• UABDivulga

Menéndez Pelayo's contribution to Spanish philosophy

Despite the ideological prejudices that for many years have accompanied the analysis of the work of Marcelino Menéndez Pelayo, this doctoral thesis at the Department of Philosophy of the UAB shows how Menéndez Pelayo's contributions to Spanish philosophy, perhaps because of his stay in Barcelona and the influence of Catalan scholars, must be regarded as far from the extreme tendencies of the time. Thus, Menéndez Pelayo's philosophical work is a notable contribution to the history of Spanish philosophical thought.

In reference to the proposed objective of understanding the Works of Marcelino Menéndez Pelayo, a recently widely known scholar whose work has been progressively relieved of many ideological prejudices, we note that, although his work is referenced as historical and literary, the fact of the matter is that his available work barely scratches the surface of his thought: especially in allusion to his position on philosophy and aesthetics.

Immersed in contemporary Spanish thought, Menéndez Pelayo parts from the way of doing philosophy based on the Hispanic perspective. Moreover, he does not create a disembodied system of life, but manifests throughout his enormous prodigious work where he expresses blatantly through literature and art.

Menendez Pelayo embeds a philosophical awareness that results in a style or way of thinking focusing on very specific events received by the imprint of the Barcelona School. The footprints left by the School’s teachers of Catalan Heritage are evident, such as Martí d'Eixalá, Barba and Manuel Llorens and Mila and Fontanals, who posit a legacy that is manifested in search of the concrete individual and collective consciousness: a mindset that always carries the analysis of the historical elements through the contextualization of events in the study of reality as conditioned by facts.

Thanks to the free spirit of the University of Barcelona, our author avoided the extreme current writing trend such as Krausism and Scholasticism, happily escaping the dogmatic position sensed in both positions. A complement to this training derived from Don Gumersindo Laverde, causing a turning point in the intellectual work of recent professional Don Marcelino.

Menendez Pelayo undergoes no single definition of philosophy. It is important to point out that this is a noble aspiration to achieve a supreme synthesis of diversity with the identical. Following this framework, the special sciences have to find its origin and foundation in the first of all sciences: metaphysics. In accordance with this point of view, the national philosophical traditions such Luism, Lifeism, and Suarism are encouraged with special emphasis in the highlights of criticism and the harmonious spirit of the school.

Finally, in this brief summary, we note some ideas posited by the author, expressed in his generous works about science, philosophy and society. In particular, his body of work related to philosophy, skepticism, criticism, empiricism, eclecticism and scholasticism. Moreover, in relation to strictly the aesthetic field: philosophy and art, he posits an aesthetic disinterestedness, defining beauty as a harmonic and living force. This force portrays the philosophy of art and the autonomy of art in relation to a spiritual and moral artistic intuition which is linked with philosophical insight, permitting to view history and literature also as works of art.

In the strict field of aesthetics, in which we have set in the third chapter, we highlight its valuable input from the works and ideas in the History of the Spanish Heterodox studies and discourses of historical and literary criticism. Moreover, the Spanish Scientific tradition follows a very precise philosophical structure postulating the treatment of aesthetics as mere philosophical thought and historical Ideas.
We understand therefore that , Menéndez Pelayo has made a great contribution to the history of Spanish thought: even though his body of work has yet to address maturely and explicitly this goal as a system. Nevertheless, we affirm that our author has contributed contents, methods, and attitudes to the development of our thinking and for the development of great knowledge in aesthetics.

Fernando Cabrero


"La aportación de Marcelino Menéndez Pelayo a la Filosofía Española", Fernando Cabrero's doctoral thesis presented in the UAB Department of Philosophy on the Febrero 22, 2013.

View low-bandwidth version