Boomtown Philosophers

Why is it that America has noticed the "Boom" in Latin American fiction but has ignored Latin American philosophy? One obvious reason lies in the unavailability of translated texts. While novelists have energetically and strategically combined efforts to publish translations of their works in the United States, nothing of the sort has happened in Latin American philosophy. This anthology, part of a Frontiers of Philosophy series, is the first to appear in English in more than 30 years.

The task was challenging. Material that might have been included is abundant, diverse, uneven in quality, and often scattered in periodicals difficult to locate. The editor has selected from the writings of 14 thinkers from five countries. To achieve a certain unity, he has focused on three fundamental topics of particular concern to Latin American philosophers: man, values, and the search for philosophical identity. The selections for the first two parts were made in collaboration with Risieri Frondizi, one of the writers represented in the book.

The major trends in contemporary Latin American philosophy emerged in reaction to positivism. The philosophy of Auguste Comte had been welcomed in Latin America as a corrective to the prevailing scholasticism. It seemed to offer empirical rigor and an assurance of progress in place of archaic dogmatism and fruitless theorizing. In Mexico, Comte's slogan, "Order and Progress,"...

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