Decisive historical changes do not come from great wars, terrible cataclysms, or ingenious inventions: it is enough that the heart of man incline its sensitive crown to one side or the other of the horizon, toward optimism or toward pessimism, toward heroism or toward utility, toward combat or toward peace.
José Ortega y Gasset
Decisive Historical Changes
Topic: Justice, Vision, & Leadership
“Decisive historical changes do not come from great wars, terrible cataclysms, or ingenious inventions: it is enough that the heart of man incline its sensitive crown to one side or the other of the horizon, toward optimism or toward pessimism, toward heroism or toward utility, toward combat or toward peace.”
José Ortega y Gasset (9 May 1883 – 18 October 1955) was a Spanish philosopher, and essayist. He worked during the first half of the 20th century, while Spain oscillated between monarchy, republicanism, and dictatorship. His philosophy has been characterized as a "philosophy of life" that "comprised a long-hidden beginning in a pragmatist metaphysics inspired by William James, and with a general method from a realist phenomenology imitating Edmund Husserl, which served both his proto-existentialism (prior to Martin Heidegger's) and his realist historicism, which has been compared to both Wilhelm Dilthey and Benedetto Croce."
Weintraub, Karl J. Visions of Culture. University of Chicago Press, 1969, [José Ortega y Gasset (Quoted in Karl J. Weintraub, Visions of Culture].
José Ortega y Gasset
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José Ortega y Gasset (1883–1955) was a prolific and distinguished philosopher of Spain in the twentieth century. In the course of his career as philosopher, social theorist, essayist, cultural and aesthetic critic, educator, politician and editor of the influential journal, Revista de Occidente, he has written on a broad range of themes and issues….
Critical philosophy of history thus refers to the position that characterizes the world we know and in which we act as a product of human activity and mind. Accordingly, Ortega represented the “modern” reflective thinker who approached history from philosophy, and whose theories of history as a source of human knowledge have epitomized the tendency to connect concepts of historical temporality and mind. He challenged positivistic approaches to history and contributed an important aspect to the modern concept of history: the tenet that there is a connectedness and a meaning in human history which emanates from a principle of continuity inherent in individual human lives.
–José Ortega y Gasset [The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy – Website]