Pragmatism in the Americas

By Gregory Fernando Pappas | Go to book overview

TWELVE
LEOPOLDO ZEA, STANLEY CAVELL, AND THE
SEDUCTION OF “AMERICAN” PHILOSOPHY

Carlos Alberto Sanchez

In The Making of the Mexican Mind, Patrick Romanell writes,

The secret imaginative background of American philosophy is, on
the one hand, the tragic sense of life rooted in Latin American
existentialism and, on the other, the epic sense of life rooted in
Anglo-American pragmatism. However distinct these two philos-
ophies of the good life may be … they complement each other
and share a common faith, namely, a humanistic attitude towards
life, together with an heroic conception of man
.1

Romanell is optimistic that the virtues of Latin American existentialism and Anglo-American pragmatism are enough for an adequate reconstruction of an American philosophical tradition. While it is fair to conceive American philosophy, including both the Hispanic and the Anglo tradition, as defending “a humanistic attitude towards life, together with an heroic conception of man,” this conception says little about the uniquely “American” aspects of this philosophy.2 Similarly, referring to Latin American philosophy as “existentialism” or

-185-

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