Tuesday, July 16, 2019

On Historical Reason






"…Man alienated from himself encounters himself as reality, as history. And, for the first time, he sees himself compelled to occupy himself with his past, not from curiosity nor in order to find normative examples, but because he has no other thing. Things are never done seriously but when, truly, they are absolutely necessary. For this reason, the present hour is the time for history to re-establish itself as historical reason.



Until now history has been contrary to reason. In Greece the two terms “reason” and “history” were opposed. And until now, in effect, hardly anyone has been concerned to search in history for its rational substance…. Hence the expression “historical reason” must be understood in all the rigor of the term. Not an extra-historical reason which appears to fulfill itself in history but, literally, a substantive reason constituted by what has happened to man, the revelation of reality transcending man's theories and which is himself, the self underlying his theories


José Ortega y Gasset
(Obras, VI: 49–50)

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