Continental Philosophy Review

, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 441–461 | Cite as

Heidegger in Mexico: Emilio Uranga’s ontological hermeneutics



“Exiled” Spanish philosopher José Gaos was the first to translate, in its entirety, Martin Heidegger’s Sein und Zeit. Emilio Uranga, a student of Gaos in Mexico City (exiled since 1938), appropriates Heidegger’s ontological hermeneutics in an effort to expose the historico-existential structures making up “lo mexicano,” or Mexicanness. Uranga’s Análisis del ser del mexicano (1952) freely and creatively employs the methods of existential analysis, suggesting that the being-there of the Mexican being is ontologically “insufficient” and “accidental”—modes of being reflected in existential expressions of sentimentality, indifference, and angst particular to this form of life. As a work indebted to Heidegger’s Sein und Zeit, Analysis of the Being of the Mexican fails to be faithful to this method. This, however, is the source of its value. The purpose of this paper is two-fold: one, to introduce the Anglo–American philosophical readership to Uranga’s existential phenomenology; and, two, to disentangle the lines of thought that make up Uranga’s Análisis and in the process defend Uranga from the possible charge that he ignorantly misappropriates Heidegger’s method.


Mexican philosophy Heidegger Existential phenomenology 


  1. Dominguez Michael, Christopher. 1996. ¿El Existencialismo fue un relajo? Tinta Seca 25: 7–10.Google Scholar
  2. Faber, Sebastián. 2000. Exile and cultural hegemony: Spanish intellectuals in Mexico, 1939–1975. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Gadamer, Hans-Georg. 1989. Hermeneutics as practical philosophy. In After philosophy: End or transformation?, eds. Kenneth Baynes, James Bohman, and Thomas McCarthy. Cambridge: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  4. Gaos, Jose. 1951. Introducción al Ser y el Tiempo de Martin Heidegger. México, DF: Fondo de Cultura Económica.Google Scholar
  5. Heidegger, Martin. 1951. El Ser y El Tiempo, traducción de José Gaos. México: Fondo de Cultura Económica.Google Scholar
  6. Heidegger, Martin. 1962. Being and time. Translated by John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  7. Hurtado, Guillermo. 2006a. El Hiperión. México, DF: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.Google Scholar
  8. Hurtado, Guillermo. 2006b. Two models of latin American philosophy. Journal of Speculative Philosophy 20(3): 204–213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Marx, Karl. 1977. Selected Writings, ed. David McLellan. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Nietzsche, Friedrich. 1980. On the advantages and disadvantages of history for life. Translated by Peter Preuss. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  11. Oliver, Amy. 1993. Values in modern Mexican thought. The Journal of Value Inquiry 37: 215–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ortega y Gasset, José. 2000. Meditations on Quixote. Translation by Evelyn Rugg and Diego Marin. Urbana and Chicago, Ill: University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
  13. Phelan, John Leddy. 1956. México y lo Mexicano. The hispanic American historical review 36(3): 309–318.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Portilla, Jorge. 1966. Fenomenologia del Relajo. México, DF: Ediciones Era, S.A.Google Scholar
  15. Quesada, Francisco Miro. 1974. Despertar y proyecto del filosofar latinoamericano. México, DF: Fondo de Cultural Económica.Google Scholar
  16. Ramos, Samuel. 1982. El Perfil del Hombre y Cultura en México. México, DF: Espasa Calpe Mexicana.Google Scholar
  17. Romanell, Patrick. 1953. The making of the Mexican mind. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.Google Scholar
  18. Sáenz, Mario. 1999. Latin American historicism and the phenomenology of Leopoldo Zea. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  19. Sanchez, Carlos Alberto. 2007. The phenomenology of Jorge Portilla: Relajo, Gelassenheit, and liberation. Newsletter on Hispanic/Latino Issues in Philosophy 6(2): 1–7.Google Scholar
  20. Sartre, Jean-Paul. 1968. Search for a method. Trans. Hazel Barnes. New York: Alfred A Knopf, Inc.Google Scholar
  21. Uranga, Emilio. 1949. El Existencialismo en México. El Nacional, July 24.Google Scholar
  22. Uranga, Emilio. 1951. El Heidegger de Gaos. Mexico en la Cultura, April 29.Google Scholar
  23. Uranga, Emilio. 1990. Análisis del ser mexicano. Guanajuato, Gto.: Gobierno del estado de Guanajuato. First edition published in 1952.Google Scholar
  24. Villegas, Abelardo. 1993. El Pensamiento Mexicano del Siglo XX. México: Fondo de Cultura Económica.Google Scholar
  25. Villegas, Abelardo. 1979. La filosofía de lo mexicano. México: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.Google Scholar
  26. Wimer, Javier. 2005. La muerte de un filósofo. Revista de la Universidad de México 17: 27–33.Google Scholar
  27. Weinstein, Michael A. 1976. The polarity of Mexican thought: Instrumentalism and finalism. University Park, PA: The Penn State University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Xirau, Ramón. 1952. Review of Jose Gaos, Introduccion a El Ser y El Tiempo de Martin Heidegger & El Ser y El Tiempo. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 13(2): 272–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Zea, Leopoldo. 1943. El Positivismo en México. México, DF: El Colegio de México.Google Scholar
  30. Zea, Leopoldo. 1952. La filosofía como compromiso y otros ensayos. México, DF: Fondo de Cultura Económica.Google Scholar
  31. Zea, Leopoldo. 1992. The role of the Americas in history. Trans. Sonja Karsen. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.Google Scholar
  32. Zirión Quijano, Antonio. 2004. Historia de la Fenomenologia en México. Morelia: Editorial Jitanjáfora.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.San Jose State UniversitySan JoseUSA

Personalised recommendations