later the second appeared, hastily retouched and provided with a new heading: in place of "Episodes of a life in philosophy," the printed version was now with the more appealing "Wanderings of youth." His reflections upon the theme did not end there: years later, in 1977 the book appeared, Whose is philosophy? in which he included the first of the cited essays. Even further, the entire volume is dedicated to refuting, starting from Bertrand Russell's theory of descriptions, the identity between the author and her work, a central thesis in Gaos' thought. Making this exegesis and association of texts an almost unnecessary work, Uranga made clear, from the first page of his book, his doubts with the master and the origin of his ideas: Ever since I was a disciple of José Gaos the idea of the relations between the life and the work has obsessed me. For Gaos there was continuity, or better: identity, for the work was nothing but the stamp of the life in other terms. For me, however, there was rupture and divorce. Since then, I have filled notebooks and articles with materials or reflections all tending to show that between the life and the work of an artist, of a philosopher or one of action, there is no bridge possible and if one believes that it exists, the spectacle becomes a carnival of equivocations. Luis Villoro as well dedicated some of his Philosophical pages to framing the thesis which he had established in his work on vocation. In the 1958 text he postulated, as the reader will see, a radical distinction between "pre- philosophic knowledge and philosophical knowledge, proceeding respectively from a "natural or mundane attitude" and the "philosophical attitude." An impassable abyss exists, Villoro argued, between both orders, with the result that it is totally invalid to attempt to justify the philosophy pertaining to the second order with the motives which led to it, native to the first. The unanimity with which his comrades objected to his conclusions may have been the reason why, four years later, in "Motifs and justification of the philosophic attitude, he would completely reformulate them. In that essay he conceded that "to philosophize in an event in the individual life, a real process, capable of being comprehended by the rules of psychic motivation"; nevertheless, he affirmed--and here begin the assaults on the professor--the "analysis of the personal motives for the philosophic vocation can ultimately clarify for us the activity of philosophizing," not that it is philosophy itself. He likewise maintained, in a clear allusion to Gaos' position, that when one compares philosophy to mythology or alchemy, one is simply confused and, more firmly, that "if every developing philosopher has to be a skeptic, every skeptic is nothing more than a developing philosopher." If indeed the majority of his postulates were kept untouched in both texts, in the second they were broadened and deepened, without neglecting to rectify the mistakes that his companions had pointed out, abandoning, in particular, the idea that it was the philosopher, and not the inverse, who should justify herself before philosophy. On the contrary, he noted in the last version, "one can admit nothing on the Earth which cannot be justified before man." To judge from the almost total absence of the problematic from their work, neither Ricardo Guerra nor Alejandro Rossi seemed too preoccupied with the theme of vocation and its motivations. The former, perhaps instructed by the denials asserted by his companions, continued to deepen his Heideggerian philosophy which, in fact, translates as a basis of the text that he had presented. In reality there are no explicit references that so indicate, yet it is possible to assume them given that in speaking of philosophy as a "manner of being," as a "necessity" and as a path that is not chosen, but which is "imposed," as he did in his 1958 work, does he not make an attempt, although failed, to refer to ontological categories or, in any case, previous to and independent of consciousness and the will? Whatever may have been the reason for abandoning the subject, it is certain that the only later allusion we find in his writings is limited to stating that, according to Heidegger, "to be able to explain philosophy starting from man it would be necessary to previously have a rigorous conception of man" and that, before beginning with existence, one should do so with being. With regard to Rossi, unless we consider his treatment of the subject in literature as a sort of negative discipleship, in later years he confessed to a feeling of foreignness, not only with respect to nationality and language, but also from the philosophical problematics that were discussed in the Colloquium. The absence of attraction that, for him, the subjects treated assumed in that day remained manifest in the work on vocation reproduced here, that he presented in the seminar. In effect, in the pages with which he opens his text begins by claiming a lack of philosophic interest held by the proposed theme, adducing that the indefiniteness of the object, philosophy, at the moment of his encounter with her made his motives totally insignificant. Some time later, in his opening lecture at the National College, he revealed the cause of his indifference: a reading from youth, The science of logic by Peter Coffey, had produced in him "a deep disinterest in systems of belief and an interest, almost exclusive, in conceptual instruments." And though with this episode he confirmed the value of the autobiographical substrate in the mode of conceiving philosophy, he did not come to acknowledge even a shadow of affinity with his first university professors. "I was formed professionally--he recorded that 22nd of February in 1996--in a philosophical climate which now is strange to me." In compensation, he then affirmed, among the pages of Austin and Wittgenstein he had found his conceptual house, a home from which he took some bricks to construct, together with Luis Villoro and Fernando Salmerón, the journal Crítica. In analytic philosophy he found, subsequently, refuge and relief, without therefore manifesting any empathy for the helpless in his guild nor, much less, for the target philosopher par excellence, his teacher. "Gaos --he wrote without clemency--was mistaken in the selection of his philosophical tradition. Thus, the technical aspect of his reflection remained historically atrophied. The intellectual interests of the Spain of his youth and of his early maturity were otherwise, and Gaos could not break that cultural conditioning." Contrary to what Rossi maintained, the years had not passed in vain for Gaos who, like José Ortega y Gasset, understood the meaning, function and process of the passing of the generations. For they, far from lamenting the critiques of their pupils or of feeling surpassed by them, attributed the differences to the irresistible passage of time and of history, its voluble daughter. "The divergence between my philosophical personalism and my disciples --he wrote on the 12th of July in 1959--is a case of the historical oscillation between the terms of antimonies pertaining to personality, a case of the oscillation in the capital or radical antinomy of the I in the world or the world in the I." It follows that everyone should follow their own orbit to discover an equally correct position under the sun. Gaos, who had unfailingly pursued his own, in 1962 gave Of philosophy to the printer, a book in which he systematically expounded and explained the ideas concerning the material he had been developing. As perhaps may be intuited from the foregoing pages, his writings responded to a supreme effort and a "miracle of the will," not to speak of a rigorous discipline and sense of compromise now that, committed to reluctance and disinterest in philosophy, his personality and inclinations were, in his opinion, incompatible with the spirit of system. The themes of the philosophy and of his vocation were treated again in that work, even if it is true that of almost 500 pages that comprise it, only 12 are dedicated to this question; nevertheless, the treatment virtually culminates with them. Some of the old topics re-appear in that lesson of the book--the toil for superiority and the demonic impulse to be philosophical motors, the opposition between the political and the intellectual--and some others disappear, such as the regulative mission of philosophy as a repository, living or not, of human finitude, and some more make their entrance, like that of the psychology which frames the overall thematic of the chapter. Of the little left of the arrogance that Gaos displayed since his youth, ending by identifying himself--unjustly, since he was much, very much more--as "one who has not been nor wished to be anything but a professor of Philosophy." AURELIA VALERO PIE PAPER BY JOSÉ GAOS ON THE PHILOSOPHIC VOCATION I think that I dedicated myself to teaching philosophy and to philosophy itself initially, because philosophy satisfied tendencies in me from before I had encountered it more thoroughly than what I was then receiving. When I met philosophy, at age 14 and a half, I was from the first lesson what they called "a very diligent child," and a child addicted to reading who at times played at giving classes, what today could be translated as having intellectual curiosity, will to superiority and even to domination and display of knowledge, plus a preponderant taste for the classical pleasures or, that is, the beginnings of an intellectual and didactic vocation. Yet there was one other thing: a will to liberation from oppression by the religious morality determining the education I was given, but an unconscious will to undergo that which oppressed it, not thereby rendering it inoperative, much less as revealed in its ulterior consequences. Philosophy came to provide to the intellectual curiosity, to the will to superiority and domination through knowledge and its display, to the taste for classical pleasures, to this will and that curiosity, and to the aforementioned will to liberation, a satisfaction such as had not been provided hitherto neither through studies nor reading - nor by the play at giving classes. Nothing had satisfied the intellectual curiosity and the will to superiority and domination through knowledge like those disciplines of the art of thinking, of the supreme and dominant principles of all things, of the art of living well and the conceptions and ideas of the men engrossed in the same disciplines. Up until then I had found no knowledge which could satisfy the will to illuminate like that one. Nor ultimately had I enjoyed up until then pleasures like the classical ones of such knowledge or those promised by it. And the discrepancies of the greatest thinkers of Humanity around themes fundamental to religion and the morality derived from it such as that of the proofs of the existence of God, while being indicative, at least, of the problematic, also at least of such proofs and thereby the very existence of God, promised satisfaction to said will to liberation - that waited only three years to arrive: by 17 I began to abandon religious practices. Despite such satisfactions, I spent a few more of the same years oscillating between philosophy, which I now never left, and literature, sciences and languages and philology. Not only did I continue reading and studying philosophy but also I sought to write from it some first sparks of which I remember only that I did them and that they deserve no further memory. Nor was I only reading and studying literature, but I was also producing it, insistently and in incomparably greater volume than with the philosophical sparks, and even with results much more deserving of good memory: doubtless because it is much easier to make literature than philosophy, at least in adolescence; for whatever causes it may be. In addition to having tried, something more, I began some scientific readings on my own, and a little more, the sciences curriculum in the University, yet not for the sciences themselves but instead to confront the knowledge of them required by philosophy. Learning to read foreign languages and the classics had as one of its motives, if not the only one, the scholarly and professional superiority and even the social distinction that it gave or promised: something very amusing about classical languages noticed by Veblen in the Theory of the leisure classes. One sees that at some moment during those years the temptation to make a career of and dedicate myself to the teaching and profession of classical philology had to prevail. I have recorded the previous oscillations because those that have as one of their terms sciences and languages and philology, confirm the dominance of philosophy or one of the motives for satisfaction peculiar to it, and because those that have literature for the other of their terms confirm the hedonistic motive of the intellectual vocation up to the point that if since the first years of youth I stopped producing fine arts--I say fine and not good--and literary criticism, the reading of fine arts and literary criticism having come to be since then, uninterruptedly, something which I have most had to drop due to the philosophic production and in the final years have returned to produce literature and literary criticism, though now not in the adolescent form - yet still with that time's scarce publicity. The oscillations stopped with the decision to now follow exclusively the career of philosophy and to dedicate myself to its teaching. The motive for such a decision could not now be to satisfy the recurrent need for liberation, because that satisfaction was given in a practically conclusive form. There remain, however, the motives for the other satisfactions: intellectual curiosity, the will to superiority and domination through knowledge and its display, to a taste for classical pleasures to that eagerness and that curiosity. And it seems my opportunity and duty to add that the will to superiority and domination through knowledge and its display, into which the previously recalled philosophical sparks should have begun to convert, partially in hopes of making it principally a will to superiority and domination through philosophic creation and to display as its author, was needed in consequence of a growing philosophical consciousness of philosophy, starting from a moment that it is impossible for me to specify except as previous to the beginning of the exercise of the teaching of philosophy - in the project of a philosophical theory as the principal part of my possible overall philosophical work. The question now is, if the motives indicated for my profession as professor of philosophy and as philosopher with these my 57 years are still surely very dubious, and ultimately are with the greatest probability, not to say entirely and definitely, frustrated or failed, are they motives constitutive of an authentic philosophical vocation--although failed or frustrated--or of a false philosophical vocation without a basis in aptitude, which would explain the frustration and the failure, without the explanation necessarily being justification or consolation. Interest in the question is not so much in it itself, as in its relation to the essence and the value of philosophy. So that the motives for a dedication to philosophy, or to the teaching of philosophy to the degree that this dedication is not determined by the motives for dedication to teaching, but instead by dedication to the teaching of philosophy, to be constitutive of an authentic philosophical vocation, it seems that motivating the dedication should be the essence and essential traits and the value or values specific to philosophy, and not traits or values that this can have in common with other objects of vocation and profession, although perhaps in superior measure, or perhaps accidental or being secondary to them, though they might be exclusive to it. Thus, for at least 20 years, with Two ideas in philosophy being documentary proof, or at least ten since projecting a theory of philosophy as I have said, trying to identify philosophy and pride by a common single essence trait by trait. Such an identification would prove that in motivation for dedication to philosophy, or to profession of philosophy in the sense of profession of life and even of faith, constituted by the satisfaction delivered by philosophy perhaps through the will to superiority and domination by means of philosophy itself, and its display, and a taste for the classic pleasures in this eagerness, motivation being the very essence of philosophy - if not of its values, its most generic values. 20 years later, on this day, I still think, although with more rigor, that pride is not the essence of philosophy itself, that is, of the philosophical itself, yet it is one of the ingredients of the radically motivating complex by which the philosophical is conceived by the philosophers, men representative of something essential to men or to man in general. If this is so, I would have dedicated myself to philosophy out of pride, and when my dedication yields frustration or I become a failure with it, it seems that everything would reduce to being what I myself have said many times, that pride in factual superiority is not at the level of the will to superiority: a poor devil. Yet the thing is somewhat more complicated. On one hand, I kept thinking about philosophy, though not having been capable of publishing before that day a complete and systematic exposition of what I have thought concerning philosophy; on the other hand, I have come to have ever less pride, if that is feeling less of it each time. Of what I have thought concerning philosophy I shall omit, for brevity, the history or biography, except for minimal indications or practically limiting myself to enumerating the results in force for me today. From very early, perhaps since the discrepancies among the philosophers around themes like that of the proofs of the existence of God were to me indicative of the problem with such proofs and themes, in any case since I projected a theory of philosophy, whose purpose was that of giving a solution to the problem entailed by what I would add, I became skeptical about the universal truth of any philosophy, although later I adopted the concept of personal truth in each and every philosophy, though not of each in their totality, to which I can still subscribe. And even later it occurred to me to explain such subjectivity about the existent in its totality--and the existent--by means of an aperçu of the theory of abstract objects, from your universally inter-subjective and concrete ones, to your absolutely subjective ones, which I have inserted into some of my publications. Yet with its personal truth, greater or lesser, each system of existence in its totality, all of them come to give, for I know not how long, the impression of some archaic products of the culture, including those which properly and in a high degree are that: I usually compare them to the epic, to the city-State and to the founders of great religions. To me it seems a case of continually "letting go" of such systems, replacing them with the natural and human sciences and of knowledge in general increasingly amputating it from the metaphysics of the subject herself or increasingly reduced to an anthropology it too ever more exclusively scientific until being confused with that not deriving from philosophy. Whether this is a new positivism, or the old, or my re-Kantianism more than a neo-Kantianism, I have tried to indicate in certain places. To such an impression of archaism I can credit as explanation of the occurrence that metaphysics as a pseudo-science of the objects of religion through the application to those objects of methods from science inapplicable to them; itself the not too original occurrence of the idea, found by its authors, that philosophy, or more precisely metaphysics, is nothing but the conceptual implementation of religion. If not the interest in religion itself, then the interest in rationalizing it, shall we say, might be in decadence--before the interest in domination, through technology, and science at its source, in this world, as Heidegger mournfully laments, wrongly it seems to me. In any event, there appears not to have been any interest in a single universal science, impossible simply before the possibility of the special sciences: does Hartmann's own system, unique among the rest in our day, with all its speculative asceticism and his stifling scientism, not give the impression of superfluous duplication in what it represses from science and inoperative insofar as being a world system, overall of old provenance - to all, in view of the slight effect which it is having, compared with the deeds of other philosophical works in our time? Yet none of the foregoing necessarily implies that if I cannot recognize in philosophy the traditional values of a cultural creation of perennial actuality and true universally intersubjective truth--this, despite the paradox of claiming each philosophy for oneself with exclusion of the others, in one sense or other--it cannot recognize other values. For now philosophy, at some times or others in its historical process, given its masterpieces, given the best representatives of some of its disciplines, the quantity of scientific materials, entire scientific disciplines, like mathematical logic, with the values of truth and even the utility of the science, was incorporated with these or grouped with them. But still the archaic, the old, the oldest metaphysical systems of the universe present other values. The expression of its authors and through them of their circumstances, and that of venerable knowledge of one or the other, is as undeniable as any other product of the culture, actual or ancestral. And education in other products of such a classic culture, precisely speaking, will be no less negligible than those other products. It is possible that in the midst of the growing predominance of scientific specialization and technical conquest of the world, there subsists and endures the need for humans to educate themselves by means of precisely the products of culture that could stop coming, as lately seems already happening with the metaphysical systems of the universe, has occurred with certain literary genres and can happen with others and with other products of the culture, like some within religion: where is there, for instance, for what seems like centuries a mystical literature comparable even from afar with that of previous centuries? During the periods, not to say decades, in which I have be formulating the above ideas about philosophy, I also kept doing, in greater or lesser relation with philosophy, what I need to at least note, to be able to properly pose the new question that I must posit to give these pages their due outcome. Principally, I have been teaching and creating publications more or less, for better or worse, dedicated to it, and working on texts not published, principally--always, yet more in these last years--in that of the theory of philosophy projected from the indicated years and conceived by some later as the philosophy of philosophy. Thus, the simple question is whether such deeds and pastimes have been continuously motivated by the same motives constitutive of the philosophic vocation and fundamental to the profession of philosophy, or by other motives, among them, as immediately comes to mind, the given ideas concerning philosophy itself. Certainly the motive has operated, on a new par relative to all those of any vocation and belonging to every profession, which could be called professional inertia. Once a career is begun in the majority of cases it is practically impossible to do anything but pursue the direction taken, even when all the reasons for taking it have been extinguished. In my case, as in that of many other destined comrades, professional inertia was superimposed on causes powerful enough to effect all sorts of fractures and discontinuities in life like the historic catastrophe we are passing through. Professional inertia moves on its own to purely and simply require the traditional or vulgarly held behavior from professionals or required from them socially. To this is due in my professional activity the preponderance of teaching about the publications, and through it the personal or systematic occasion or circumstances. Though it is perhaps not due exclusively to that. Yet professional inertia also includes in itself what could be called thematic inertia: the themes upon which the incipient vocation or profession was fixed and projected recur throughout the professional life while not being definitively dispatched - as definitively dispatching some truly endearing theme of thought were possible. The bulk of my unedited papers are a mixture of versatile whims and an n'th reiteration of certain philosophical themes from philosophy not completed in full and detailed development nor duly systematized until now. This thematic inertia is patently an inertia of motives of the philosophic vocation. The idea of the lack of universally intersubjective truth in philosophy, that of the archaism of the systems of the existent, that of the pseudo- scientific nature of metaphysics prevailing over personal truth and the values of expression, educates philosophy up to the point of noticeably lowering philosophical arrogance, which is the beginning of doing away with it; and to the degree that arrogance was a radical and decisive motive in philosophy, to lower it, not to speak of abolishing it, would be a motive at once radical and decisive to renege on philosophy and lazily abandon it, without exceedingly forceful action to counteract the mentioned inertias. The ideas of personal truth and the values of expression and instruction in philosophy are impotent to motivate enthusiasm, possession by the divine, the literally singular and unique that has traditionally motivated the pride, the possession by the demoniacal; they are impotent to motivate more than a predilection for the philosophical products of the culture in tandem with what can motivate its literary or artistic products, or the scientific and the religious considered as historically expressive and not as some of proven truth and others of faith. The cultivation of philosophy thus must descend from the heights or the depths of participation in the divine, through the fear of demoniacal temptation par excellence, toward the human prairies and plains, not overly but instead modestly human, of the human sciences: history and criticism of philosophy as of literature, of art..., the empirical knowledge of mankind through philosophy, or philosophic anthropology in this sense, as for literature, as for art... Ultimately this relic of the ancient pride in philosophy will be possible: by philosophy having been the enthusiasm and the temptation that it was, perhaps teaching more about man than the other products of culture, maybe with the sole exception of religion, and not even science. In any case, modesty is the requiescat in pace of metaphysics. Ideas seems to be the reverse of an inverse constituted by states of the soul. Thus then, with pre-existing ideas, on in the state of soul deriving from them, I concluded that the following seems to me the entire future of philosophy: -the cultivation of the scientific philosophical disciplines, from mathematical logic at the head of the exact sciences, to philosophical anthropology at the foot of the human sciences, themselves terminating in recognition of the limits of reason, of knowledge, of science, of the enigma or insoluble problem posited by the human in the cosmos: no, then, to erecting a new metaphysics for this, not neo-Kantian, not existentialist, not anything. -such a philosophic anthropology will be a partial basis for the cultivation of the History of philosophy, of criticism, latissimo sensu, philosophical, as a discipline of man's knowledge and her education in it. I should add, as a pure final insinuation, that the possibility is problematic for me of an indefinite development of such disciplines, and all the congenitally non-philosophical ones, beneath another form than that of the visions and personal appreciations of the members of the new generations - insofar as these themselves can be personal or cannot help being so. These conclusions can do no more than represent an orientation to my professional work in what might remain of my life, and for the professional work of those subliminally contaminated--while others do not subliminally contaminate me with other ideas and states of spirit. Yet I can essay a push towards a very lively colloquium. 11 and 12 June of 1958 PAPER BY RICARDO GUERRA ON THE PHILOSOPHIC VOCATION PROVISIONAL NOTES FOR AN APPROACH TO PHILOSOPHY An explication of my personal relation with philosophy or with the idea that I have of it will necessarily be imprecise as much for the very nature of the theme as for the provisional and schematic character of this exposition. One would have to develop in an objective manner that which I understand by philosophy and relate the reasons (motives or variables) that took me to it. Or synthetically expound the intimate connection that exists between these two aspects, above all if one thinks, as is the case, that both are inseparable and are encountered essentially linked. I could say without fear of being mistaken that this history of my relation with philosophy has been and is, with ever more clarity, an "objective history," explicable through "motives" and not a problem of "subjective variables." The importance of the "variables" has been diminishing, or more properly they have been seen as "motives"; even more, as "motives" which are imposed much more than they are "chosen." This vanishing of the importance of the "subjective variables" has been concomitant with the formation of my own idea of philosophy and of the "motivations" that draw me to it. Philosophy has been revealing itself to me, slowly and gradually, as a "necessity," as a "way of life," as a "mode of being." Not as a possibility that is selected among others, with decisiveness and joy, but instead simply as "that which must be done, that which could not be otherwise, that demands we renounce..." without even knowing the value or meaning of this "we renounce." Philosophy presented itself to me as the task or activity that "imposed" itself as my own; if indeed this "imposition" was of a peculiar character for it carried with it the possibility of being rejected or the possibility of being converted into a more or less efficient simple subjective instrument. The attitude (pathos) before this "positing" of philosophy radically depends upon the philosophical idea or conception that one has. From pure and simple negation: ignorance or contempt for the problems; different or even opposite occupations et cetera, up to the multiple conceptions that are transformed into mere personal "property," "instrument" or "expression," all seemed clear manifestations of a negative attitude before the "so-called" or "peculiar imposition" of philosophy. Before this only "acceptance" was the "response" offered as the philosophic attitude (pathos). Philosophy imposes itself as an ever more proper and suitable "mode of being." A mode of being that emerges as "response," "acceptance," which constitutes its only justification and point of support; even in the eras of crisis (personal or subjective), in the periods of drought as the mystics would say. This idea of philosophy, this pathos that emerges as a response to it, is what for me determines and explains my peculiar relations with the philosophic activity. Philosophy appears as something that keeps signaling with ever more clarity the meaning of my activities, as a "necessity" and as "acceptance." It was the gradual discovery of the philosophical problematic, and particularly that of some specific philosophies (Kant, Aristotle, Heidegger, etc.) which kept removing me from every sort of activity distinct from the purely philosophic. Describing with a broad brush the stages or moments of my formation, the following could be indicated as the most decisive: My enrollment in the National Preparatory School (night) at age 16 coincides with my exit from the Catholic world in which I had spent my adolescence. The contact with new ideas, particularly with Marxism, confirmed this alienation and suggested to me a series of themes and problems that developed in me a preponderant interest in politics. My activities were organized around this concern; I began the career of law, participated in student politics and as president of the University Student Federation I began to enter into contact with national politics. Up to age 20 my fundamental preoccupation was politics, yet not only, for parallel to it I had been able to maintain an ever greater interest in theoretical, philosophic and literary problems and themes. At the same Preparatory School I pursued a course in ethics with the instructor García Máynez; the discovery of Kantian philosophy had enormous importance for me; Kant's thought (I read the Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals exercised a true fascination over my way of thinking then. It was this which determined I would study in addition to the career of law that of philosophy. At age 20 my interest in theoretical activity acquired much more solidity, and was aimed every more in the direction of philosophic activity. My first deepest contacts with philosophy took place then; the reading of Descartes, in a course (only begun) by Joaquín Xirau; in Kant, Aristotle and Heidegger in the course of doctor Gaos, et cetera, perhaps were determining factors. Philosophy interested me ever more, as I indicated at the beginning, as a "necessity" before which only "acceptance" and exclusive dedication were accommodated. I decided to renounce politics, the career in law, etc. It concerned "responding" to what appeared to be my vocation, as a "mode of being." Since then, ten years have passed, and with them have appeared themes, problems, philosophic doctrines, friendships (the Hyperion Group) which have had more or less importance in my formation. My stay in Europe, particularly the contact with French philosophers and most especially with Heidegger and Fink in Germany, have permitted me confirm and better comprehend my ideas from that day. The expression and the basis for my idea of philosophy still present me innumerable difficulties. Due to the brevity of this work I shall limit myself to indicating some points that I consider important for presenting it. Philosophy is not a subjective problem, nor a personal confession; nor is it an "appeal to the highest authority" nor "faith in the categories of reason" (Nietzsche). It is not the will to power nor an instrument or means to something different. All relationship to philosophy that is founded upon an interest of the type mentioned can only lead, and this in the best of cases, to nihilism or to skepticism. These attitudes have their origin in what we used to call a "negative attitude" before the "call" of philosophy; not "accepting" this "imposition" of philosophy as a "mode of being" leads to deception or as Nietzsche said to "resentment of the metaphysical against the real." Only in a contrary attitude, in the "acceptance" of philosophy as the "mode of being" which is "imposed" on us, do I find the meaning of my relation to her, or if you wish of my philosophic vocation. In "concrete existence," in the "community," in "language" (in the original sense) philosophy is given to us as task and as reality. One can negate it or denigrate it, yet one can also "accept" it and persist in the "acceptance," not as "one possibility among others" but instead as our peculiar and essential "mode of being." RICARDO GUERRA TEJADA PAPER BY ALEJANDRO ROSSI ON THE PHILOSOPHIC VOCATION When the theme of these pages was announced it was said, if I remember correctly, that it would be interesting to recount the circumstances and the personal reasons for which we became interested in philosophy, starting from a more or less precise moment, and also the reasons we continue dedicating ourselves to her. To propose these subjects implies knowing, with some clarity, their importance and their meaning. I confess, in all honesty, that I do not have the least clarity regarding the importance and the meaning of asking why one studied and continues studying philosophy. Such that for my part I must properly begin with the question, why did they ask us to write some pages about these themes? I imagine it will not be from simple eagerness to glean a few memories from our past, because I cannot think that the interest of Dr. Gaos in us reaches the level of wanting to entomb some specific incidents that do not touch the personal sphere: the telling would become a simple "anecdote" whose only value would be the style in which it was done. Neither I think does it deal with explicating the motivations for a simple "interest" in philosophy; for this would assume considering it as a naive and, in the best of cases, laudable unspecialized Lego philosophy hobby. To explain the cause of a vague hobby by it seems not to have the least importance since it would be the same as investigating the reason we like--gathered here--painting, literature or even mathematics, physics, etc. We definitely would be asking why we chose, in general, the intellectual life, why we feel attraction for intellectual creation, which in the last analysis will lead us to a retraction and to a lament upon the grandeur and the misery of being intellectuals. This lacks interest. Now, why do these two possibilities of interpreting the subject of these pages both lack interest? What is the interest that they lack? The answer seems clear to me: they lack philosophical interest because they say nothing "about" philosophy, but instead, in the first instance, of the concrete avatars who led us to it, and, in the second instance, because putting philosophy in the class of a hobby is to equate it to any other hobby or intellectual inclination, and then the task would be to determine why we are intellectuals. Something extremely vague and imprecise. Nevertheless, it seems that these themes have been proposed because they somehow contain a meaning and a philosophical value, because these questions are philosophical. How could they be? It is what I would wish to briefly examine. For the moment it seems to me that clarity about "what is" philosophy does not derive from its selection. When I began to study philosophy I had no definite idea about it, nor even any erroneous thought about it, yet clearly and distinctly this was already to think something about it. I did not know what it was nor what it was good for. An engineer constructs buildings, a doctor cures the sick, here the end and the utility are patent...and philosophy, what is it about and what good is it? Nevertheless I studied philosophy and never wanted to study anything else, except maybe a very slight inclination, still alive, towards philology. It concerned, then, a taste, a sympathy and intuitive attraction, an elective affinity. So then, I believe that in general terms every vocation is presented in this intuitive form that is expressed in the phrase: "I have more facility in this than in that," and not under the aspect of the "importance" and the "utility" of the material. I refer, it is clear, to authentic vocations. And if every vocation is like this, it is so with more intensity in the philosophic vocation, wherein the object of study is less definite for lack of concrete goals. Such that one does not choose philosophy; I did not choose it, at the very origins of discovery, because I had preferred it to other disciplines since I knew its nature with absolute distinction. Does this fact reveal something regarding the philosophical object, or only indicate the state of ignorance in which I found myself? Perhaps both things, for ignorance about the object would not have been given in such a "radical" form had I wished to study another discipline. It does seem, then, that on one hand, given that there was no clarity about the nature of philosophy at the moment when we began to discover her, to speak of this discovery is not to speak of philosophy, the theme not being philosophical; but, on the other hand, the fact of not knowing what it is in such a radical manner is not explained by simple ignorance, yet instead alludes to the nature, to the mode of being of philosophy. That is, this undefinability, this confusion around philosophy signals some aspects of it which, possibly, could revert or become thematic. I think that only this last sense of the question of the personal origins of the dedication to philosophy could perhaps become if not a question "of" philosophy, at least one about philosophy. From the foregoing one can clearly take the following: the first-time "taste" for philosophy does not originate through knowing something definite regarding it or because one believes in some particular philosopheme. It follows that a narrative concerning these origins does not speak of "what is" philosophy, but instead of the way it is presented, a manner which, perhaps, is conditioned by essential notes of the object that reveal, to wit, philosophy. To my understanding this is the only possibility of making philosophy out of our first experiences of her. We proceed to the second part: why do I keep studying philosophy? In the first place because the taste still functions, that sympathy that took us and takes us, every day, to philosophy, that allows us to be with it, yet which in no way--let this remain very clear--is philosophy, just as philosophy is not the will to domination, to power, the desire to distinguish oneself, et cetera, which are, like that more modest taste of which we spoke, motives that transport us - to philosophy, yet which are not confused with it. We return to the same: personal motivations say nothing about the object. So then, a possible reply would be, for example, the following: I study philosophy because what interests me fundamentally is a rational explanation of the universe and I believe that philosophy, in comparison with other sciences, is that which can best lead me to that goal. But, what does this response imply? In the first place knowing with exactitude the greater effectiveness of philosophy for attaining that end which, in the second place, assumes knowing, with exactitude, what is philosophy. Now, I do not find myself in the situation, most enviable, of knowing with "exactitude" what are the limits and the reach of philosophy, of being able to say: it is this, it deals with this and so explain it. Accordingly it is impossible for me to respond in that second manner. However the fact suggests a problem, at least for me. The following, how is it possible that after some years of dealing with philosophy there still persists this radical perplexity about its essence? It goes without saying that I do not refer to the impossibility of providing a few formulas that define it (formulas never have been guarantees of comprehension). Just like in the case of its first discovery I do not believe that that perplexity, now more scandalous, is due to pure ignorance or to a radical incapacity to understand it. Very much on the contrary, I suspect that this scandal make patent, once more, the mode of being which is proper to philosophy. For if it is indeed true that all the disciplines, especially during the early years, participate in a certain degree of obscurity for those who dedicate themselves to them, and also true, however, that the difficulties are of a very concrete nature and do not refer to the essence itself of the science in question. A biologist, however inexperienced, ignorant and mediocre she may be, knows that what she studies is biology, from what point of view and with what goal: the object, methods and ends, in general terms, are perfectly clear. In summary: neither in pre-scientific knowledge nor in the effective exercise of a science is the essence of this science presented with the degree of indeterminacy seen in philosophy. In philosophy one does not know first what it is and then knows it only to the extent that they know what they know that it is. The paradox is clear: one arrives at knowledge, real and truly, which is philosophy when one has their own or another's philosophy, yet the case is the same. To my understanding this is surprising and peculiar to philosophy; how the enthusiasm is not less, the zeal for this mystery. Yet the above paradox is redoubled in this other: that once "inserted," so to speak, in philosophy, one no longer accepts the possibility of not believing philosophically in it. It is the old argument, yet replete with mystery and, nonetheless, full of meaning. In synthesis, I think that the only way of treating the two proposed questions philosophically is attending not to the psychological origins, to the most peculiar and varied circumstances that caused us to "confront" philosophy, but instead asking directly for philosophy starting from its characteristics revealed in the experience we had and have with it, revelation, I say again, conditioned by the essence of philosophy. ALEJANDRO ROSSI PAPER BY EMILIO URANGA ON THE PHILOSOPHIC VOCATION preceded by a letter to José Gaos Mexico City, 10 June 1956 Dr. José Gaos Faculty of Philosophy and Letters Esteemed Dr. Gaos: Since you have invited us to expound in the Seminar on Modern Philosophy upon the theme of the "Philosophical crisis in each of us" and since your Xalapa article ("The philosophical interest" The Word and the Man no.5, pp.15-30) publicly initiated such a comradely confrontation, I have thought that to tell you of some occurrences which your readings have provoked would not be totally imprudent. When I was a student you recommended that when I describe a conference I do not transmit the course of thought but instead try to transmit the tone or the atmosphere in which it took place. In this case I shall apply your old advice and will approach the "sensation," the impression that your article made on me. I believe that your character--personal and in writing--is not exactly what we would call "delicate," "refined"--or "sissy" and "weakling" to specify the meaning of these adjectives--but instead the inverse "rude," "brusque" - or exaggerating, what in German would be called grob. Throughout the biographical background, your specific weight makes your voice heard in the dialogue with philosophy. Not always as clearly and robustly as in my view occurs in the writings at the maturity of a thought - and your conference is a late one for many concepts. In such moments that "weight" insofar as being robust and serious decides for me the tone on display, elevating it to a condition of exemplary resolve. Your pages leave the impression that in your peremptory dialogue with metaphysics it emerges badly situated due to your poor constitution--it hounds you, has hounded you all your life, with requirements you cannot satisfy--as anemic, bloodless, refined, or subtle. The same can be said in different words, what matters is to highlight that in confrontation with a "rude" character a good end cannot be expected - he will always leave you unsatisfied. I envision you in Roman combat attenuated by a monumental hunger for personal, vital or historical, moral and religious justification, in the impossible dialogue with an anemic maiden, of poor juices, sclerotic, who cannot draw from her breast sufficient nourishment even for an appetizer - so wherefrom for the strong plate of life! I recall having read, when I attempted to interpret López Valarde, a characterization of the "themes" of an "aesthetic of the future" that always remained engraved in memory. Imagine, our poet says, that in a thunderous battle of buffalo one calls for the help of a doctor specializing in dislocations of the articulations of mosquitoes! Something similar I suggest occurs with philosophy. It is a "battle of giants" over being, a Rabelaisian collision of forces and of masses, yet in the midst of this fray the hero is not one of the "buffaloes" who lustily and heartily dispute the contest but instead a spirit only understanding mosquito dislocations, a useless neurasthenia capable only of grasping among trembling fingers the flutter of the essences. How about to squeeze a little more from the account we make it into a pie! My dear master: your article caused me to imagine the noble impatience of a Roman translator before the fine childishness of the Greeks. Must one not return to that scene in the Libro de buen amor in which a shameless pretender stupidly defeats the Byzantine Hellene? Who returns as consolation, as the reverse of the medallion, as an inside joke before the paucity of metaphysics - but you have preferred to lament the confrontation. From this primary impression I deduce that in the final analysis philosophy could not be consistent nourishment for you, nutritious, abundant and solid as the roughness of your character, the range of your "temperatures," would demand. "One cannot fill the belly with ghosts, not even if well-cooked," says a refrain from your country. Or am I mistaken in thinking that philosophy will be--in order to be something--only the oil which bathes the hinges, the bearings of the universe? Does it consist in anything more than the mist of the world? Probably so. Maybe as some think it is the skeleton, or the nervous system, or the apparatus of bells and whistles that keeps the machinery of the universe upright. But if it is that, an enigma to me is its incapacity to nourish, to feed, to justify our passage through this green and gray land. EMILIO URANGA AUTOBIOGRAPHY AND PHILOSOPHY It is well, for now, not to have many illusions about the philosophic value of an autobiography, and not, of course, regarding one's own--the modesty of good taste--except because, in general, philosophy and autobiography seem opposed as the two poles of the truth--or of error some would say--and of insignificance-- almost all would say. "What do we gain by adding vanity to error?" queried Hegel in his Phenomenology of Spirit. Between the ideas of a philosopher and her life there are no more than equivocal relations, being two worlds that touch only by accident, through a malentendu, out of confusion. It is said of Kant that he was exact and punctual to the point of pedantry; yet what matters is that his philosophy be exact and punctual, not his life; for it is as conceivable and real to have an inexact thought in a punctual thinker, as in a man of disordered life, exact and precise ideas. The ugliness of Socrates coexists with the beauty of his thought, so at least they say he had inner beauty to safeguard at all costs the desired correspondence. There is no continuity from the idea to the life, all contact producing a short-circuit and obscurity as a result. The qualities of a philosophical system, like coherence, grounding, profundity are predicated both on the thinker's persona and the crisis coinciding with a thought, and from a life the illusion arises of it being homogeneous. Yet nothing authorizes this supposition. To put a thought into crisis and live in crisis have nothing in common except the word crisis. On the 25th of September in 1906, Edmund Husserl wrote in his diary: "I shall mention the task that in my view I must resolve in the first place, if I am to keep calling myself a philosopher. I refer to a Critique of reason. A critique of logical and practical reason, axiological in general. Without my having clarified in its grand outlines the meaning, essence, methods, and principal perspectives of a critique of reason, without having sketched, set and grounded, without having considered to the root its general contours, I am unable to live in truth and veracity. I have tasted sufficiently of the torments of obscurity and doubt where I am tossed about in every direction. I must achieve internal coherence. I know that what I attempt is something big, very big, and know that enormous geniuses have foundered on these shoals, and if I were to compare myself to them, I would have to despair in advance." We have here, indubitably, an autobiographical document. At first sight the scene is nothing more than that of a soul gripped and tortured by the lack of clarity, shaken by a sinking doubt and confessing that without resolving it he cannot really and truly live, and that its victim would not deserve the title of philosopher. We could complete the data which the page offers with some which his biographers give. In that year Husserl completes his 50th year, has behind him one of his capital works--Logical investigations (1900)-- and is a professor of philosophy after having been in mathematics, head of a prestigious school...and this gentleman, at that age, lives in crisis, and begins to think seriously of abandoning his role as philosopher, to return to mathematics, or dedicate himself, he says in all seriousness, to drafting unproblematic manuals of elementary logic for the pupils of the Realschule, following the advice of his admired Bolzano, for whom logic is in the last analysis "the science that teaches us how to present the sciences in adequate terms." Husserl's crisis ended, like fairy tales, in a happy outcome. The philosopher sunk his powerful instrument of analysis into the phenomena that were unclear to him, positing to resolve them the famous method of the reduction, and could continue his reflections and his classes almost until the end of his life "in the tranquil city of Freiburg"...yet nevertheless it is not this that matters. What really and truly calls attention to Husserl is that the crisis of which we speak here is not a vital crisis, but strictly a philosophical one that found its means of transcendence in its own element, although, and this too is philosophical, such a crisis is given in vital, familiar, comfortable terms. An aphorism from Hegel, from the Jena period, will present what we wish to imply: "The peasant woman lives within the circle of her Lisa, who is her best cow; then the black one, then the spotted one, and so on; also of Martin, her boy, and Ursula, her girl, etc. To the philosopher, infinity, knowledge, movement, empirical laws, etc. are things just as familiar. And just as the peasant woman speaks sadly of her brother and of her dead uncle with all his whiskers and particular traits, so likewise the philosopher speaks of Plato, of Spinoza, etc. These have as much reality as those, although the latter have the advantage in eternity." In the philosopher ideas of caste are charged with vitality, with familiarity, identifying with them. In the work of Husserl calls to the I, to individual responsibility, abound. De tua res agitur, he says in the appendix to his Ideas I, exclaiming, admonishing, as if one dealt with a personal letter directed to an "existential" disciple urging her to s'engager. Yet, should we give more than a rhetorical value to such proceedings? It is enough to open the Discourse on method of Decartes or Spinoza's On the improvement of understanding to come across similar persuasive twists. Existentialists avant la lettre? In some fashion. Simply and plainly philosophers, great philosopher-artists who have discovered the efficacy entailed in stylizing philosophy autobiographically, modeling it with the flavor of a confession, of a personal testimony, assisted by that crystallization which, as Hegel says, the ideas of those thinkers have. Nothing as intimate as the illusion of life, as personal life, nothing which procures the sensation that they do not live among abstractions, but to personalize the ideas, to clothe them in the forms of a personal experience, of an individual crisis, unredeemable, dramatic, pathetic. Because for a moment we "put between brackets" Husserl's personality as a thinker and confront the lines of his diary as if dealing exclusively with the autobiographical document of any man. Do they have some value? Perhaps. Maybe they will find their place in books like those of Mrs. Charlotte Bühler's The Course of Human Life: a study of goals in the humanistic perspective, or in others like it, yet not in the history of philosophy. They would not be autobiographical stylizations of a thought, but instead simply and plainly autobiography, document, survey, a test, anonymous for the most part, or signed by an insignificant subject. However knowing that one deals with some lines from Husserl changes things. Its value is received from who it comes from, the thought of the philosopher being the best recommendation for all she might wish to tell us under the form of autobiography, in letters, in confessions, in conversations, in interviews, or in one's own strictly philosophical treatises, as in the case of Descartes and of Spinoza. Above all because that thought exists, so that we do not have "imaginary systems," with biographies of inconsistent thought, or which has been lost, or was never formulated, or that is insignificant. The born biographer does not rely perhaps on the value of the character but upon the interest of the life itself. Yet within those extremes biography depends exclusively for effect on the biographer. Recall the biography of a London rascal written by doctor Johnson, or that of the soldier don Alonso de Contreras so lauded by Mr. José Ortega y Gasset. What does the objective work that does not exist matter in this instance? But dealing with philosophers things change. Husserl is above all the Investigations, the Ideas as real as the crisis of his personal life, as Hegel says very judiciously with the advantage of his eternity or his persistence, if one does not wish to be as solemn as the professor from Jena. In his Imaginary lives, Marcel Schwob very ironically sharpens the situation that we debate here. "I have searched," he comes to tell us--I cite from memory--"the entire philosophy of Aristotle and I have not been able to grasp the key, or untangle its mystery." Of the thought of Aristotle, of the essence of metaphysics, we ask? "Oh no!" Schwab answers peevishly. "What no biographer, scholar, or interpreter of Aristotle has managed to clarify is why they found in his room, when he died, innumerable jars of oil of Lesbos." EPISODES FROM A LIFE IN PHILOSOPHY Philosophy deceives because ultimately it does not fulfill that which we hoped for from it and meanwhile troubles us because we cannot satisfy the requirements that it poses instead. (Aphorism taken from Hegel's writings in Jena) In private conversation and in writing doctor José Gaos has confessed that he could specify in full detail that which he hoped for from philosophy when he first came into contact with such a decisive human artifact. For my part I have to accept that with respect to there being at this point in my interior an insufficient clarity with which to attain that enviable precision of which Dr. Gaos speaks, I would need something more than a dispirited foaming of memory in the "well of the past." I remember, indeed, that when I was 16 and was a student in the third year of high school I ran across philosophy for the first time. Under what form? I shall say it without circumlocutions: in the origin of my dedication to philosophy I uncover a frivolous motivation. I heard a beautiful woman speak of it who from then on became the orienting personality, shaper of my life and thus philosophy appeared to me with its origins re-clothed with erotic prestige. I shall explain myself. As a typical adolescent I ascended to the world of love under the care of a lady who doubled my age and to whom more than any other teacher--then I had none--I owe what is most radical and deepest in my spiritual, human formation. Very well, one of the dimensions of the world of this woman was comprised of philosophy, it was one of her elements, yet I put it badly for philosophy did not offer itself like an edge or song of this world but instead like a foreshortening or atmosphere in which everything else--and everything else was love--was fused. It was not a partial element, isolatable, independent, but a symbol in which everything resided, and they resided as well as erotic relations stricto sensu. Philosophy thus entered my life, and I in it, re-clothed with the prestige of sex, charged with all the potential of mysterious forebodings, sensualities, which this age in life utilizes, requires and elicits as a ritual. Thus began my dedication to philosophy, to the French, to troubadours, as a sort of "dance and ancient airs for lute" by Respighi, and undoubtedly in that initial encounter there already was an "idea" of philosophy that as time passed detached itself, qualifying, amplifying, concretizing, filling yet without losing the original sense. Philosophy was not--is not for me--a subject for a solitary flirtation but instead a matter of conversation, of communication, of life in common; a net that extends like a bridge between an I and a you; an erotically tinged secretion of the human relation. This initial situation could also be seen from another perspective. In the world of my adolescent relations philosophy had the characteristic of an indispensable social ingredient, of a prescribed and imposed use. Thus like it was a duty to receive riding, dance or French lessons, it was also de rigueur to "know philosophy." For the time being so as not to remain in albis when crossed in the salon with prestigious words like skepticism, eclecticism, stoicism, etc. It is necessary to know what is meant by such disused utterances, to be able to put skin in the game, so as not to play the role of clown. And above all to feel that one accessed the world of the adults, of grown-up, formal, serious, and enviable people. My amiable initiator put into my hands an elementary Initiation Philosophique by Émile Faguet, a little book in which I learned the meaning of those de rigueur terms in conversations; and this small victory over my ignorance, this enrichment of my lexicon counts as the first task I gave myself and resolved upon with great advantage for my belonging to the salon. An esoteric part of the language already tickled me with its intimations of familiarity. And when I heard that my amiable friend mixed such terms with abandon into the most trivial conversations, I soon myself revived and the new vocabulary came to form part of my habitual dimension. I was now initiated. Philosophy could also eat "stew," although to tell the truth I never saw the Señora among the kitchen utensils. Yet it is clear, the initiation did not stop with this modest lesson in semantics, but continued its course. When I think that this woman had made philosophy one of her hobbies I take account of the minute and frightful chance which put me on the road to precisely this snobbery and not any other. For it occurs to me to think that the functions of the theme of the salon or of discussion which contributed to satisfying philosophy could very well have been discharged in film, the theatre, Mayan archeology, numismatics, et cetera, and with the same sense of words filled with a mysterious meaning could have flown, like sprites in the salon, barbarisms, technicalities, theatrical jargon, from the movies, etc. Yet it was not so. Philosophy and its language were the exclusive topic of conversation, of devotion, the key or linguistic handle that like an anchor touched the bottom of the desired world of things and persons enveloped in love. I shall never be able to forget one afternoon when the lady, while she served me a little cup of coffee, invited me to make myself comfortable in a chair in her reading room, and put between my hands the first volume bound in vivid red of The Decline of the West by Oswald Spengler, Library of Ideas of the 20th Century. That was something more than a book, it was a fetish, a talisman, a precious gem elegantly cut, a seasoning, a festival of intelligence and of sensuality all at once! From then on philosophy is for me a fine book well finished inside and out; a formal perfection above all, a work of art. These fine books can stand without discord beside the objects that comprise the intimate toolkit of a woman. They could repose on the bedside table and be caressed, while reciting the philosophy lesson, by fine long fingers. I have not been able to get this serviceability out of my head. A philosophy of callous hands--despite my socialism--is something that I do not accept without resistances. Still today I keep believing that a volume like those of La Pléiade, on bible paper and bound in fine leather, is the entelechy, the correct final form of a true philosophy. And upon an advertisement filled with women's shoes, bags and umbrellas I find nothing more appropriate than to place a good edition of Aristotle's Metaphysics. One of the facts that most excited me in Communist Germany is that they also can produce handsome editions. I do not know what they would do with a Lukács in paperback revolution... I seriously doubt that the proletariat is the heir of the great German philosophy. On that afternoon of which I have spoken above the meaning of philosophy was summarized in the first words of Goethe's epigraph which Spengler had selected as a poetic key to his entire philosophy of history: And while throughout the self same motion Repeated on forever flows... I would lie shamelessly were I to say that those words then or now suggested anything concrete to me. No. It was simply the effect of a swarm that by biting mimics the mystery of the world, a murmur which like the waters of a river speak without saying anything. It was "the sound of the ocean in the telephone" as Juan Ramóon Jiménez said. Due to a purely verbal mistake philosophy is called a theory of the world and by theory is understood, according to Kant in his Anthropology, "the business of hotels, of horses and of women." What does the idea of the world as the central theme of philosophy have to do with the world as the subject of the salon or activity of the salon? Defining philosophy as a theory of the world facilitated this confusion. If one said, for instance, that it is the science of first causes, the doctrine of absolute identity, the theory of science, or of first principles, one would not have elicited or induced that verbal confusion by contagion. Why did the man of the world feel implicated in philosophy? Did not "business" more properly pertain to the ecclesiastics? In speaking of the world and of the mundane I allude to a phenomenon not particularly explained by contemporary philosophy, or that is, by world is not understood the set of everything that exists, the sum of the matter, the "totality informed by all the multiple things," as Hegel says, but instead a state or tempo of mind which defines the relationship between man and the all, the manner one feels in the midst of the all. Sex, like the world, or the theatre, makes patent this linkage of mankind with the all, in a privileged manner, even interpreting these phenomena in a gross manner; for example sex as an "entrance" to the life of the species, collaboration in its perpetuation; or the theatre--it suffices to recall that one speaks of "world theatre"--as a representation of the world Schopenhauer would say, or the world as "state" or membership when one speaks of a "citizen of the world." The phenomenon taken in one form or another, what is certain is that sex, the theatre, or the world are submerged in that all. Yet there is something more. To Kant we also owe the distinction between a scholarly concept and a mundane concept in philosophy which serves to explicate that confusion of which we speak. By mundane Kant understands an "idea" of philosophy that interests everyone and not only a reduced group of specialists, not as a profession but as a general human activity. This activity would consist, always according to Kant, in identifying the "idea" of the philosophy with a particular individual who incarnates it, the wise or "mundane" one. Obviously such an identification is "illusory" or pretentious for Kant. Yet there remains some scope for play in this in itself unrealizable possibility that Kant very insightfully calls the "artist of reason," the virtuoso of the intelligence. In that sense the confusion is explicable. The "mundane" contributes this amiable "skill" as a substitute for the unattainable and non- mundane, scholarly, cloistered "wisdom." The "men of the world" have overcome their initial timidity in the breast of the all, that desire to enter the world's scenario on tip-toes and be truly surprised when it lifts the curtain, in a clumsy gesture of anguish, of worldly embarrassment. If my "idea" of philosophy had then been realized in a work, in a well- written or better well-bound book, it would have carried this simple title: What is philosophy? and would have been attributed to appear anonymously as don José Ortega y Gasset. Philosophy was the theory of the world, a jovial, festive, enthusiastic activity, a sensual and intelligent discovery of the world. Furthermore it had more to do with the people of the world than with the priests, and one would doubtless have a different idea of philosophy if for the first time I had heard a priest and not a beautiful woman speak of it. It was the complete opposite of a cloistered subject. Philosophy in calling itself the theory of the world had to alert the world by force, and make itself the distinctive sign of a good education. The man of the world was closer to philosophy than the worldless man. Afterwards, it is certain, everyone went to their houses, the philosophers and the men of the world. Some to their salons, others to their cubicles. The men of the world ended up selling English cashmeres and the philosophers became professors, each one with their little nostalgia for those festive moments when philosophy and the world harmonized nicely in an imitation of the Greek agora. From this there now remains only the memory. Existentialism did not cause this "mundane-ization" of philosophy - it was something else. It approached now the serious theme of politics, of social pedagogy, or the "humorous" in philology and philosophy like reading the catalogs of the Antiquariata. All this mundane form in philosophy caused a crisis and we are here to discuss it. It is not an active form but instead a past now not even "immediate." An exhausted theme, the subject of the world: it is in Scheler, in Husserl, in Heidegger, in Jaspers, and like an undertow in Eugen Fink, with the flavor which he give a careful, elegant Alexandrine, exact yet with an epigone's aftertaste. EMILIO URANGA PAPER BY LUIS VILLORO ON THE PHILOSOPHIC VOCATION 1. THE PRETENSION of explaining philosophy starting from the motives that led us to her hide one question: How can philosophy be justified by us? Neither that pretension nor that question are philosophical. In effect, the personal motives that lead to philosophic activity can be diverse, and all have in common forming part of the mundane pre-philosophic order and assuming that philosophy will respond to demands which that order posit. So then, it pertains to philosophy to begin where that order ends. Philosophy consists in essence in a putting into question, making doubtful, disconnecting the mundane natural order to which those motives and exigencies belong. It would be circular to pretend to explain with the mundane natural order an activity that consists in placing it into question. The inverse, however, is indeed possible: to judge with philosophy the motives and requirements of the mundane natural order. 2. That to the essence of philosophy belongs putting the natural world into question with all its motives, stemming from its radical double character: radicality in knowledge, radicality in style of life. a) Philosophy as knowledge is a pretension to radical consciousness. That implies converting the world as a questionable objective set, maintaining distance from the subject who philosophizes, disconnecting that subject from her membership in the world. Only thus can philosophy accede to the origin of the world. Inasmuch as knowing the origins avoids focusing on mundane understandings and attempts to demonstrate how those understandings are established. Philosophy cannot then, by nature, give answers to the questions that the natural mundane understanding broaches. On the contrary, it is it which begins by positing for each understanding its own questions. Mundane understanding cannot ask that philosophy be justified before it, when the latter consists precisely in a questioning of the justification for the mundane understanding. b) Philosophy as a way of life implies detachment from the goals of mundane life and, in consequence, disinterest in the requirements of those goals. The philosophical life starts with an ironic attitude toward the supposedly vital pre-philosophic values and convictions, which leads to disengagement from them. Liberation of the mundane order of values and goals tries to reveal the origin of all value and of every goal. From that beginning philosophy poses its own vital demands upon the assumed natural order of values and goals. Philosophy cannot then, by nature, fulfill the vital requirements that mundane natural activity pose. Mundane life cannot judge philosophy, when it consists precisely in imposing judgment on mundane life. 3. If it is true that philosophy is a delusion, it is so in a deeper sense of which the natural mundane attitude speaks. Philosophy deludes because it utilizes a decoy: it seems to cooperate in fulfilling our personal desires and our natural requirements; it gains acceptance because it seems to serve us. Yet once we accept its invitation, it tells us that the means of reaching what we sought fairly consists of negating those desires and demands. Then it is ourselves who have to fulfill its demands and put ourselves at its service. At the same time philosophy deceives us and keeps its word; or better, deceives us because it keeps its word in the only way that it can do so and which we ignored: by placing us at its service it radically serves us. And is this not perhaps the fundamental structure of all access to the spiritual world? 4. Any attempt to extract the pre-philosophic motives of some understanding of philosophy assumes a previous answer to what is asked, assumes that the philosophical attitude depends upon those motives; and this is the negation of the very possibility of a philosophical attitude. Accordingly, the intention persists; and if a natural attitude cannot make sense of philosophy, philosophy should make sense of a natural attitude. From the philosophical attitude we should, then, ask: why do we keep asking philosophy to justify itself before one immersed in the mundane natural order? Why can the same philosopher keep asking about the mundane value of philosophy? This indeed is a philosophical question for it is the philosopher who asks herself about the basis of a natural attitude. 5. The philosopher puts the mundane natural order in question, yet being human continues inserted in it. The possibility of putting the natural world in the distance is ambiguous: it is a mundane possibility insofar as it is the intra-mundane man who executes it; it is not, inasmuch as they put the world at a distance and question its validity. In the measure that they deal with a mundane possibility, man can ask about it before acceding to it; and even afterwards can pursue it seeing it from the perspective of mundane natural requirements. So then, given that the philosophic attitude consists of putting between brackets the validity of those demands, philosophy, to the degree that it deals with a mundane possibility can only present itself as incompetence, disillusion and failure. Only then does it show its aspect negating the mundane natural order. Yet this negating aspect says as much about its essence as the affirmative; it says what philosophy is not nor can ever be: it is not a completion of mundane requirements, is nothing which serves pre-philosophic ends. Meanwhile, from philosophical activity, its revelation as disillusion and failure with respect to natural goals says a great deal about philosophy, but says more about these goals. It says, for example: "philosophy is a failure before the natural world because it shows the essential failure of the ends of the natural world." 6. We have rejected the legitimacy of asking non-philosophically about philosophy. Yet that obliges us to revert to the same question, returning to interrogate philosophy philosophically. 1st Now we do not ask: what has philosophy given us and what can we await from philosophy, but instead, what does philosophy want and require of us? 2d Now we do not ask: does philosophy respond to the motives that brought us to her, but instead, do the motives occur because we adhere to the demands of philosophy? In sum the question is posed in its true terms. And I would express it as: how can we justify ourselves before philosophy? LUIS VILLORO COMMENTARY BY JOSÉ GAOS GUERRA Essential passage: "Philosophy 'imposes' itself as a 'way of being'...that emerges as a 'response,' 'acceptance,' which constitutes its only justification..." One wishes to know of what this way of being consists and why it is imposed. On that, not a word in the paper. Only something about what it is not. ROSSI Essential passages: "In synthesis, I think that the only way of treating the two proposed questions philosophically is attending not to the psychological origins, to the most peculiar and varied circumstances that caused us to "confront" philosophy, but instead asking directly for philosophy starting from its characteristics revealed in the experience we had and have with it, a revelation...conditioned by the essence of philosophy." "In philosophy one does not know first what it is and then knows it only to the extent that they know what they know that it is... This is surprising and peculiar to philosophy; how the enthusiasm is not less, the zeal for this mystery." One desires an effort to bring to actual and conceptual consciousness "intuitive sympathy and attraction," "elective affinity" through philosophy; to make "thematic" the "characteristics proper to it" indicated by their "undefinability," the "confusion" around them; or to discover if they are, and why, ineffable - definitely. URANGA Part I of his paper. Essential passage: "Or am I mistaken in thinking that philosophy will be--in order to be something--only the oil which bathes the hinges, the bearings of the universe? Does it consist in anything more than the mist of the world? Probably so. Maybe as some think it is the skeleton, or the nervous system, or the apparatus of bells and whistles that keeps the machinery of the universe upright. But if it is that, an enigma to me is its incapacity to nourish, to feed, to justify our passage through this green and gray land." Philosophy has pretended to be that. It has not achieved it. It seems, even, impossible for it to achieve. It presents, thus, the problem of such an essentially frustrating pretension - which seems to conclude, and in effect not to be able to do more than conclude, in an enigma: man's place in the cosmos. Yet in teaching that one is such a frustrating pretension, it teaches us much about ourselves, though it might not be all that we wanted to know, which is in what the pretension itself consists. And that would be its value, its interest, its justification. Part II of the paper. Essential thesis: "There is no continuity from the idea to the life." This new extreme anti-existentialism, this more than Hegelian novelty, since Hegel already went, in fact, from the idea to life in the Logic itself and not only in the philosophies of nature and of the spirit, would need to be powerfully grounded as new. One wishes it would so ground itself. Fundamentals that are found in the paper: "Between the ideas of a philosopher and her life there are no more than equivocal accident, through a malentendu, out of confusion." The equivocal relations, the accidental, the malentendu, the confusion, are all relationships; and may be as intrinsic to life as the contraries, whose weight in favor of relations between ideas and life one might lighten or dissolve by them. In any event, one would have to study them. One wishes that they be studied. "To put a thought into crisis and live in crisis have nothing in common except the word crisis." Admitted that a philosopher can perform a critique of reason with full equanimity: the relationship between the critique and the equanimity is one relation, and may be vital, which in any case one wishes were studied. "...for a moment we "put between brackets" Husserl's personality as a thinker and confront the lines of his diary as if dealing exclusively with the autobiographical document of any man." A supposition that entails a petitio principii. It assumes the possibility of separating the non-thinking part of the thinker's personality, which is what is being disputed. How to confront, as if treating the autobiographical document of any man, some lines that begin: "I shall mention the task that in my view I must resolve in the first place, if I am to keep calling myself a philosopher"--suggesting anguish about his very being--and continues: "Without my having clarified in its grand outlines the meaning, essence, methods, and principal perspectives of a critique of reason... I am unable to live in truth and veracity"? How could an everyman have written this and not, exclusively, one a philosopher from the roots of his being? "The 'crisis' of which we speak here is not a vital 'crisis,' but strictly a philosophical one that found its means of transcendence in its own element." The crisis that found its overcoming, certainly, in its own element, seems, nevertheless, more authentically documented as a vital crisis motivated by a crisis in thought and by the solution to this crisis in its element also overcome in life. Such adventures cannot occur to just any man, but only to he who is a philosopher - and one wants to know what or where is the man or the philosopher to whom it can happen. Part III of the paper. Three moments: -the encounter with philosophy as an ingredient of the world in the sense of the world of the salons; -starting from Kant, justification of the conception of philosophy as a theory of the world, in the same sense; a theory that will achieve a certain fullness in existentialism; -the beginning of the disabling of that conception. This third part recounts an instance and draws from it a conception which includes it - in a sense quite contrary to that of the entire second part, yet avoids having in this third a refutation of the second. In any case: for whoever the conception of philosophy as a theory of the human world is not "an active form, but now a past not even 'immediate'" is it equivalent or the same, the conception of philosophy as the human product of the characteristics and teachings noted at the end of the notes to the first part? VILLORO Essential passages and notation to each one. "Mundane understanding cannot ask that philosophy be justified before it, when the latter consists precisely in a questioning of the justification for the mundane understanding." Yet philosophy can and should seek justification within itself. "Mundane life cannot judge philosophy, when it consists precisely in imposing judgment on mundane life." But philosophy can and should prosecute itself, impose judgment upon itself. "If a natural attitude cannot make sense of philosophy, philosophy should make sense of a natural attitude." And of itself, and of philosophical activity. "From the philosophical attitude we should, then, ask: why do we keep asking philosophy to justify itself before one immersed in the mundane natural order? Why can the same philosopher keep asking about the mundane value of philosophy? This indeed is a philosophical question for it is the philosopher who asks herself about the basis of a natural attitude." From a philosophical position we should ask before and above all: how is philosophy justified before itself? What does the philosopher herself say concerning the non-mundane, intrinsic, value of philosophy? This indeed is a philosophical attitude, is the fundamental philosophic question, since it is the philosopher who queries herself about the fundamentals of her own activity. "Now we do not ask: what has philosophy given us and what can we await from philosophy, but instead, what does philosophy want and require of us?" And, what has philosophy given and what can we still await from it? What does its expect and what does philosophy demand of itself? "Now we do not ask: does philosophy respond to the motives that brought us to her, but instead, do the motives occur because we adhere to the...?" And, does philosophy respond to its own purposes? Which ones? "The question is posed in its true terms. And I would express it as: how can we justify ourselves before philosophy?" Or more properly as: how can philosophy justify itself before itself? In sum and conclusion: the more autarchic philosophy becomes, the more it is obliged to provide its own reason. JOSÉ GAOS COMMENTARY BY RICARDO GUERRA IN THE works presented I find two planes or aspects: the subjective and the objective, which it seems to me should be clearly distinguished. Above all because in my opinion it is starting from one of them, the objective, which should continue the discussion. I shall concern myself now with the subjective plane, and more precisely with this aspect of the thesis of doctor Gaos, considered "exemplary" in that sense. Dispensing with the objective aspect, that is to say, of the concrete theses sustained by doctor Gaos about philosophy, and occupying myself solely with the aspect already indicated, a series of objections occur to me which, in reality, cannot pretend to be anything but suggestions or commentaries without any pretension to validity. I allow myself to particularly disagree, in the work of doctor Gaos, with what refers to the interpretation he offers us of his particular relation to philosophy. Schematically and summarizing I would say the following: Pride, the lust for power, for authority, for displaying knowledge, et cetera, seem to me much more than fundamental motives for a philosophic vocation, the consequence or if one prefers old "professional deformations" of certain types of activities. It can be problems of adolescence, those to which further on for "diverse reasons" he concedes exaggerated importance; yet more generally, and above all when there are no points to objectively support (work, power, success, etc.) they are professional deformations. (Examples: some traditionalist, Jesuit, communist professors, etc.) When there is authentic work or vocation, pride is hidden or tends to disappear and we believe that this is much more the case with doctor Gaos. Why then does he give such importance to pride? Our personal interpretation is the following: I dare to think that in the case of doctor Gaos, one would have to give much greater importance than he himself gives, to the "historic Spanish catastrophe." This produces or represents, at perhaps the fundamental moment of his philosophical career, a radical crisis. If to this crisis we add other elements perhaps we would have a reply to the question posed. In the first place his "skepticism" before the diversity of philosophical systems (which however seems natural to us over a large period of formation, that much greater as the philosophical penetration and honesty are greater). In the second place his exaggerated self-criticism or if you like, "scrupulous conscience." The Spanish catastrophe represents, affects, too many things, most especially the fracturing of a community of friendship and (philosophic) work, that I dare to think in the instance of doctor Gaos was particularly intimate and fundamental. It was not only the community or "intersubjectivity" implied in the Republic, but also the narrower one of the Faculty of Philosophy, of Ortega, Morente, etc. The failure or fracturing of this community (along with the subsequent "deceptions") demands or proposes a series of "approaches" that we wish to discuss: speaking objectively of the development of an authentic vocation, the teaching of philosophy and the search for new types of community. Yet this does not acquire sufficient importance in the eyes of doctor Gaos, and his excessive self-criticism and his "skepticism" lead him to assume different attitudes. The crisis or breach between the "subjective" and the "intersubjective" is manifested, above all, in an exaggerated valuation or affirmation of the former: with pride the fundamental motive (or among the fundamentals) of his philosophic activity and of philosophy itself; it is manifested in the second place by the creation or development of a new type of intersubjectivity: Hispano-america, which for now and necessarily is nothing more than an "abstract" community. The years pass and as is natural neither affirmation can resist the self- critique so then an (external) solution is sought, a neutral motivation: "inertia" to justify the dedication to philosophy. These attitudes would then be the manifestation of something much more originative and radical: an authentic vocation and a fundamental and permanent crisis. The authentic vocation for the teaching of philosophy with all possible rigor and honesty, is a fact evident in the life of doctor Gaos. Philosophical creation, the personal philosophical work (good or bad, important or not) seem to us to have been obstructed or made impossible if you like by this permanent and hidden "crisis" that has arrived disguised perhaps as skepticism as as "theories" concerning philosophy. Regarding the "objective" aspect--and in this I coincide with the works of Rossi and of Villoro--one would have to again pose the question and begin the discussion starting from the problem of what is philosophy. The works of Rossi and of Villoro seem to me to support this thesis, with which in general terms we can be in accord, at least in what refers to the posing of the problem. Regarding the thesis of Uranga, I am not certain of interpreting it correctly, but it seems to propose politics or social pedagogy as "serious substitutes" for philosophy. Perhaps this clearly implies an idea of philosophy that would also enter into the "objective" discussion of the question. Negation of philosophy or its affirmation are, both, "objective" expressions of an idea of philosophy. It is this that in my opinion should be discussed. As much the thesis of doctor Gaos as those of Villoro, Uranga and Rossi, as well as my own, should be delineated in the sense which we have called the "objective plane," and then discuss our ideas about philosophy, be they positive or negative. RICARDO GUERRA TEJADA COMMENTARY BY ALEJANDRO ROSSI 1. OBSERVATIONS ON THE WORK OF DOCTOR JOSÉ GAOS In reflection concerning the incentives or personal or subjective motives that lead to philosophy, the idea of a theory of the philosophic vocation, as you write in your Confessions--reflection and theory that are presented as the only road for arriving at the essence of philosophy, for determining what she is and pardon such a global formulation--are based upon a supposition that to my thinking has not been sufficiently explained nor delineated, if one takes into account its radical importance. It is the following: that of considering philosophy, or more precisely metaphysics, as a discipline which does not provide objective reason about the world but instead, fundamentally, about its authors. It lacks a universal or intersubjective truth, you write, and this becomes an anthropological testimony that speaks to us, simply, of mankind and of her circumstances, in the same manner that other cultural creations teach us what is mankind. Its value will be, then, that of revealing the person to us - and from this perspective you concede it an importance greater than that of other spiritual creations. So then, accepting the demise of metaphysics, of philosophy, inasmuch as being a discipline that gives reason to the world, accepting this fact as an indisputable "datum," one tries to find, then, the reason for which one "does" philosophy. That is, one seeks the motive by which some people dedicate themselves to a deceptive and frustrating discipline; this motive is sought because one "assumes" it cannot be found in what philosophy offers, once it is established that such an offering is deceitful and fallacious. I mean that the reflection upon philosophy that you propose, as the only valid one in tune with the times, is based on the belief that it is deceitful regarding the objective truth and that due to this the only thing remaining is to consider it as anthropological testimony. In summary the treatment of metaphysics from an anthropological perspective is based on the idea of its failure, and this failure has not been made explicit in precise terms. Simply accepting that idea gives the sense of positing the problem of a "psychology of the philosophic vocation" because it deals with knowing precisely what the philosophy of the man reveals. The perspective is anthropological and once that is admitted, its way of approaching the problem of philosophy seems justified and then the matter is reduced to discussions of detail. It would please me for this to be further clarified, that the root reasons be discussed because of which you have decided that philosophy has no value as objective truth - for this deals, nothing less, with the assumption that you start from to justify and posit a philosophy of philosophy. Beginning with what criteria was the demise of philosophy diagnosed? Starting from the fact of the plurality of philosophies? Starting from the fact that it is not a science, as you sometimes seem to insinuate, and in the example of Hartmann? I think that this would be a capital and interesting point to discuss. 2. OBSERVATIONS ON THE WORK OF LUIS VILLORO The decisive division which Villoro establishes between mundane natural order and philosophy and the philosophical life, is ambiguous, as also are the relations that he attempts to sketch between the terms. This suggests to us a sort of dialectic that consists in saying that the natural world is different from the philosophic one whose essence is, precisely, that of putting the natural order in question and that accordingly this latter cannot be taken as a criterion for judging the philosophical, although this indeed can judge the natural, this being its proper task. The "personal motivations" would belong to the natural world and, consequently, are neither philosophical in themselves, nor can they serve to judge the success or the failure of the philosophy. From the foregoing we conclude that the authentic philosophical question would be the following: "what does philosophy await and demand from us, and how can we justify ourselves before philosophy?" In the first place, one should warn that with the division between the natural world and the philosophical world the result which occurs, perhaps, is the same problem as those chats and reunions concerning philosophy, to wit: the relations that might exist between the mundane natural order--to utilize Villoro's terminology--and philosophy. For it is obvious that philosophy presents itself--precisely at the beginning--as in the natural world and that from there the transit to philosophy is performed. If this observation is accepted, or better, this fact, it is seen that the problem is not solved by saying that philosophy in questioning the natural world deprives the latter of the right to judge it, but instead that the problem is to determine, a) to what degree does one pass or move to the philosophical world for motives from the mundane natural order--given that, as we said, philosophy manifests in the natural world--and b) in the second place to what extent do these natural motives--that according to Villoro will be the "personal motives"--continue to operate or not as ultimate reasons for doing and continuing to do philosophy. In conclusion it remains clear that it is not about the "mundane-natural order" indicting philosophy--for according to what was said a few lines ago this assumes the decisive division between the two orders and the problem is properly that of whether this separation exists--but instead that it attempts to specify up to what point those motives form part of the so-called "philosophical life." Lastly I would wish to point out that the question which concludes Villoro's work--how can we justify ourselves before philosophy?--is, for me, so obscure that I do not permit myself even the most minimal of observations. 3. OBSERVATIONS ON THE WORK OF EMILIO URANGA a) In his writing "Autobiography and philosophy" Uranga presents the relations there might be between both. For him such a relation is, essentially, negative, both seemingly exclusive. The autobiography lacks autobiographical value, the philosophic work has no role as autobiography. In some cases, in that of the philosophers concretely, it gains importance for the work - though this importance may be, up to a certain point, inessential. I think that the problem is badly formulated. In the terms in which Uranga proposes it to us, and by the examples that he cites, it seems to deal with the correspondence which might obtain between life--the mundane life of the philosopher--and her philosophy, in order to see in what sense the one assists in the comprehension of the other. Now then, it is obvious that a philosophical work does not require a corresponding autobiography to enable being understood, like the simple telling of mundane events--which is what Uranga understands as autobiography in his writing--about a philosopher requires no exact understanding of the philosophy of the autobiographical one. This almost represents innocence. So presented, the matter lacks interest. It deals not with "life"--external life--and work, but with investigating what philosophical problems emerge on considering philosophy in relation to it origins in ourselves and, especially, what conception of philosophy is necessary for the approach mentioned to have meaning. This is the problem. It is in this precise way that the relation between autobiography and philosophy carries interest. b) Concerning the letter that Uranga directed to you, I have nothing to say. You are the subject and it will always be interesting for us for you to communicate your impression. c) Regarding the "Episodes from a life in philosophy," I also have nothing to say. All that remains is to lament not having been introduced to philosophy by a beautiful woman instead of by a dry and malhumored Jesuit. The consolation will be to be introduced to beautiful women in philosophy - and so a vulgarity towards the other... 4. ON THE WORK OF RICARDO GUERRA "Provisional notes for an idea of philosophy," suggests little or nothing to me, except to indicate that it would be good to make explicit the fundamental terms he uses in order to describe his idea of philosophy and his situation with respect to it. I make this observation because he uses a series of words --acceptance, imposition, manner of being, etc.--in current usage, rigorously in quotes, which seem to indicate that they have a meaning that is not precisely the common standard. While he does not say what this is, we remain in the dark. ALEJANDRO ROSSI COMMENTARY BY EMILIO URANGA Mexico City, 20th of July 1958 Dr. José Gaos: Here are my impressions, the most concise possible, of the documents. Guerra: philosophy is my vocation, it is myself. Congratulations. He confesses that the idea of philosophy is difficult for him to establish. Then, how does he know with such certainty that it is not personal confession, that it is not will to power, et cetera? To the modesty of ignorance he has preferred the ignorance of modesty. Rossi: he wishes to recommend how to ask why a given question is philosophical...or how it is that it is not. How does he know that? To the vagueness with which philosophy appears to us corresponds the vagueness of its essence. Again: how does he know that? The vagueness of philosophy has perhaps nothing to do with its experiential vagueness. The idea of a triangle is not triangular, that of water is not wet and inversely the wetness that affects me does not means that I have therein the chemical formula of the water. So what! At most this vagueness is not limited to philosophy. Professional deformation. Russell says the same of mathematics, others of law, etc. A biologist, says Rossi, knows whereof he speaks. A philosopher no. Meet a biologist and you will get another impression. Or read what they confess in this regard: they appear no better given the imprecision of the "idea" of biology. I do not believe in these hypotheses: philosophy, theology, agencies with sacred voice and vote concerning subjectivity. Villoro: he reminds us that the philosopher, or philosophy, does not have its reign in this world. In which then? He admires that common trait of the great philosophers that he calls generosity, detachment, et cetera, but they are doctrinally compromised. Philosophy puts the world between parentheses. Agreed. Yet what world? By world Villoro does not understand that of Husserl, or instead that of Saint Augustine: they are the impious, the carnal, their state is alienation from God. What does bracketing have to do with this? If one puts being in the world within brackets man is eliminated. Husserl or Heidegger. His sermon seems to me a mea culpa, or catharsis of mundane attitudes that in another time caused them to say to you that Hyperion suffered from showboating. To be a philosopher one must stop being a showboat: this is his "bracketing." Therefore he outlines a picture of final desperation for all those who stand by the world, by philosophy as personal confession, as political ambition, as frivolity. Such a purgatory is reserved for the mundane, for the bad, for "irreducibles." How is one justified before philosophy? By turning the back when it comes with such presumptions. Before better idols mankind was not humiliated. Previous to this bloodless hypothesis... I pass to his communication: that which most surprises me - his idea of philosophy as archaic knowledge. It occurs to me: is being archaic personal confession, or the inverse? Restless, argumentative, seeing philosophy reduced to the condition of a stub or appendix of a maladapted species, on paths perhaps of this world disappearing. A bracketing that would convince Villoro to be radical... Yet, does not the archaic coexist with the actual? The kangaroos with the sheep? Is it inexorably called to disappear or might hope be harbored for a definitive statute of coexistence? Regarding threats, an atomic war can equally reach the kangaroos and the sheep... With impersonal knowledge and actual "science" the personal and the archaic in philosophy can continue coexisting. To my understanding we overcome the crisis in this direction. Second point. The crisis of philosophy. It is the incandescent point. Without knowing how to specify their idea of philosophy the authors response is roundabout: it is not a personal confession. Such that the question becomes ambiguous: a crisis in what each one of us believes to be philosophy? Rossi would like to glean whatever in this question is philosophical. In Villoro there is a criterion for measuring the crisis: it is authentic when it is non- showboating, otherworldly. Guerra wants to show that his life is properly philosophic by not being a critic, but instead an idyll and example - supreme paradox! His communication left me with the flavor of a Rotarian or Masonic brotherhood speech with a poetic-pathetic style worthy of a Great Orient lodge. Philosophical or not, the communications seem to me to have great value for coming from persons of great intellectual solvency. We hope they so proceed, being fully characteristic. EMILIO URANGA COMMENTARY BY LUIS VILLORO o THE PRESENTATION OF DOCTOR J. GAOS In my presentation I indicated some reasons which make me think that the motives to access philosophy cannot tell us anything about its essence. Yet such arguments are founded upon an idea of philosophy that doctor Gaos does not share. Thus, a dialogue will only be possible if, bracketing my idea of philosophy, I try to place myself on the terrain of doctor Gaos. A chore, meanwhile, not at all difficult; for if indeed I can think that the theme which doctor Gaos treats is perhaps not philosophically grounded, that does not interfere with recognizing its vital importance and personal interest for all of us to treat it with the absolute sincerity and good faith that doctor Gaos applies. It is not possible to dutifully discuss all the themes that the presentation posits. At the limits of this initial commentary it suffices to indicate some loose questions, in the hope of initiating a dialogue. Here they are: 1. The author suggests a motive for the eagerness for liberation with respect to revealed religion. It may be illustrative to indicate that the same eagerness acted in me although with a different framework: it was a desire to liberate myself from a form of religiosity considered hypocritical and conventional and a hope of acceding to an authentic personal belief. Philosophy was, for me, a means of solution of a specifically religious crisis. Yet in the one case and the other, philosophy seems to have had an identical liberating function: to free one with respect to all the assumptions and false truths that alienate us, with the intent of opening access to the truth proper to each. Such seems to be an essential trait of the philosophic attitude; what can vary is the type of conventional pseudo-truths from which to be liberated and the type of world it posits in return. In every case philosophy has a radical liberating function as against all alienation. Would that not be enough to justify it? 2. There seems to be little doubt that intellectual hedonism, pride and the desire to dominate regularly accompany the philosophical vocation. Yet we wish to formulate two questions: 1st: Do they not also accompany (including arrogance that seems more distinctive, according to Gaos, to philosophy) all dedication to culture? Could there be greater "pride" than that of the mystic? Greater hedonism than that of the aesthete? Greater will to dominate than that of the politician? How can we encounter in those motives features distinctive to philosophy? 2d: With complete sincerity: Are not these sentiments accompanied by their contraries? Thus, are not all feelings bipolar? To explain: it seems to be equally frequent (at least I could adduce my personal experience) that intellectual enjoyment is accompanied by painful, and even fearful, effort; and the ascetic impulse seems to me as deep as the hedonistic. Eagerness to dominate is accompanied--in the case that concerns us--by a vehement desire to engage the being or true principles in whose service we can happily put ourselves. Arrogance is accompanied by a necessity not less intense because of it, of humble delivery to the truth. And we do not say that these sentiments will be specifically religious, for they do not seem to be so more than the others. In summary: the motive of self-satisfied pleasure and domination, might it not be the reverse of its contrary, the desire to serve, to give testimony? And if this is so, would not we open a distinct idea of philosophy? 3. Metaphysics and religion might refer to the same entities (or pseudo-entities) and, overall, do so according to distinct feelings. For example, in one instance being would have the meaning of "that which saves" and be an object of devotion, fear, et cetera; in the other, the meaning of "grounding" and be an object of knowledge. Perhaps metaphysics did nothing except consider religious objects beneath new strata of meaning. Is that enough to condemn it? 4. By any lights it would be illegitimate to propose an "application to religious objects of methods from science." But we cannot manage to see this clearly. Between the methods of metaphysics and those of science there appears to be an essential distinction. The first is methods to transcend the given, and the second is exercised in a manner immanent to experience. 5. Even if we accept (and I accept it with reservations) the failure of traditional metaphysics, would not the possibility remain of an ontology that would start from the given (that is, whose basis were a phenomenology)? Would not a theory be possible of the entity reduced to the finite limits of human experience? 6. Even accepting the "archaism" of metaphysics, it seems to me that other extremely firm values of philosophy remain in place, in addition to those which doctor Gaos indicates. To wit: a) Philosophy as the "theory of the good and beautiful life." For even admitting that we might have to renounce an axiological and pure ethics, the art of good living would not remain discredited. b) Philosophy as a general theory of the spirit, whatever might be the meaning which is given to that term. That is to say: philosophy as the theory of the subjective and intersubjective structures that make possible the world specific to (wo)man. It could not be confused with an empirical anthropology. That would inquire about an object constituted within the world, both by the origin and the basis of the human world and, thus, of its meaning. 7. All the critiques directed at philosophy have done so at its pretensions of knowledge, but not at its pretensions of being a valiant form of life. Even if we suppose that philosophy has failed in its pretension to knowledge, the question remains afoot: philosophic life, that is, life consecrated to interrogation of the meaning of being and of oneself and to give testimony on the good and the true, is it not--even without achieving its goal-- a life worthy of man? Even more: is it not the only life fully worthy of one being free? 8. Do we not often have the sensation that, at root, this problem is a matter of personal decision? If philosophy appears to some totally different than to others, is it not due, more than anything, to our personal decisions before its true and false demands? In other terms: will we not be against a problem of conferring or denying confidence? o THE PRESENTATION OF R. GUERRA 1. Philosophy appears to him as a "lifestyle" that is imposed with a categorical character. Guerra shows, correctly in our view, the ideal normativity inherent in the demands of the philosophical life. Overall, that seems as if this normativity were presented to him like a blind and mysterious co-action, incapable of supplying its own justification. He says, for example: (philosophy presents itself) "not as a possibility which is selected among others, with decision and joy, but instead only "that which must be done, that which cannot be otherwise, that which calls for abandonment..." without even knowing the value or significance of this renunciation. We desire more clarity: is it possible that the philosophic life might be normative without revealing, at the same time, the inanity of that where renunciation is asked and the value of that postulated by acceptance? 2. An apparent paradox between the affirmation that philosophy is not one "possibility that is selected among others" and the thesis that it can be freely rejected. Maybe Guerra wants to say that it deals with a peculiar possibility among the rest, for it presents a character of normative necessity. This seems to me characteristic of any spiritual possibility. All are called who demand an answer and impose a peremptory decision. One would have to distinguish between the "calling" of philosophy and that of other spiritual possibilities. We think that that would be impossible on the terrain where Guerra is located. Insofar as having a "calling" or "imposition," philosophy only make patent the radical obligatory-ness of the world of the spirit, which is also manifested in art, religion, etc. In order to distinguish the other modes of access to that world it would be necessary to inquire as to the peculiar mode of response to that "call": the different spiritual attitudes would be so many other types of responses to the same call. o THE PRESENTATION OF A. ROSSI Rossi asks for the way by which philosophy presents itself to us, that is, for how it seems to be, for its appearance. And all appearing is ambiguous: at once showing and veiling that which appears. It shows, to the extent that it is conditioned by the essence that appears; veils, insofar as it continues immersed in the psychological conditions of the subject and depends upon her changing states. How to distinguish in that the characters "conditioned by the essential notes" (to cite Rossi)? When we start our path, philosophy only displays itself as appearance; in pursuing it, we come to know what it really is. Rossi says: "In philosophy one does not know first what it is and then knows it only to the extent that they know what they know that it is. The paradox is clear: one arrives at knowledge, real and truly, which is philosophy when one has a philosophy..." It concerns, then, a transit from the indeterminate to the determinate, or from appearing to being in philosophy. That is: a step from what philosophy is for ourselves (for the learning of philosophy) to what philosophy is in itself (for the philosopher). On the way, the essence (that which may be "real and truly" philosophy) is not given and, overall, is partially shown in appearance. The essence acts, then, like an idea in the Kantian sense. The idea of philosophy as knowledge founded in and for itself acts as a regulative theme of the process. Without that we could not explain how we could distinguish the characters of appearance which are conditioned by the essence. All progressing in philosophy assumes a progressive revelation of philosophy such as it is in and for itself. Thus, the idea of philosophy as knowledge based and justified within itself is, at the least, a subjective necessity that makes dedication to philosophy possible. When does the philosopher know that she has attained philosophy? When it imposes itself necessarily, that is, when it no longer seems conditioned by the interests of our personal life. So Rossi seems to understand it when he says: "once 'inserted,' so to speak, in philosophy, one no longer accepts the possibility of not believing philosophically in it." In effect, the only possible criterion for knowing whether we are in possession of philosophy is that its apparition responds to that which it is in and for itself. Then it shows itself necessarily and imposes its requirements. Philosophy has been revealed in its essence at the moment that an "internal demon" imposes. This characterizes all spiritual activity. The world of the spirit interacts, obligates; is self-founded and self-sufficient. We have only arrived at it when we recognize it as such. Similar is the experience of the artist, who only accedes to art when she knows how to interpret harmony subject to its own laws, whose necessity is imposed and obliges her to express it. Analogous is the experience of religious faith, etc. In summary: Rossi's presentation suggests that the transit to the philosophic attitude consists in: 1) the step from philosophy appearing for us to its being in and for itself; 2) the step from the spirit as conditioned, to the reality of the spirit as unconditioned. o THE PRESENTATION OF E. URANGA "Letter to doctor Gaos" It concerns a literary page that does not properly overlap the theme of the seminar. Not befitting commentary. "Autobiography and Philosophy" Between ideas and the life of a philosopher, says Uranga, there are only equivocal and accidental relations. The truth is that we might easily indicate examples where those relations seem univocal and essential. Socrates, Descartes, establish a precise link between the principles of their philosophy and a decisive event in their lives; and we might even recall cases where the order and sequence of the philosophemes seems to correspond almost point by point to the series of personal vicissitudes: Kierkegaard as a typical example. The problem seems badly posed. It does not concern knowing whether the order in a philosophy really corresponds to those in a life; it does not refer to ascertaining the relations "between two worlds," both real. It involves knowing whether the ideal principles upon which the concatenation of philosophic principles is based correspond or not to the real principles that regulate the vital avatars of the philosopher. On posing the problem we announce its response. Between the biographical order and the sequence of the philosophemes there may be a strict parallelism in the sphere of real events and their temporal succession. But this parallelism says nothing of a relationship of dependence. In effect: the ideal is not based upon the real, and the relations of foundation and restriction that give form to a philosophy cannot be confused with the relations of succession and dependence which link the vicissitudes of life. Independence between the two orders is not shown empirically, in the field of biographical events, as Uranga attempts to do, except what results a priori from the simple analysis of the essential characteristics of one order and the other. "Episodes from a Life in Philosophy" Here one plays with speaking of philosophy, and Uranga doubtless has the most estimable qualities of a good player: intelligence and a festive tone. What better, then, than the literary anthology to keep the game within the limits of grace and good concert? Above all, we do not become serious: is there anything less intelligent than gravity? Everything can serve as a pretext for the happy game of literary invention. Biography itself in the first place. Because, what is, in truth, the authentic life? That which imposes a blind reality or that which responds to my actual project? All that is very amusing, and illustrative as well. For Uranga shows us that between a psychological attitude and the object to which it refers there may be contradictory relations; such that the motives for access to one type of life may be exactly the opposite of its characteristics. The aesthetic attitude that he claims having arrived at through philosophy consists in taking a grave matter frivolously. As if to take a light matter frivolously were not a sign of good taste but of simple and plain joviality. The elegance of the "snob" is demonstrated by reacting quickly to a matter that all know is serious. Thus he manifests his superiority and freedom in valor. The aesthete, upon assuming a frivolous attitude towards philosophy, notes the value and seriousness of that philosophy. LUIS VILLORO SUMMARY BY JOSÉ GAOS I. LIFE AND PHILOSOPHY A. Critical observations on the approach to or resolution of the problem 1. a) Begging the question (Gaos to Uranga, Rossi to Villoro). 2. b) It does not deal with the relation between two real worlds, but instead between ideal and real principles (Villoro to Uranga). Bad interpretation of Villoro by Uranga, who coincides with Villoro in the separation of the ideal and the real (Gaos verbally to Uranga). Cf. what follows here. 3. c) Non-communication between philosophy and the world (Uranga to Villoro). Contradiction between this reproach of Villoro by Uranga and the thesis of Uranga himself that "there is no passage from the idea to life" in "Autobiography and philosophy" (Gaos verbally to Uranga). Cf. what follows here. 4. d) Ideas do not have the properties of their objects (Uranga to Rossi). 5. e) It is not a matter of life and work, but instead that a conception of philosophy is necessary to be able to consider philosophy in relation to its origins in ourselves (Rossi to Uranga). 6. f) It concerns the step to philosophy for mundane motives and their persistence in it after the step to it (Rossi to Villoro). B. Positive ideas on the relation between life and philosophy, preferably as a principle, and a critique of some of them 7. a) The irrational in the philosophic vocation and in philosophy itself (the spirit of Rossi's two writings in the verbal interpretation of Gaos). 8. b) The vagueness with which philosophy is presented is not experiential, nor limited to philosophy (Uranga to Rossi). 9. c) Spirit in general and philosophy in particular as ideas in the Kantian sense (Villoro to Rossi). 10. d) Normativity and obligatory-ness of spirit in general and of philosophy in particular (Villoro to Guerra). 11. e) The need for philosophy to justify itself that much more the more autarchic it is conceived (Gaos to Villoro). 12. f) It deals with a question of confidence (Villoro to Gaos). 13. g) The distinctive criterion for philosophy will not be that of "anti-showboating" (Uranga to Villoro). 14. h) The relations between philosophy and life are equivocal (Uranga verbally). II. CONCEPT AND JUSTIFICATION OF PHILOSOPHY. POSITIVE IDEAS CONTRIBUTED TO DEVELOP OR CRITICIZE 15. a) The methods of metaphysics, methods to transcend the given; those of science, immanent in experience (Villoro to Gaos). 16. b) Metaphysics and religion could refer to the same entities, but with a different meaning (Villoro to Gaos). 17. c) Pride, domination and hedonism will not be limited to philosophy and are accompanied by their contraries (Villoro to Gaos). 18. d) The concept of "crisis" in philosophy must be elaborated (Uranga to Gaos). 19. e) The failure of metaphysics must be established and elaborated. Possible criteria: the plurality of metaphysics; the unscientific character of metaphysics (Rossi to Gaos). 20. f) Possible influence of the political crisis (Guerra to Gaos). 21. g) Philosophy, an archaic and confessional product of culture, might continue to co-exist with existing, future and impersonal science (Uranga to Gaos). 22. h) The possibility of a phenomenological or immanent ontology (Villoro to Gaos). 23. i) The possibility of a philosophy of spirit, yet not as empirical anthropology (Villoro to Gaos). 24. j) Possibility of philosophy as a lifestyle and art of living (Villoro to Gaos). 25. k) Liberating function of philosophy (Villoro to Gaos). 26. l) Substitution of philosophy with politics and social pedagogy (verbal interpretation by Villoro of the conclusion to Uranga's "Autobiography and philosophy"). 1. I insist that the question is whether one can separate the personality and the thought or the work. And what in it cannot be parted by separation nor its inseparability. One can only conclude with one of the two theses. I concede that thought or work and personality can each be studied in themselves in large part. Yet the part, for being large, does not cease being a part. The question is, I shall repeat in somewhat different terms, if one must not pass from the personality to the work, or from the latter to personality, to make room for the most complete study possible. 2. We say the same for the separation between the ideal and the real, which is nothing more than that of the personality and the work in the most general and abstract terms. I add that the very terms "real" and "ideal," insofar as they entail a philosophical interpretation, should be used with critical caution and even be submitted to a critical revision. 3. I say the same about the non-communication between philosophy and the world. It is the same separation as the previous items in other terms. 4. Phenomenological evidence appears usable in the critical revision and in-depth study of the distinction and relationship between the real and the ideal, personality and thought or the work, the world and philosophy. Yet the terms "ideas" and "their objects" call attention to an important point for such a study: the ideal is in a double relation to the real, with its objects and its subjects. In that considered in the first three items, one seems to deal with the ideal and its subjects; in the consideration of this number, we deal with the ideal and its objects. Be careful, then, with the confusion in the repeated study. In it one would have to consider, in order to be as complete as possible, the double relation of the ideal with the real. In reference to philosophy, the point leads to the most important ones of the circulation between the subject and the object, what is the object to a subject, what is its partial object, and total object. 5. I believe that one does treat of life and work, a new pair of terms for the same in previous items. The conception of the philosophy necessary to be able to consider philosophy in relation to its origins in ourselves, be it what it may, will be a conception of philosophy in relation to ourselves, a conception of the relationship between philosophy and ourselves, which is the question to which we have been making reference since the beginning. 6. It is about the step to philosophy and then persistence in it. If for mundane motives, what communication between world and philosophy assumes, or for purely philosophical motives, what the reclusion of philosophy into itself assumes and existence in it ab initio or an absolute leap to it, continues being the same question. 1-6. The six previous points do nothing more, then, than to pose the same question in more general and abstract terms, more specialized and concrete: real-ideal; personality and thought or work; life and work; world and philosophy; ourselves and philosophy. We have simply gained a phenomenological- methodological warning: attend to the double relationship of the ideal with the real, in general and especially in philosophy. 7. It entails a no less important warning. For what is truly irrational, there will be no way of finding reason. Pay attention, then, to the limits of this. In other terms: in the study of the distinction and relation between the real and the ideal, philosophy, its objects and its subjects will have to look with a critical review at the limits of the possibility of studying such distinctions and relations, of finding reason in them. Philosophy has come to recognize the limits of reason. Does this mean those of reason in general, yet not those of philosophy, which will be unlimited? No, instead those of reason in general, in recognizing those for itself, recognizes at the same time the ceiling of reason in general. In the Kantian critique, philosophic reason recognizes the limits of reason in general when it recognizes these in itself as metaphysical reason. 8. It seems to me that one must distinguish and qualify both of the two points. The vagueness with which philosophy presents itself is not unique to it, to what is immediately presented, no: no discipline, perhaps none, presents itself or has been presented as easily defin-able at once, though didactics presents them in immediate first definitions as that already defin-ed, at the cost of having to immediately engage in explaining them; yet in the form of continuing to present themselves, there does seem to be a notorious difference between the definability of philosophy and that of other disciplines - in those one arrives at definitions accepted by all subjects and in philosophy not, to put it grosso modo for the moment, for the question is practically the whole question. The vagueness with which philosophy presents itself is not experiential: no, inasmuch as the correlate of the definition belongs on the sort of plane foreign to the experience of the definition itself - once again the question of the ideal and the real; but yes, if the study of this question exhibits some relationship between the experiences and even the definitions, not to speak of the vagueness of the objects of these. It is also a point relevant to the rationality or irrationality considered in the previous number. 9. In view of a phenomenon like this, where philosophy does not arrive at a definition of itself as in other disciplines, one can foresee that philosophy in particular and the spirit in general be ideas in the Kantian sense, as a possible conclusion of the study and all that refers to the observations in these pages; yet for now nothing more than foreseeing such a possible conclusion, although it is unfit to doubt the fact that up to now philosophy may have had the history it has had as a powerful reason in favor of the increasing probability of that conclusion. The Critique of Pure Reason, which ends with the doctrine of ideas in his sense, begins with the famous reference to the very different historical paths of science and of metaphysics. 10. It is an aspect of the question of the relation between the ideal and the real in general or in the special case of philosophy: that of whether such a relation is in some aspect, at the same time, the relation of an ideal norm to a real subject under its obligation. 11. It posits a solution to the question in the sense of the reclusion of philosophy into itself considered in number 6. One cannot begin with the affirmation of that reclusion, except for, finally, its phenomenological exhibition. Given the reclusion, as the initially exhibited phenomenon, or as the conclusion of an investigation into the question of the relations between the ideal and the real, especially in the case of philosophy, or its own and autarchic justification will be exhibited in the exhibited phenomenon, or throughout the research this justification will be made--or with the phenomenon exhibited, or the investigation concluded, such a justification would have to be made, or to recognize that philosophy is absolutely unjustifiable, or that the irrationality suggested beginning in number 7 goes far beyond that, or starts very much here. In any event, one must start once more with the relationship between philosophy and the rest - though it be only in order to immediately exhibit that it has none. 12. To decide for philosophy by virtue of confidence in her--it must be understood, not based upon herself, for were it founded upon itself one would have to have familiarized themself with it having decided for it or for her before the establishment of the confidence in her in itself--is the philosophical vocation itself, that one attempts to explicate. That attraction which causes one to profess a discipline before he himself might have been able to justify it sufficiently, is general to every vocation. We try, then, to specify it for philosophy. 13. It is possible that a philosopher can be a prima donna. It seems even certain that in some sense all philosophers are. The study of the distinction and relationships, one more time again, between philosophy and the rest will provide the ultimate word that here can be given. 14. Instead of affirming simply that the relations between philosophy and life are equivocal, it is better to generalize and add one more methodological warning to the foregoing: that in the study of the relations between the real and the ideal in general, and especially between philosophy and the rest, which is our question, so as to keep in mind, for whatever use it may be, the distinction between the univocal, the equivocal and analogy. 7-14 Joint result. The establishment and re-establishment of the same question in different terms, with those that definitely seem better, at once for their generality and for their reference to the special case of our interest, being: the real and the ideal as relating to philosophy. Three methodological warnings to keep in mind during the study of the question: pay attention to --the double relation of the ideal with the real, the objective and the subjective, --the univocal, the equivocal or analogy in relations, --the limits of applying reason and of definability. And four points that touch upon those with which to conclude the study of the question: --The specification of the philosophic vocation. --The normative aspect of the ideal-real relation. --The philosopher as "prima donna." --The idea in a Kantian sense. 15. In any event, the methods of metaphysics are, by definition, by the very definition of them, methods for transcending the given. Now, they are scientific, or they are not. There are philosophies for each term of the disjunction: rationalists and irrationalists, grosso modo. If they are scientific, Villoro seems to concede that they are invalid, or think that metaphysics has its own methods, that would not be scientific. That which I have come to think is that the methods of metaphysics, or to transcend the given, be they scientific or not, do not manage to transcend the given more than a thought without possible verification of validity for all possible subjects, which is what Kant already concluded. Yet from Kant to here one has progressed in knowledge about "motives," which are not "reasons," for one to transcend the given in a thought without possible verification of validity for all possible subjects. What I believe about this point is that a man "conceives" non- existence and the infinite existence like an infinite Entity that is an infinite Good, because he "lives" the bad and the good, and this living so is the radical constitution of human nature and an ultimate or constitutive datum beside the problem of one's place in the cosmos, in whose rational insolubility she recognizes the limits of reason. Insofar as the lack of validity for any possible subject of such conceptions, I would explain, first, by conceiving them as antinomian, in the sense of being presented in pairs of concepts between which it is possible neither to choose nor abstain from choosing for pure reasons, but instead decisively for irrational motives; and more widely and radically, with a division of the objects into abstract and concrete, intersubjective and subjective, that I have presented in some of my publications. Upon that and on all the foregoing I systematically expound in the book, On philosophy, that I trust shall appear in these next months. 16. It is a fact that religion and metaphysics refer to the same entities, supreme for example, God. If one accepts that metaphysics refers to God with scientific methods, metaphysics becomes a presumed science of the object more proper to religion which is revealed, in accord with that said in the previous number, as a pseudo-science. If metaphysics does not refer to God with scientific methods, but with irrational ones, one would have to distinguish between religious relationships with God and the irrational metaphysical relation to Him, which becomes, to say the least, subtle. 17. Arrogance, such as it is currently understood, will not be exclusive to philosophy; yet I exerted myself, in days now distant, to show phenomenologically that, were the phenomenon well delineated and described, it would be philosophical. In the philosophers, there reside together philosophy and humility, like, let us say, in saint Thomas; yet not in what there is in them of pure philosophy. We have written that saint Thomas could not meaningfully write the title Utrum Deus sit without being a conditional atheist in that instant. I would say now that he could not have a conditional atheist at that instant without being in the same instant arrogant in the sense that I tried to fix phenomenologically in the alluded effort. Within the real the contradictory is given. That the foregoing entails a certain distinction between essences and realities, I concede. With regard to domination, understood as attached to pride, what I have indicated would apply, mutatis mutandis. With regard to hedonism, I do not think it is unique to philosophy, but instead that a certain hedonism is the "motive" for certain acts and certain attitudes in relation to philosophy, and I recognize that accompanying in continuity such acts and attitudes is more than one contradiction: self-reproach of the conscience, boredom... 18. The concept of philosophy's "crisis" must be specified. In effect. I understand by the crisis of philosophy the crisis of metaphysics: an historical crisis for it by reason and for motives of the type of those adduced in number 15, which speaking individually constitute individual crisis paths in metaphysics, and that seem to reiterate since Kant so much of the predominant same as to suggest that the history of philosophy divides into two epochs, Kantian and pre-Kantian, the first predominantly metaphysical and the second predominantly critical, or critical of metaphysics, and of the philosophy of philosophy in the sense of such a critique, and of its amplification and deepening in the direction of the search for the motives for dedication to metaphysics, of its roots in man's constitution or in human nature. 19. One must specify and ground the failure of metaphysics. As well. Yet I think I have already done that, in the purely indicative manner which is possible in these leaves, in number 15. It will be seen that I accept the criterion of the plurality of metaphysics and that of the non-scientific character of metaphysics, in close conjunction: metaphysics would not have a scientific character because the methods of science are not for transcending the given, and the use by metaphysics of scientific methods and methods peculiar to it, or what is the same, no intent to transcend the given is ever more than thoughts without possible verification of validity for every possible subject, or that is, for the plurality of metaphysics. 20. The political crises influence the philosophical. They have influenced those of metaphysics. Personally, already for many years in distinguishing between vocation, profession, deception, and philosophical obstinacy, I distinguished various deceptions, one of them precisely politics: the political impotence of the philosophic profession, singularly in metaphysics. Also those same years ago I associated the anti-metaphysical position to an anti-religious position associated in turn to a political position taken in reaction against the social class of my educators. To which overall I have returned, although only by way of insinuation or allusion in my recent Confessions. The problem for me was to systematically insert such relations between philosophy and politics into my philosophy of philosophy, and I believe that I have done so. 21. Philosophy, an archaic and confessional product of the culture, shall keep co-existing with current, future and impersonal science - through historical inertia, as this one is almost already co-existing. Yet this does not concern the persistence through inertia of something without an existing right to live, but instead its persistence by virtue of this right. The negation of this right is what the ideas represent which I have completed writing about metaphysics. It seems to me that metaphysics now have no right to survive more than as the object of a study of it like those that science and philosophy perform about other of its products, however archaic they are or extinct they may be, and for reasons parallel to those for which one studies those other products: knowledge of the human past and of the human by means of it, values leading to such knowledge even of its objective products, aesthetic or other values of those products, despite their archaicism as, for instance, those of the Homeric epic. That these values give the products that adopt them a peculiar actuality, I do not deny. 22. The parts of phenomenological and immanent ontology which already exist in philosophy seem to me to be part of it with plain value. I have always defended such an ontology and have cultivated it in my fashion. Yet though it may have been utilized by metaphysics, I cannot be confused by this. In general, I think that one must distinguish, and I have for my part distinguished between metaphysics and the rest of philosophy, a mixture which goes from the sciences in the strictest sense, such as mathematical logic, to disciplines whose distinction with respect to the human sciences, for example, sociology and the philosophy of society or the science and the philosophy of art seems Byzantine to me. The critique presented above has tended to present only metaphysics as its object, in a sufficiently expressive form, if I am not mistaken. 23. A philosophy of the spirit that is not an empirical anthropology, if this last term is taken with due amplitude, which encompasses, in addition to the sensory, the ideal, in the true sense of Husserl's positivism, be it a metaphysics, worth what it is worth according to that said in these leaves concerning metaphysics in general. If taking the delimiter of empirical as restricted to the sensory, or even to the physical, one thinks of the spirit as a non-physical, and ideal, entity, in any case immanent, and a philosophy of it will be part of the ontology referred to in the previous number, into which indubitably enters the question of the distinction and the relations between the real and the idea, the starting point of these leaves. 24. Philosophy as a way of life seems a very different thing according to whether one is thinking of metaphysics or other philosophical disciplines. The theoretical or contemplative life par excellence, beside the religious and the learned connections to it, has been that of metaphysics. With this way of life and the psychology and anthropology of its subject I have been very insistently occupied throughout my professional life, from those now distant courses in vocation, profession, deception, and obstinacy as stages in the philosophical life up to the recent Confessions. More generally the theoretic or contemplative life is common to the philosopher and the scientist, yet not thereby, precisely, less worthy of study. An art of living founded upon anti-metaphysical philosophical anthropology is my most recent preoccupation, of which I have given proof in my last courses in philosophical anthropology. 25. A liberating function is served by something that liberates with respect to something which is liberated. The liberating function of philosophy with respect to religion, and more in general with the whole culture within which a subject is born and is formed, is an historical fact, that well might continue in the future: knowledge of that same metaphysics, notwithstanding its archaicism, but instead precisely because of its archaicism, can liberate from faith in many things where it is not justified. Non-metaphysical philosophy can keep generating free spirits in the same sense as science. 26. The substitution of non-metaphysical philosophy for politics and social pedagogy to me does not seem more possible than the substitution for these of the other human disciplines and sciences, not to mention the natural. Now it seems to me that I should say something, though it be only the minimum possible, in the interest of brevity, concerning the four points to touch and the three warnings to have in mind, according to the collective result of numbers 1-14. A) That which is specific to the philosophic vocation I see in the motives for metaphysics considered in numbers 15 and 17. The articulation of the arrogance of mankind's moral constitution is for me the exact articulation of this moral constitution with reason. Arrogance would be the consciousness of intellectual superiority. The intelligence if the apex of reason in that it conceives the "principal" or "initiatory" categorical concepts. These concepts are the metaphysical principles in turn, whose origin I discover in the ethical constitution of the man. B) The "showboating" of philosophy is the degradation of the pride of the prince of the principles in her vanity. C) The relationship of the real and the ideal, its nature univocal, equivocal or analogous, its aspect normative, is a question too complicated to be able to treat it here in a full yet concise mode. On referring in number 15 to the relation between the metaphysical concepts and their irrational motives, I have touched its highest and deepest point and asserted my manner of viewing it. D) The limits of metaphysical reason's provision for things are those of metaphysics itself. The limits of the reason provided by metaphysics itself raises the following question, latent in all the foregoing: It is a commonplace to say that all critique of philosophy is philosophy. Yet is the critique of metaphysics metaphysical or non-metaphysical philosophy? If it were the second, there would be a critique of metaphysics that could be scientific. Yet to me it seems that, although the critique of metaphysics may not be metaphysical, nor is it exactly scientific. The establishment of the place of the man in the cosmos, the recognition of the limits of its insolubility, the recognition of the limits of human reason, might well be one of the antimonies defined in number 15. E) The definability of objects is also a complicated question. Definitions by genus and difference could not exist except in a reality comprised of individuals in species and genera. The historical, human reality for some time seemed to me not to have such a constitution. More examination brought me to other conclusions. To the degree that they are thinkable, all reality is of an eidetic constitution, whether in itself or by means of thought, because the latter cannot occur except through universal and individual concepts; but not all these concepts or their objects are equally inter- subjective or subjective. These ideas of some of those relative to the abstract and concrete objects to which we alluded in number 8. Thus, it is possible to define philosophy by genus and difference yet in subjective definitions. EPILOGUE BY GUILLERMO HURTADO I In his Professional confessions José Gaos classified his Mexican disciples into three generations. The first he called that of the historians, for having favored the study of the history of ideas in Mexico. The second was that of the Hyperions, who turned to the study of existentialism and formulated the philosophy project of the Mexicans. And the third, that of the so-called Hegelians, for having taken a long course from Gaos about Hegel's Logic. In different periods of the decade of the Fifties Emilio Uranga, Luis Villoro, Ricardo Guerra (the three Hyperions) and Alejandro Rossi (Hegelian) engaged in studies in French and German universities, yet for the beginning of 1958 all of them were already returned to Mexico and worked as professors in the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Taking advantage of that coincidence--and at the solicitude of Francisco Larroyo, at the time director of the Faculty-- Gaos, Guerra, Rossi, Uranga, and Villoro gathered in a research seminar during the first semester of 1958. This seminar occupies a very important place in the history of Mexican philosophy of the 20th century. As we shall see, it was there that the pathways of Gaos and his disciples bifurcated, and where the philosophical routes that each one of them would take in later years began to gestate. Well known is the interest that Gaos took in the thesis--defended, among others, by Nietzsche--that philosophy is nothing more than the persona confession of the philosophers. In 1958 Gaos published his Professional confessions in which he develops and defends that idea. We can suppose that the appearance of that book was determinative that the theme chosen for the seminar that year would be that of the philosophic vocation. This theme was, for Gaos, of central importance, since he considered that a psychology of the philosophic vocation was a fundamental part of a philosophy of philosophy. Gaos thought--he had already written about it since his arrival in Mexico--that the philosophic vocation was nourished by arrogance. By this, Gaos not only understands the attitude of one who feels more intelligent, superior, but the Luciferian sentiment of being at the height of God, of being able to understand everything with proper means. Yet the sad destiny of the youth who, invaded by this Luciferian pride, decides to deliver their life to philosophy is, in general, that of ending as a "poor devil," as a professor of philosophy. As opposed to Gaos, who thought that the subject of the philosophic vocation was a central theme of philosophy, the remaining members of the seminar did not award it major importance. Every one of the members of the seminar drafted an essay on the subject, later writing commentaries upon the other works and, lastly, Gaos performed a summary. The plan of Gaos was to gather all the writings into a joint book, yet the project was not completed and the mimeographed texts remained in Gaos' archive until they were re-united for this volume. It seems that the decision not to publish the texts in 1958 was the correct one: the differences of opinion were very great and the personal frictions most evident. Yet a half a century later the mistake would have been to leave them unpublished; the publication of the work of the seminar on the philosophic vocation permits us to know a fundamental episode in the history of Mexican philosophy of the 20th century. The subject of vocation did not generate great theoretical interest among the ex-students of Gaos. Guerra and Rossi considered the theme to be strictly philosophical; Uranga went further and affirmed that autobiography cannot be philosophical and philosophy cannot be autobiographical; and Villoro held that personal motivations are not philosophical, though he conceded that the question of how we can justify ourselves before philosophy has meaning. Gaos collected and annotated the opinions of his students, but he did not vary his position in the slightest. It gives the impression that nothing which they might have said would have caused him to change his opinion one iota. Ultimately, that opinion was already blindered in advance against any type of objection. The only disciple of Gaos who made an effort to take the theme in hand was Uranga. In his exquisite essay "Episodes of a life in philosophy" he narrates how he was introduced to philosophy by a beautiful woman, whose name he does not give and who, at times, seems more an allegory than a real personage. Uranga states that for him philosophy was, at the beginning, a subject of conversation, a salon activity and likewise, was a mundane task, not only in the sense of being a social practice, but also in the more metaphysical sense of being attached to the things of the world. "Episodes of a life in philosophy" was not well received by the remaining members of the seminar. Rossi said that regarding Uranga's essay one could only lament not having been introduced to philosophy by a beautiful woman indeed instead of a dry and bad-humored Jesuit. For his part, Villoro says that in that essay Uranga "plays" at speaking of philosophy and that Uranga has the most estimable qualities for being a good player: intelligence and a festive tone. Of all the seminarians, Uranga is the most critical of the work of the others: of Guerra he says that his discourse resembles that of a Rotarian, of Villoro he says that he speaks with much assurance of what philosophy is not without making the effort of telling us what it is. The impression that remains upon reading the commentaries of the participants in the seminar is that the clash of personalities did not facilitate the dialogue among Gaos' alumni. Yet beyond that conflict of egos, one might say that the type of philosophical dialogue in which arguments are given and received and in which the presenter might concede some theses to the opponent were something foreign to the philosophical environment of Gaos. For him, as we shall see, philosophy is something which, in the final analysis, is done in solitude, not together with others. Philosophy, in his opinion, is not a communitarian practice, like the sciences are, but instead, like literature, is the expression of its author. Gaos taught his students many things, but not to discuss philosophy because in the last analysis he did not believe in the possibility of philosophical dialogue. His classes, as has been recorded, were monologues. And later, when he held seminars with his old disciples, it was hard for him to accept the objections and new ideas. Decades would have to pass before the model of a seminar would be installed where the professors and students debate without hierarchies and shortcuts about a philosophical theme. II The following year the seminar in modern philosophy would gather again, but on that occasion the discussion centered around the essay by Husserl, Philosophy as a strict science. In this essay Husserl maintains that for philosophy to be scientific in a rigorous manner the philosopher should sacrifice her desire to attain to wisdom during the lapse of her individual life and conform, as the scientist does, to participating within a collective enterprise of long duration, in which her contribution will be added to that of other colleagues, past, present and future, who work in the same field. Thus, philosophy also cannot offer a Weltanschaung, a conception of the world that provides answers to the questions of humanity. The texts of the 1959 seminar appeared in the first issue of the Philosophy yearbook of the Faculty of Philosophy. The yearbook carries the date of 1961 yet in reality it appeared, with the slowness characteristic of university publications, in 1963. In the dossier published in that Yearbook Rossi and Uranga gave their thesis of Husserl that philosophy should be scientific, and clarified that they did not think phenomenology was the method to attain such science. For their part, Gaos, Guerra and Villoro displayed reservations about the arguments and conclusions of the German philosopher. For philosophy to attain the rank of science, Rossi says, it should forget about the personal preoccupations of the philosopher. The philosopher should avoid falling into the temptation to put a personal seal on her labor. Towards the end of his collaboration, Rossi connects the Husserlian conception of philosophy as science with the Wittgensteinian conception of philosophy as therapy, which gives us an index of what began to be his interests. In their collaboration Uranga also subscribes to Husserl's position that he will later repeat in his book Who is philosophy for? in which he maintained that philosophy is not for the philosopher, but instead is anonymous; that it is not a resource for personal expression, but instead of expansion in which the personality of the philosophy is lost. Uranga also asserts that from a scientific conception of philosophy, its history cannot have a foundational character, but instead should be better seen as a task for philologists. In their respective essays, Gaos and Guerra question the pretension of Husserl in founding the new scientific philosophy in the initial zero of phenomenology. Guerra finds a certain ahistorical ingenuity in Husserl's proposal. For his part, Gaos concedes the remote possibility that one might create a universal and objective philosophical science within the lifetime of humanity, yet he clarifies that it cannot be confused with the new "scientific philosophy," which consists not in a new method for traditional philosophy, but in its condemnation. Lastly, Villoro insists--swimming against the current--that philosophy should try to combine the aspirations of science with those of wisdom, though he recognizes that that endeavor can turn out to be impossible to realize. The texts from this seminar illustrate the growing distance between the conception of philosophy of Gaos and that of his disciples. In his Literary cunning, Uranga recounts that Gaos did not feel pleased with the routes that his disciples had taken. In 1959 the only thing they had in common was admiration for Husserl, yet even on this terrain each one followed different roads. Rossi studied the Logical investigations, Uranga Experience and judgment and Villoro translated the Formal and transcendental logic. Philosophy in Mexico would have been very different if Gaos and his disciples had kept systematically studying Husserl's work. Additionally if they had not left the orbit of German philosophy, it is probable that a little later they would have encountered Gadamer's work and taken the hermeneutic turn. Nevertheless, Uranga and Rossi in 1959 had already discovered the philosophies of Russell, Wittgenstein, the Vienna Circle, and the analysis of ordinary language. Uranga recounts: The growing influence that Ludwig Wittgenstein exercised over me...was the ever more powerful motive for disagreements with Gaos and of having to tolerate the fury with which he mocked my affections for the Viennese. I remember that in one of the seminar sessions I translated the famous passage about games that is in Philosophical investigations. Rossi told me later, one night eating at the Bavaria, of the sarcasm with which Gaos judged these pages. It was also Rossi who spoke the clever words: "After all, Uranga, learning German served us for something: to be able to read Ludwig Wittgenstein." III The following year, in 1960, Gaos delivered a course of 44 lectures that he would later publish in 1962 in the form of a book with the title On philosophy. The course was attended by Emilio Uranga, Alejandro Rossi and Luis Villoro, and to those three the first part of the book is dedicated. The work is dense and disordered, including a phenomenology of verbal expression, a phenomenology of reason and a phenomenology of the categories. Nevertheless, towards the end of the book these theories crumble and flow into the old thesis of Gaos that all philosophy is a personal confession. In that course of 1960, Gaos committed a dramatic philosophic harakiri in front of his students, who furthermore did not accompany him on his ritual suicide and remained as spectators. Gaos knew very well that his conception of philosophy was rejected by his disciples and that it was correct for that to be so. The words that he directs to them at the end of the course are noteworthy. Gaos says: The philosophy of the philosophy of the course has concluded that all philosophy is a subjective set - or valid only for its subject, or its author. Consequently--strictly for myself, I cannot propose the course to you, nor to anyone, as valid for you, or for anyone--I can do no more that consider it an exposition of my "perspective" which cannot be shared by anyone except to the extent they are identical to me myself. Accordingly, I do not await your assent, but instead your just dissent... Thus do not you exert yourselves in assenting to it - bring me the contrary... With which, what else are you going to make, my poor and good friends and enemies. Therefore at root there is no philosophical dialogue - philosophically, at root, there can only be a monologue in solitude. It is not my fault, nor in the end the remedy mine--impossible-- if this reduces to absurdity the congresses of philosophy and the very teaching of philosophy. This conception of philosophy is tragic, above all coming from Gaos. A man like him who had dedicated his entire life to teaching philosophy, to translating it, to creating it, concluding by accepting that all which he had done had no more value than it might have for him in his solitude. All philosophies are worth the same because all the personal lives are worth the same. Some may be less or more systematic, less or more rigorous, less or more imaginative, yet in the end all the philosophies are measured with the same life standard for everyone, that is worth no more than another, dedicated to other matters. Yet if this is already hard, the second conclusion, that the philosophical dialogue is a farce and, likewise, that the classes and the conferences are absurd is even more pathetic. We have here a professor who dedicated a whole course to discuss philosophical themes as complex as the phenomenology of verbal expression, the classification of existents or the nature of negation, and who concludes his course confessing to his students that all he said can only be valid for him and that they have been but spectators to a monologue without reply. How could his disciples accept this conclusion? Despite everything that has been said concerning the unquestionable importance of Gaos' school teaching, we cannot ignore that there was a certain sterility in his seed. Of the three principal pupils in the 1960 course, Uranga, Rossi and Villoro, the first two quit philosophy. With the ascent to power of Adolfo López Mateos in December of 1958, Uranga became an organic intellectual of the government. From the magazine Siempre! Uranga attacks the university left who saw the Cuban Revolution as the model to follow. Uranga's critiques of the intellectuals of the left become ever more virulent and conclude by discrediting him in the university circles where before he had been admired. Towards 1962 Uranga stops imparting classes in the Faculty of Philosophy so as to fully engage in his political and journalistic activities. From then on Uranga had entered upon a tragic spiral of personal decadence in which he would remain trapped until the end of his days. Uranga had everything necessary to have been the greatest Mexican philosopher of his century. Why was he not? To respond to this question one would have to write a profound biography of Uranga. Around 1960 Rossi converted fully to analytic philosophy. He undergoes a brief course of studies at Oxford and upon his return gives classes on the philosophy of language. Together with Fernando Salmerón, Rossi orients the Institute of Philosophic Research at the UNAM towards analytic philosophy and forms a group of young researchers within this school. However, during the first half of the decade of the Seventies Rossi moves away from academic philosophy to dedicate himself to letters and to serve as consigliere in high intellectual and political circles. As he himself related in his opening address at The National College, his interest was in the filigrees of language, in the play of logic and in the details of the great theatre of the world. Despite being an extraordinarily gifted philosopher, his vocation was not philosophical; he understood that in time and managed to make a difficult turn in his intellectual life which, in the end, was successful. Villoro is the only one who continued practicing philosophy in a brilliant and rotund manner. One could say that in the origin of Villoro's philosophical vocation she will find one of the characteristic traits underlined by Gaos: arrogance before God. In response to a religious education that preached obedience and faith, Villoro sought in his autonomous reason the answers to the great questions of the human being. However, Villoro combines this self- sufficiency of reason with a consciousness of its limits. This is why in some of his writings he has recognized the existence of a domain unreachable by human reason which demands respect and even veneration. But there is in Villoro's personality another arrogance of philosophers: that which is manifested against the earthly power, against its arbitrariness and baseness. In the opening address to The National College, Villoro asserted that philosophy should never be in the service of power. But this just pride against tyrannical power is transformed into humility before power understood as service to others. In The power and the valor, Villoro finds in the organizational forms of the Mexican indigenous peoples a way of commanding by obeying. IV It does seem that if philosophy was for Gaos personal confession, his own philosophy, including his philosophy of philosophy, should be read in this "key." Put otherwise, one would have to decode from his philosophical writings an expression of his personality. The script for this interpretation of his philosophical works will be found in his Professional confessions. However, someone might suggest that the only thing we might find in that book is the version which Gaos wished to give us about himself and about his philosophy. Is José Gaos perhaps in infallible and incorrigible authority about himself, about what his true motivations were for becoming a philosopher or for defending his peculiar philosophy of philosophy? A reading of his diaries and of his notebooks might help us to find the missing elements to complete the picture, yet it is not easy knowing how to intersperse those private papers with the philosophic writings destined for the public. All that now remains for us is the character "José Gaos" described by José Gaos in his public and private writings. Only those who personally knew Gaos could have performed this task of biographical reinterpretation of his philosophic work. Rossi and Uranga--the two rebel disciples--wrote separate essays in which they proposed interpretations of their philosophical labor in a biographical key. The text by Rossi "An image of José Gaos" offers an acute and critical testimony of how Gaos was as a professor and as a thinker, but it does not venture to trace a deep connection between the manner in which Gaos conceived and practiced philosophy and the root of his personality. It was Uranga who dared to carry this task to completion. Upon the demise of Gaos, in 1969, Uranga becomes his old teacher in the personage of a narration that oscillates vaguely between the testimonial and the fictitious. Uranga, the most brilliant of the disciples, is the one charged with performing the necroscopy and write the epitaph for the master. In "José Gaos: personality and confession" Uranga maintains that the gigantic philosophic work of Gaos was not the creation of a man who lived for philosophy, who would give himself to her with enthusiasm; no, it was the work of a disenchanted man who saw his philosophical work like the fulfillment of a duty, like that of a peasant who arises every day to hoe the field of the boss or that of the worker who completes her hours in a factory. More than a meditatio mortis, philosophy for Gaos was a sort of funerary work. In his classes, Gaos surveyed the history of philosophy, from Tales to Heidegger, like the watchman of a cemetery who passes amongst the tombs telling anecdotes about the defunct. Uranga asserts that Gaos was not only a being into mortality but also was a being who lived half dead. Gaos' work, gathered in the thick volumes of his Complete works, will be like El Escorial: a huge structure yet lifeless; a mausoleum that Gaos constructed for himself over decades. One could say that "José Gaos: personality and confession" was the last work that Uranga wrote for the seminar on vocation and philosophy of 1958, only that when they edited it, Gaos was already several meters underground and the Faculty hall where the seminar had gathered was occupied by strangers. Unforgettable are the words, sweet and bitter, with which Uranga ends that essay. He says this: The most memorable tongue-twister by Gaos would doubtless be that of not saying "exiled" but instead "banished." Just as Philip the Handsome was paraded by Joanna in Spain, so was Gaos by America, with its own craziness aboard, with his coffin beside him, or within. When at the funeral I remained alone with him, half an hour before being "banished" ...I sat down, or rather threw myself at the feet of his gray and imperial coffin, and amidst the pain and submission, I found myself rocking as in a familiar environment. Later, lifting the hatch of his tube for metaphysical diving, I contemplated his face not disfigured by mortality, and I said to myself: "Everything has occurred in the way it was expected to." GUILLERMO HURTADO image