The Concept of Society according to José Ortega y Gasset

Dorota Leszczyna

The purpose of this article is to present the concept of society as developed by the Spanish philosopher and essayist José Ortega y Gasset. We will show the evolution of this concept, beginning with the first stage of Ortega’s philosophy, in which he was influenced by the idealistic socialism of the Marburg school, then showing his vitalist liberalism resulting from phenomenology and finally his mature concept of ratio-vitalism, dominated by the problem of crisis caused by the emergence of the „Mass-Man” and the problem of united Europe, understood as the only way to save the Western culture and civilization. We will also try to interpret his definition of the society as a dynamic relationship between outstanding minorities and vulgar masses, showing how Ortega understood the role of these groups in society and mutual relations that should link them. We will also analyze Ortega’s stance towards liberal democracy and his project of united Europe understood as society and community of uses.

63-07-Leszczyna

Keywords: Ortega y Gasset · society · liberalism · democracy · masses · minorities · Europa · union · civilization · culture · life

Dorota Leszczyna – Ph.D., D.Sc., philosopher, political scientist, assistant professor in the Department of Modern Philosophy at the University of Wroclaw. Research interests: the nineteenth and twentieth-century Spanish philosophy, modern and contemporary German philosophy, Polish philosophy in nineteenth and twentieth century.   »  

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