Jose Ortega y Gasset (1883-1955), the most widely known and well liked of Spanish philosophers, was much admired in the United States from the 1930s through the 1960s for Revolt of the Masses, History as a System, and Dehumanization of Art, among other works. Those popular works, however, poorly reflected the complexity of Ortega's philosophy. In this first historical analysis of all the parts of Ortega's total thought, John Graham explores the extent to which Ortega's metaphysics was built not only on a native Spanish realism but also upon the pragmatism of William James. Graham details the extent to which Ortega developed an existentialsim before Martin Heidegger and a new historicism less absolute than Benedetto Croce's, by means of a phenomenological method-all within a comprehensive philosophy of life similar to Wilhelm Dilthey's, but more realist and social. In addition, an extensive bibliographical essay examines how Ortega's philosophy, as a whole and in each part, has stood in the estimation of critics worldwide from the 1920s to the present.
Over ten years in preparation, A Pragmatist Philosophy of Life in Ortega y Gasset reveals how open, adaptable, and inventive was pragmatism as Ortega elaborated its philosophical implications and applications for Spain, Europe, and the Americas. It is based on extensive use of the twelve volumes of Ortega's Obras completas, the eighty microfilm reels of his archive in the Library of Congress, and his private library of fifteen hundred volumes in Madrid. These sources, many of which have not been available previously, provide the essential evidence needed to demonstrate the novelty and subtlety, the diversity and unity, of Ortega's thematic "system" of thought.
Students and scholars of intellectual history, Spanish literature, and philosophy will welcome this important new study.