ABSTRACT

Because Latin American cultures were heavily imprinted with Iberian civilization, the philosophy of the region is in large measure derivative from that of Europe. Nevertheless, there are variations, caused by differing factors. First, there remain underlying impulses originating in pre-Colombian values. I shall here say something about the major such cosmologies. More importantly, the race relations in Latin America did create in some areas, especially Mexico, the ambition of creating in modern times a new kind of civilization, distinct from both pre-Colombian patterns and those of the White world. Second, the movements of Liberation in the early part of the nineteenth century likewise stimulated ambitions of difference, while the growth during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries of North American dominance could nurture an antiYanqui and antimaterialistic ideology. Third, the role of the Church and other religious organizations and movements has always been important in the area: for instance, the strand of thinking and of action as Liberation Theology during the latter half of this century has counted for more than its equivalent movements elsewhere. Fourth, to some extent, as in Africa, a lot of discussion has occurred about the identity of Latin American civilization (consequently I shall pay quite of a lot of attention to the worldview known as Arielism, flowing from the book Ariel by the Uruguayan philosopher Rodó, which perhaps gave the most coherent expression to an ‘alternative identity’, that is, alternative to the European and North American identity). Because the Church came rapidly to be in control of higher education in Latin America, naturally philosophy was deeply influenced by the emergent patterns of reformed teaching after the Council of Trent (1545-63). But before we explore this period, we can glance briefly at the Inca and

Aztec worldviews, representing the most fully developed systems encountered in the New World by the Spaniards.