Aranguren, José Luis López

Aranguren, José Luis López
b. 1909, Avila; d. 1996, Madrid
   Philosopher and essayist
   Aranguren is the first prominent Catholic intellectual of the early decades of the Franco regime to encourage a more tolerant and receptive attitude to modern thought. Unlike other wellknown liberal Catholics of the period, Aranguren wrote critical treatises and essays on figures considered dangerous by the official guardians of Spanish culture. His studies of Luther, Kierkegaard and Unamuno in Catolicismo y protestantismo como formas de existencia (Catholicism and Protestantism as Ways of Life) show an independence of mind uncommon for that time. During the 1950s and 1960s, Aranguren stressed the need for Spanish Catholics to abandon their hostility to secular thought, enter a dialogue with Protestants, atheists and Marxists, and encouraged the authorities to restore democratic institutions. In 1965, after taking part in student demonstrations in favour of the liberalization of academic life, he was removed from his Chair of Ethics at the University of Madrid, and was only reinstated on Franco's death. Aranguren's main contribution to Spanish thought is a treatise on ethics entitled Ética (1958), which at the time of publication was the only book on moral science written in a rigorous, non-apologetic and contemporary philosophical language. Eschewing any notion of a normative ethics or Kant's categorical imperative, he holds that humankind is moral by virtue of an ineluctable need to interact with others. This will to coexist accrues in human beings an ethos, or character. Ethics is therefore a structure of coexistence, which is the ground and content of morality (in all its diverse forms). To accept morality as structure is to recognize that all human activity is essentially moral and that disciplines devoted to the study of human relations contain explicitly or implicitly ethical problems. Aranguren expanded his ethic of coexistence into a series of essays on human communication in an era of mass media and consumer economy.
   One of the distinctive marks of Aranguren's intellectual temper is an appropriation of the English empirical tradition, the school of ordinary language analysis and varieties of neopositivism.
   He also maintained a sustained dialogue with Marxism—of which El marxismo como moral (Marxism as a Moral System) is an example— and with the younger generation of scholars and intellectuals of all political persuasions. In sum, Aranguren was a Catholic intellectual trained in the philosophy of Aristotle and Aquinas, but equally at home with Marx, Russell and Talcott Parsons. He was admired as a fearless social critic for whom the role of the intellectual consisted in the happy marriage of theory and praxis. He was awarded the National Prize for Literature in 1989, and the Prince of Asturias Prize for Communication and Humanities in 1995.
   Further reading
   - Aranguren, J.L. (1969) Human Communication, New York: McGraw-Hill (a summary of his main ideas on the basic ethical problems of human communication).
   - Mermall, T. (1976) The Rhetoric of Humanism: Spanish Culture after Ortega y Gasset, New York: Bilingual Press (places Aranguren's thought in the context of post-Civil War culture).

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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  • Aranguren, José Luis López — ► (1909 96) Filósofo y ensayista español contemporáneo. Catedrático de Ética de la Universidad de Madrid, fue desposeído de su cátedra por el gobierno franquista. En su obra ha tratado de conciliar el cristianismo con posturas progresistas en la… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • José Luis López Aranguren — Jiménez (Ávila, España, 9 de junio de 1909 Madrid, España, 17 de abril de 1996). Fue uno de los filósofos y ensayistas más influyentes en la sociedad española de su época. En su trabajo filosófico, como escritor y profesor de ética en la… …   Wikipedia Español

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