Meet Spain’s 13 Most Important Philosophers

Throughout history, various Spanish thinkers have created interesting reflections on the world, human beings and reality. We show you a list of the most outstanding.

Meet Spain's 13 Most Important Philosophers

Last update: July 29, 2022

From Antiquity to the present day, various Spanish philosophers have marked the history of thought with their reflections on the world, existence and man. That is why in this article we will pay tribute to these thinkers, presenting a list of the most important philosophers in Spain and their contributions.

Although there are a large number of Spanish philosophers who have had a great influence on thought in general, we have chosen those whose reflections stand out for their depth and complexity. Let’s see who they are.

1. Seneca (4 BC – 65 AD)

Lucio Anneo Séneca, born in Cordoba (Hispania), was one of the greatest exponents of Stoicism and one of the most famous ancient thinkers. His philosophy proposed the domain of the passions by reason and virtue.

He argued that true happiness is achieved in simplicity, leaving material possessions aside. His version of Stoicism became known as seneca and was characterized by its call to respect human freedom, to avoid vice and revenge, and to be kind to others.

2. Averroes (1126 – 1198)

Ibn Rushd, better known as Averroes, He was an Andalusian philosopher of Arab origin. In addition to producing a medical encyclopedia, he wrote commentaries on the work of Aristotle. This is why he was known as “the commentator”.

Also, in his work rebuttal rebuttal, defends the relationship between philosophy and faith, arguing that the two are neither opposed nor separate. On the contrary, they are paths that allow us to reach the only truth.

3. Ramon Lully (1232 – 1316)

He was a philosopher, poet, mystic, theologian and missionary of Majorcan origin, who has written more than 250 books in Catalan, Latin and Arabic. He is also known for his attempt to convert Muslims to Christianity through a series of logical and reasoned steps.

In fact, he tried to build some sort of machine (christened by the author as The last general art oh Arsmagna) who, using logic, would be able to lead us to spiritual truth.

Likewise, He is considered one of the first writers to use a neo-Latin language (Catalan) express philosophical, scientific and technical knowledge. In addition to romantic texts.

Ramón Llull intended to convert Muslims to Christianity through logical reasoning.

4. Juan Luis Vives (theologian) (1493 – 1540)

Another of Spain’s most important philosophers was the Valencian humanist, philosopher and pedagogue Juan Luis Vives, who characterized by his critique of authority, his reform of European education and his concern for those who need it most.

Likewise, he was a precursor of the sciences, insofar as he supported observation, experience and critical thinking as a method of knowledge. Not to mention his reflections on the soul, emotions and learning, which earned him the title of “father of modern psychology”.

5. Baltasar Gracian (1601 – 1658)

He was a Spanish Jesuit and Golden Age writer who cultivated didactic and philosophical prose. . . . Among his works stands out the criticone of the most important novels in Spanish literature, comparable in quality to the Quixote oh Celestine.

His pessimistic thought, corresponding to the Baroque period, expresses the consciousness of a Spain in decline and assumes the world as a deceptive and hostile space, in which truth and virtue are eclipsed by appearance.

He influenced later authors, such as Schopenhauer and Nietzsche. He is considered the precursor of existentialism and postmodernity.

6. Julien Sanz del Rio (1814 – 1869)

He was a philosopher, jurist and pedagogue born in the province of Soria. introduced the krausism In Spain, a pantheistic philosophical current which considers that God contains the universe itself (this is not the universe nor outside of it).

For his part, he proposes liberalism as the best way to regenerate Spain. But to this movement he added a spiritual aspect which he did not possess before.

At the pedagogical level, secular education forbidden and proposes to put the student in direct contact with nature and with any object of knowledge (experimentation).

7. Francisco Giner de los Rios (1839 – 1915)

A pupil of Julián Sanz del Río, this pedagogue, philosopher and essayist born in Ronda (Málaga) followed in his teacher’s footsteps by spreading Krausist ideas in Spain. Also, he founded the Free educational institution (WITH), a private foundation that sought pedagogical regeneration.

This thinker defended that education should not be imposed by a large group, but should be acquired by individuals alone. He advocates an intuitive pedagogywhich presupposed a great proximity between teacher and student, the elimination of evaluations and the organization of excursions and visits.

8. Miguel de Unamuno (1864 – 1936)

Born in Bilbao, he was a writer and philosopher belonging to the generation of ’98, who he cultivated a wide variety of literary genres (novel, essay, theater and poetry). At first, his thought was framed in rationalism and positivism. In addition, the political situation in Spain at his time led him to take an interest in history.

According to him, history can only be analyzed from individual and anonymous accounts; not by important events or by the events of great men (what he would call intrahistory).

Later, at the end of the 19th century, Unamuno abandons positivism and develops a Christian existentialism. He defends that life is tragic because man knows he must die, which is why he is reduced to the condition of a survivor.

Miguel de Unamuno changed his vision from positivism to Christian existentialism.

9. Jose Ortega and Gasset (1883 – 1955)

Another of Spain’s most important philosophers is José Ortega y Gasset, who was one of the greatest exponents of perspectivism and vital reason and historical. According to perspective, the human being perceives reality from a concrete and subjective point of view.

This means that there are many possible perspectives which determine any possible judgment of truth. This implies that there is no way of seeing the world that can be considered definitively true.

For its part, vital reason is a model proposed by the author as an overcoming of pure reason which had prevailed in modern times. If it allowed the advancement of the natural sciences, it did not do so with the human sciences, because it was insufficient to learn about life.

10. Maria Zambrano (1904 – 1991)

Born in Malaga, María Zambrano Alarcon was a philosopher and essayist, whose work focuses on what she calls poetic reason. For this great thinker, philosophy begins with the divine, with the explanation of everyday things through myths. Until someone asksWhat are the things? and from there the philosophical attitude is established.

According to Zambrano, there are two attitudes: the philosophical one, which is created in man when he questions something out of ignorance; and poetry, which is the answer, the calm and in which, once deciphered, we find the meaning of everything.

11. Jose Ferrater Mora (1912 – 1991)

Born in Barcelona, ​​José Ferrater Mora is one of the most important contemporary philosophers. He was the creator of integrationism, a method that seeks to integrate opposing systems of thought (like nature-reason, soul-body, be-must)

Moreover, he focused on ontological questions and his excellent work is remembered: philosophy dictionary, with 4000 double column pages.

José Ferrater Mora created the current of integrationism, with the aim of unifying opposing systems.

12. Gustavo Bueno (1924 – 2016)

Originally from Santo Domingo de la Calzada, Gustavo Bueno is the author of numerous books. His great philosophical contribution was the presentation of a new school of thought called philosophical materialism.

This current defends that only the material exists, denying spiritism and spiritual substances. Thus the existence of the human being is linked only to the material world.

13.Fernando Savater (1947)

One of the most important philosophers in Spain and today. His philosophical thought focuses on ethicswhich led him to reflect on politics and a variety of controversial topics.

It should be noted that his style of writing is informative, since his intention is to nourish the reader with philosophical knowledge, without plunging him into confusion and uncertainty. Ethics for amateurs It is one of his most famous works and the book that confirmed him as one of today’s great Spanish writers.

There are many more

The list of the most important philosophers in Spain is not exhausted with the list presented. Maimonides (1138-1204), Francisco de Vitoria (1483-1546), George Santayana (1863-1952), Eugenio d’Ors (1881-1954) and Julián Marías (1914-2005), among others, are part of this group of thinkers who have marked history.

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