Cover for ORTEGA Y GASSET: The Origin of Philosophy

The Origin of Philosophy

An immensely readable translation of one of Spainís most highly-regarded 20th Century authors and thinkers, delves elegantly into the nature of philosophy itself

This concise, elegant essay on the roots and historical justification of philosophy marks a decisive step in posing the problem of what philosophy is. With consummate clarity and the charisma that distinguished him as a lecturer, Josť Ortega y Gasset re-creates "that moment when Parmenides began talking about something exceptionally strange, which he called Ďbeing.'" How and why, he asks, did such a surprising adventure come about?

Considering the human qualities that prompt a curiosity about existence and eternity, Ortega examines philosophy's etymology, its connection to poetry, and its differentiation from religion and other modes of thought. He lucidly delineates radical differences of doctrine and style among early Greek thinkers, especially the "madman of reason" Parmenides and the "absolute individual" Heraclitus. He also considers philosophy's fundamental task of revealing the latent world poised behind the manifest world and discovering the relations between them.

"Unable to find lodging among the philosophies of the past," Ortega observes, "we have no choice but to attempt to construct one of our own." The Origin of Philosophy argues for the vital importance of philosophy as a human endeavor, even while noting that each generation of thought reveals the past as "a defunct world of errors."

Jose Ortega y Gasset (1883-1955) was an author, editor, professor, and member of the parliament of the Spanish Republic. His books include The Revolt of the Masses, Man and Crisis, and What Is Philosophy?

To order online:

To order by phone:
(800) 621-2736 (USA/Canada)
(773) 702-7000 (International)

Related Titles

previous book next book
Journal of Animal Ethics

Edited by Andrew Linzey and Priscilla N. Cohn

The Test Drive

Avital Ronell


Avital Ronell

Treatise on Love of God

Miguel de Unamuno

Diary of a Philosophy Student

Volume 1, 1926-27

Simone de Beauvoir

Public Affairs Quarterly

Edited by Robert B. Talisse


Grievance among Friends

Avital Ronell

Feminist Writings

Simone de Beauvoir Edited by Margaret A. Simons and Marybeth Timmermann

Philosophical Writings

Simone de Beauvoir

The Pluralist

Edited by Roger Ward

Blind Date

Sex and Philosophy

Anne Dufourmantelle

Fighting Theory

Avital Ronell, in conversation with Anne Dufourmantelle

Last Works

Moses Mendelssohn

The Freedom of the Migrant

Objections to Nationalism

Vilém Flusser

History of Philosophy Quarterly

Edited by Jeffrey Tlumak

Loser Sons

Politics and Authority

Avital Ronell