Reflections on the Bourgeoisie Culture: Jose Ortega y Gasset's Ethics

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The ethics of Ortega y Gasset is described in the historiography as an imperative of his philosophical idea on human vocation. Ortega’s ethics is being analyzed as part of his philosophy of life or in other words as a part of his concepts such as human destiny, happiness and vocation. The contention of this article is that Ortega’s ethics can be better understood together with the reflections he had in regard to the Bourgeoisie culture. Emphasizing the importance of the moral characteristics of the individual is meant to counterweigh what Ortega conceived as the bourgeoisie morality. The attention of Ortega was given to what he conceived as the necessity to acknowledge the importance of the qualities of human characteristics. He criticized the way in which modern culture depreciated the importance of the value of individual characteristics and maintained that money economy led to the historical decline of the ideal of noble distinction. Ortega believed that the decline of the historical ideal of noble distinction was caused by the fact that the possession of money became the final goal for human life. The quantitative criterion of money culture outweighed the qualitative criterion of assessment of the individual characteristics. In the 20th century culture, making money became the central goal (faena central) of human life. Ortega argued that too much attention to money possession overshadowed the moral imperative to improve one’s interior virtues (virtudes interiores). Following this line of interpretation of money culture as it was presented by Ortega can enable us to reconsider his ethics, his alternatives to the Bourgeoisie culture and also the way he evaluated the ethical theories of his time.
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Archival date: 2016-01-21
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