INTRODUCTION TO THE ORGANIZED COMMUNITY:
“Then, a universal philosophy does not exist, because there is no universal solution to the issues that inherently constitute it. Every country, every time, every philosopher had its particular philosophy, which has been more or less successful or has more or less lasted, because every country, every time, and every school of thought has provided different solutions to the problems of the human spirit. The philosophy of all times and of every country has often been the most dominant and most general reason, principle or feeling that has governed the acts of its life and conduct. And that reason has arisen from the most compelling needs of each period and each country”.
Zea, Leopoldo: La filosofía americana como filosofía sin más, Siglo XXI, México, 1975.
 Alberdi, Juan Bautista: Ideas para un curso de filosofía contemporánea, en Zea, Leopoldo: Fuentes de la cultura latinoamericana, Tierra Firme, FCE, México, 1995.
 Perón, Juan Domingo: La Comunidad Organizada, Instituto Nacional “Juan Domingo Perón”, Bs.As., 2006.
 Zea, Leopoldo: Alberdi, Juan Bautista: Ideas para un curso de filosofía contemporánea en Zea, Leopoldo (compilador): Fuentes de la cultura latinoamericana, Tierra Firme, FCE, México, 1995.
 Vasconcelos, José: La filosofía como vocación y servicio, en Actas del Primer Congreso Nacional de Filosofía, Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, Bs.As, 1950.
 Zea, Leopoldo: Op.cit.
 Bolívar, Simón: Carta de Jamaica en Zea, Leopoldo (comp.): Fuentes de la cultura latinoamericana, Tierra Firme, FCE, México, 1995.
Zea, Leopoldo: Op.cit.
 Perón, Juan Domingo: Op.cit.
Vasconcelos, José: La filosofía de la coordinación, en Actas del primer congreso nacional de filosofía, Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, Bs.As, 1950.
 Vasconcelos, José: La filosofía como vocación y servicio, en Actas del primer congreso Nacional de Filosofía, Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, Bs.As, 1950.
According to Hegel, philosophy always comes late. In a famous passage in the Preface to his book Fundamental Guidelines of the Philosophy of Right, he argues, “Only one more word concerning the desire to teach what the world ought to be, philosophy at least always comes too late.”
“Philosophy, as the thought of the world, does not emerge until reality has completed its formative process, and made itself ready (...). When philosophy paints its grey in grey, then one form of life has become old, and by means of grey it cannot be rejuvenated: Minerva’s owl takes its flight only at the break of dusk, that is, at nightfall”.
Despite the great influence of Hegeleanism on Benedetto Croce, as early as 1930, the Neapolitan philosopher differentiated himself from traditional philosophers by proposing the dissolution of the concept of philosophy as a closed, pedantic and abstruse system. He asserted that, “Philosophy must solve those problems that the historical process presented while unfolding itself (…). Therefore, philosophical thought is not conceived as a development — from one thought to another — but as a thought of historical reality”.
In his Philosophy of Praxis, Adolfo Sánchez Vázquez maintains that the history of theory “(of human knowledge as a whole) and of praxis (of the practical activities of man) are abstractions of a single and true history: human history”.
However, the determination of practice or reality over theory, or practice as the end of theory, does not imply its permanent posterity, as there is an ideal anticipation of theory of what does not yet exist, but we want it to exist. Practice determines theory as an end and it is for this reason that there must be awareness of the need.
Thus, on the one hand, practice determines the theory because it poses problems and demands solutions, and, on the other hand, because it imposes the desired end on the theory.
When explaining the use of the Greek term praxis, which means “the action to carry out something,” Sánchez Vázquez maintains that it refers to an action that has its end in itself, while the action that engenders an object that is external to the subject and his actions is called póiesis, as production or fabrication. Since the connotations of “practice” refer to something utilitarian and “poetry” in ordinary language does not denote practice as action, the word praxis was chosen to denote practical activity.
However, nowadays the “philosophy of praxis” is generally understood as that which arose from the so-called “left Hegelianism,” specifically stemming from the “Theses on Feuerbach,” in The German Ideology, which rejects the possibility of knowing beyond the practical activity of man, the rest is considered speculative thinking.
The philosophy of praxis states that knowledge is acquired through practical human activity, between man and nature, or man and the world. Practice provides both the object of knowledge and the criterion of truth. However, the fundamental concept against speculative thinking is found in the Eleventh Thesis on Feuerbach, which posits that, “Philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways: the point is to change it”.
In Historical materialism and Benedetto Croce’s Philosophy published in 1948, Antonio Gramsci polemicized with Benedetto Croce for his criticism of the philosophy of praxis and its speculative character. Gramsci maintained that it was necessary to settle accounts with Croce’s philosophy”.
However, according to both authors, every man is a philosopher and philosophical thought is not conceived as the development of one thought to another, but as a thought of historical reality.
Beyond his criticism, Gramsci appreciates the fact that having taken the inverse path to the philosophy of praxis, Croce retranslated “the acquisitions of the philosophy of praxis into the speculative language”. However, he considers that there are still traces of transcendence and theology in Croce, although he denied that thought abstractly elicits another thought, by affirming that “the problems that the philosopher must solve are not an abstract relationship with the preceding philosophical thought, but are proposed by the current historical development, and so on”.
Therefore, Gramsci thinks that Croce’s philosophy is “highly well-regarded” for its retranslation of the realistic historicism of the philosophy of praxis into the speculative language, and, then, it could be a premise to renew the philosophy of praxis that emerged as a translation of Hegelianism into the historicist language.
He concludes that the instrumental value of Benedetto Croce’s philosophy lies in having drawn attention to “the importance of the facts of culture and thought in the development of history, on the role played by the great intellectuals in the organic life of civil society and the State, on the moment of hegemony and consent as the necessary form of the concrete historical bloc”.
Croce, en realidad iba más allá y sostenía en “Cultura e vita morale” que siempre “merced a la historia, la filosofía se aúna con la práctica, o sea con los problemas que la vida presenta y que debemos resolver con nuestra acción” (...) Cada individuo y cada pueblo debe recorrer su propio camino, movido por las condiciones de hecho en las cuales se encuentra y que son el resultado de la historia”.
For a philosophical awakening in Italy, Croce believes that philosophy should keep up with the times, that is, it must show the ability to master and solve all the problems that until now the human spirit has proposed itself and master and solve them better than any other system in the past”.
Synthesizing Gramsci’s thought, the philosophy of praxis implies the equality or equation between “philosophy and politics,” between thought and action. “Everything is political, including philosophy or philosophies, and the only philosophy is history in action, that is, life itself”.
Gramsci’s analysis of Benedetto Croce’s thought and his relationship with historical materialism was also an object of study in Latin America during the first half of the 20th century.
At that time, in Latin America the link between philosophy and history was established, and philosophy was postulated not as a corollary but as a preamble to action. Philosophy was proposed not as an “abstract, closed and abstruse system, but as an instrument for transforming society and defining its morphology. We can mention Mexican figures such as Antonio Caso, José Vasconcelos, Justo Sierra, the Peruvian José Carlos Mariátegui, Augusto Salazar Bondy, the Uruguayan José Enrique Rodó, among so many Latin American thinkers who sought to find original pathways for our nations.
For that reason we believe, as Gramsci did, that, “The philosophy of a specific time is not the philosophy of a particular philosopher, a group of intellectuals or special sector of the popular masses: it is a combination of all these elements, which culminates in a certain direction and this culmination becomes the norm of collective action, that is, it becomes concrete and absolute (comprehensive) 'history'”.
In Perón’s philosophy, the elements of the general administration of the country are ordered as follows: “Centralized Government, Decentralized State, Free People and, all of them together, Government, State and People, constitute the organized community”.
Perón argues that the Justicialist Doctrine has its roots in the “philosophy of governmental action, which is neither absolute abstention as in individualism nor total intervention as in collectivism, but rather assuming leadership of the social, economic and political actions of the People”.
According to Perón, the differences between the positions of collectivism and individualism is that each of these positions has a philosophy of action that is different from that of the other, as it is the philosophy of action that confers “a democratic character on a monarchy or a totalitarian character on a republic”.
Perón explains that the philosophy of action of individualism is purely liberal; therefore, the Government must refrain from intervening in the social, economic and political activities of the People, thus bringing about political anarchy, capitalism in the national and international economic field and the exploitation of man by man in the social field.
Moreover, collectivism, whose philosophy of action is anti-liberal, understands that the Government must assume a leading role in all political, economic and social activities. That philosophy brought about political dictatorships, economic interventionism and the exploitation of man by the State in the social field.
Justicialism as a philosophy of action implies “a system of social freedom in the political sphere; social economy in the economic sphere, and man and People’s dignity in the social sphere”.
In Peron's view, Government is a “government of leadership.” And assuming a leading role is a difficult art that involves a specific philosophy of action, since like all art it is universal and indivisible and implies implementation. It can be perfected; its doctrine, theory and technique may be known, but the rest is pure action.
Leadership demands that through a unity of conception (arising from a doctrine, a theory and different forms of implementing actions) a unity of action be implemented through persuasion, sponsorship and promotion of the People, and not through coercion.
He adds that there can be a Doctrine and theory without a plan or different implementation forms, but there cannot be a plan without doctrine and theory. In accordance with the Peronist Doctrine, the immutable aims of the organized community are “the happiness of the People and the greatness of the Nation”; hence, the second Five-Year Plan has a doctrine, a theory and different forms of implementing the tasks that arise therefrom.
 Hegel, Guillermo Federico.: Principios de la Filosofía del Derecho, Sudamericana, Bs.As., 1975.
 Gramsci, Antonio: El materialismo histórico y la filosofía de Benedetto Croce, Nueva Visión, Bs.As., 1984.
 Sánchez Vázquez: Filosofía de la praxis, Grijalbo, México, 1967.
 Marx, Carlos y Engels, Federico: La ideología alemana, Pueblos Unidos y Grijalbo, Barcelona, 1970.
 Gramsci, Antonio: Op.cit.
 Croce, Benedetto: Cultura e vita morale, Laterza, Bari, 1926.
 Perón, Juan Domingo: Presentación del Segundo Plan Quinquenal.
Since the origins of philosophy, many thinkers have tried to shape society, ideally seeking the morphology that was closest to their ideals.
Plato imagined his “Republic” with its “Laws”, St. Augustine described “The city of God,” Campanella thought “The City of the Sun,” Bacon envisaged “The New Atlantis” and the so-called utopists devised different social forms in which the essential values were human freedom and equality.
However, most of them — given the fact that they did not rule — did not think of providing a topos or place to their utopias. They located their fantastic “non-places” in a “nonexistent place” in an ideal space. For that reason, their utopias did not have political value.
In Latin America, on the contrary, the original thinkers and philosophers had and wanted to make this dream come true in their land, well aware that it was a society in progress. And many of them were philosopher rulers or philosopher kings — as Plato wanted — in order to be able to govern and build their ideal Republic. This gave sense and historical political value to their “utopias.”
They knew that they had to shape their desires: to build a Homeland, a Nation in which the social good, freedom and equity prevailed. They had to establish their own regulations and their specific axiology. And in order to advance from theory to action, they recognized the value of politics as a transforming tool to put their ideas into practice.
In the first fifty years of the 20th century, there used to be a bipolar world with two opposing models to solve the equation between freedom and justice. According to Perón, it was necessary to look for a society that could achieve harmony. He agreed with Aristotle on the fact that when man is deprived of his supreme rank and his high aims are ignored, sacrifice is always for the benefit of petrified higher entities”. It is within this instance that the Third Position is defined.
In his paper “The organized community,” Perón also recovers Aristotle’s thought when he says, “Man is to be in an ordered social coexistence; the supreme good is therefore not achieved in individual human life, but within the superindividual State entity; Ethics culminates in politics”. Perón concludes by saying that the Greek world lacked the transcendence of individual values. In his view, the recognition of freedom as a universal possibility was the contribution of Christianity to the Greek conception.
He then maintains that, in order to preach and implement a gospel of justice and progress, it is necessary to underpin its verification on individual improvement as a premise of collective improvement.
The problem of the democratic thought of the future lies, according to him, in “deciding to include the community in its landscape, without distracting attention from the supreme values of the individuals; accentuating their spiritual essences, but with hopes placed on the common good”.
On the contrary, the deification of the State proposed by the Hegelian thought and his successors and interpreters results in the necessary “insectification” of the individual. Individualities cannot be abdicated in favor of external powers for achieving social realization. For that reason, Perón believed that both idealism and materialism conclude with the obliteration of man and his progressive disappearance against the external apparatus of progress, the Faustic State and the mechanized community.
A community politically organized through laws will provide the ethical standard. However, for the inner domain of one’s personality, there is only one standard: education, which affirms a moral attitude within us.
For the “philosopher ruler,” Plato’s theory of reciprocal integration between man and the community to which he belongs is fundamental, just as the supreme virtue is justice, good is order, harmony and proportion.
Gramsci criticizes Croce for his conception that politics was “the expression of passion” when for Gramsci “there can be no passion without antagonism, and, antagonism among groups of men, because in the struggle between man and nature, passion is called “science” and not “politics.”
However, according to Croce, the term “passion” is a pseudonym for social struggle. In turn, when he speaks of the intellectual’s error, he believes that such error consists in believing that one can know without understanding and especially without feeling and being impassioned (not only for knowledge in itself, but also for the object of knowledge). In other words, the intellectual may be absolutely pedantic if separated from the people-nation, that is, without feeling the elementary passions of the people, or understanding them and therefore explaining and justifying them due to a particular historical situation; connecting them dialectically to the laws of history and to a superior conception of the world. He concludes by saying that, “No politics-history can exist without this passion, without this sentimental connection between intellectuals and people-nation. In the absence of such a connection, the relationship between intellectuals and people-nation is, or comes down to, purely bureaucratic and formal relationships; the intellectuals become a caste or a priesthood…”
In Argentina, as early as 1842, Juan Bautista Alberdi asked himself, “What do people worldwide do when they philosophize? They observe, imagine and conceive, reason, infer, reach conclusions. In this sense, then, there is only one philosophy. Philosophy is characterized by the local and immediate nature of the problems that especially matter to a nation, to which it provides solutions. Thus, the philosophy of a nation provides solutions to the problems that are a matter of interest for the ultimate destiny of the nation. Hence our philosophy involves a number of solutions to the issues of national concern: either the general reason for our progress and improvements, the reason for our civilization; or the explanation of the laws, by which the development of our nation must be conducted; the laws whereby we must reach our goal, that is, our civilization, because civilization is nothing but the development of our nature; in other words, the fulfillment of our purpose… Thus, freedom, equality, association are the great pillars of our moral philosophy”.
Other Latin American thinkers and philosopher rulers who conceived how to forge an independent Nation, with their own societal model, with their own proposal to solve the equation between freedom and equality, have been pejoratively described as “populists” or “fascists” by some Gramsci’s followers or by liberal thought, for having passionately approached the people-nation and made a proposal arising from their own reality. In this way, sociological and political categories coming from other parts of the world and including the problems arising from their own reality were used as criticism, contradicting both the historical materialism and historicist realism.
We still share the thought expressed by Peruvian thinker Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre with regard to what he calls “Indo-America” and, considering that the Old World is an unavoidable starting point, he says, “Conveying to the meaning of Homeland a new value that is inseparable from the continental sense, it is important to emphasize two concepts that are fundamental in politics and whose practical application define the strength and continuation of a State: social justice and individual freedom.
Europe has provided many formulas of realization and affirmation for these statements that are driving desires of history. However, the most significant aspect of the “new political language” of Indo-America will be to demonstrate that our peoples can find their own principles of justice and freedom out of and against the European canons”.
The originality of Perón’s proposal in The Organized Community lies precisely in the creation of that “new political language” and that proposal of the equation between social justice and individual freedom that he implemented during his terms in office. This proposal, which involved the so-called Third Position, was also germinal at a time when nations were aligned and in conflict in a bipolar world.
 Haya de la Torre, Víctor Raúl: El lenguaje político de Indoamérica en Zea, Leopoldo: Fuentes de la Cultura Latinoamericana, Tierra Firme, FCE, México, 1995.
We all know that wars always break out due to economic interests. Belligerency is not only about armament. Wars may be media-based or assisted by the judiciary. Contemporary attackers do not wear masks, but conquerors and settlers from the old times — be it Spanish, English, French, Dutch or Portuguese —, did not wear them either. They forged empires and came to the Americas to plunder gold and silver, enslave inhabitants or bring African slaves to our continent to force them to plow the soil, which was seized by them and from which they took all the produce to their countries.
Now, with globalization or globocolonization, as coined by Frei Betto, the new market theology is officially established. Trading black gold for glass beads is still sought, so as to keep on plundering and destroying every civilization that does not align with the financial savage capitalism. The already known Europeans are now driven by the North American empire.
Barbarian was the ancient word used to describe foreigners, but in our latitudes, many embraced that word to denigrate rebellious natives that opposed the entry of plunderers who wanted to impose the prevailing western civilization.
Peoples and civilization that do not agree with the western capitalist position and that have oil — that is to say, the black gold — may be assaulted and delegitimated. They maintain that they are peoples that seek autonomy and sovereignty, that do not accept the recipes of the International Monetary Fund, which has the word of the Market as a new God. According to Frei Betto, it is not economy that is globalized, but it is the world that is economized. Peoples, their cultures, their religions should submit themselves to their new destiny, become indebted and then pay out their debts.
Said ambition is again legitimated by the learned power accompanying barbarian missions to discuss sovereignty, possessions, authority, rights, rewards and punishments to be imposed on those who do not profess said beliefs.
To a powerful person, “country risk” does not mean the risk for some people to suffer severe hardship, but the number that does not content the globocolonizing Market. To avoid this, peoples should tighten their belts, governments should reduce wages, leave millions of people unemployed in order to increase the power of the Market, reducing or disregarding social organizations and institutions created for the public good as well as the acquired social rights.
The universalization of concepts that came from other histories constitutes another “assault to reason,” the latter being the assault to historical and human reason by the instrumental technical capitalist and imperial reason. Regrettably, instrumental reason, capitalism objective laws that are aimed at greater benefits for some individuals, have nothing to do with the human sphere and, needless to say, with human rights.
Statistics measure everything except life. That technical reason, both legalized and positivized, starts to confront the social legitimacy that is quasi-legal (which entails not only legality but the distributive justice for the well-being of the polis as developed by Aristotle) when in conflict with human values, and positioning itself in a supremacy status, imposing its superiority and delegitimating the political will of Latin American peoples to achieve the common good. Thus public policies are criminalized, using pseudo-legal gimmicks to bring down or to ban governments, to delegitimate or to imprison those who dare to break the rules set by the International Monetary Fund.
When Alan Wolfe analyzes the limits of legitimacy of contemporary capitalism, he maintains that, “Immediate battles will take place with respect to the type of option that the State can handle... and the common people will have much more to say on the political future of the belated capitalism than the ruling elites”.
According to Alan Wolfe, the attack targeted at the most democratic point is cutting back or advocating for smaller government expenditure in social programs when “what is at stake is not an abstract concept called 'expense' or 'policy', but real needs of real people” when such needs should be preserved and expanded. Democratic dreams are a human need and the alluded author wonders what the condition of those dreams in the belated capitalism is, and whether the pressure of the bottom-of-the pyramid people will be capable of neutralizing authoritative inclinations of the ruling classes so as to wait for the future with joy instead of fear...
Defending and giving reasons for a social-democratic perspective and the welfare state, Alan Wolfe maintains that in a recessionary period “we can find all the reasons why it would be reasonable to expand instead of narrowing public higher education...” Finally, he further states that, “most people seem to have forgotten that the State owes them a decent life, with all the social services that they are entitled to claim,” and since they have forgotten this, the first step is a strategy aimed at overcoming the demoralization that has been lost.
Those who teach, as I do, follow the recommendation of historian Herder, who said, “Do not despair within the stir of your time. Despite all threats and obstacles, do not forget to educate. Educate so much the better, with the greatest certainty, with the greatest energy, educate for all the situations, taking into account all the extreme miseries in which one may be immersed, for the storms to come. In no way should you remain inactive. You have to educate; you have to do it either well or badly”.
Perón's proposal constituted a prologue within Argentina's history. We, both the present-day generations and those to come, will have to commit ourselves to keep on doing history, thinking and taking actions to construct and protect our Common House so as to build a fair, free and sovereign Homeland. That will be our best and true tribute.
 Herder, J. G. (2007). Filosofía de la historia para la educación de la Humanidad. Sevilla: Espuela de Plata.
The concept of panlogism that comes from the Greek πἀν (pan), everything, and λὁγος (logos), reason, was coined for the first time by philosopher Johann Eduard Erdmann (1805-1892) to define the Hegelian philosophy that maintains the presence of rationality in all aspects of real life, where the real is rational, giving sense and justifying the most tragic aspects of human existence, and in our view, closing the historical dialectics when the absolute Spirit is eventually objectivized in the Prussian State. According to Erdmann, in Hegel's thought, the negative, the tragic in life is always solved in the positivity of the rational synthesis that denies denial and that achieves a higher good. The Hegelian principle that the rational is real and the real is rational overcomes the lack of understanding of the irrational aspects of human existence. However, the real is not identified with what exists, with what is peculiar or contingent in human existence. He does not refer to individuals' passions or feelings but to the institutions and, basically, the State.
In addition, we can track the origins of historicism back in the 18th century in Europe, both in Giambattista Vico (1668-1744) and in Johann Gottfried Herder (1744-1803) and its ensuing echo in the 20th century in the works by Benedetto Croce (1866-1952).
Refuting panlogism and its logos-based conception of reality, Herder maintained that “every nation has its center of happiness within itself, as every ball has its center of gravity [...].Whoever has so far undertaken to trace the progression of the centuries usually brings along a favorite idea: progression towards greater collective virtue and happiness of individual human beings. Toward this end, then, one has exaggerated or fabricated facts, diminished or passed over contrary facts in silence; entire pages have been covered, words taken for acts, enlightenment for happiness, several and more refined ideas for virtue and thus one has produced novels about the generally progressing improvement of the world, novels that nobody believed in, or at least not the true students of history and of the human heart”.
On the other hand, according to this philosopher of history “everywhere mankind's practical intelligence was shaped under the influence of the needs of the way of life, but it is always a flower of the genius of the people, born out of traditions and customs”.
Criticizing Voltaire and his encyclopedism, Herder ironically comments on culture universalization, and what all human beings from all the continents would owe to Europe for having contributed trade and the papacy. In this sense, Herder wonders, “Where are European colonies not settled and where will they settle? Everywhere savages are included in our conversations. Everywhere they approach our civilization, mainly looking for rough liquor and opulence, and soon they will become, God permitting, men like us, good, strong, happy men [...]. 'Our trading system.' Is it possible to imagine anything better than the finely elaborated encyclopedic science? How miserable the Spartans were when using their helots for agriculture; how uncivilized the Romans were when putting their slaves in underground prisons! In Europe, slavery was abolished because it was estimated that slaves were more costly and were less profitable than free people. We afforded ourselves only one thing: to use three continents like slaves, trade them, send them to work in silver mines and sugar cane plantations. But they are not European or Christian and, instead, we receive silver and precious stones, spices, sugar and a secret disease, as a result of trade and on behalf of the mutual brotherhood and the community of Nations. 'A trading system.' The reason why that organization is big and exclusive is obvious. Three devastated continents which are organized by us; we are depopulated and enervated by them; sunken in voluptuousness, exploitation and death; this is called to act with prodigality and happiness”.
Based on his belief in Providence, he imagines another future, and argues that, “The more means and instruments we Europeans invent to subjugate you, the other parts of the world, to deceive you and loot you, perhaps one day you may finally win. We tie the chains that you will drag us along with; the inverted pyramids of our constitutions are going to be erected on your land and you with us.”
Herder strongly criticizes Eurocentrism and maintains that man is a child of his own time: “He is a child of the fortune that made him be born in a region in particular, and also determined his capacity of joy, his class and the scope of his joys and sufferings according to the country, the period, the organization and the circumstances. It would be a ridiculous vanity to think that the inhabitants in all the continents should be European to lead a happy life. Would it have been possible for ourselves to be what we are outside Europe?”.
The conclusion would be an absurdity for the philosopher, maintaining that men of all the continents that lived thousands of years would not have actually lived “by just fertilizing the soil with ashes so that at the end of times your posterity finds salvation thanks to the blessings of the European culture”.
A critic of wars, government forms and the artificial State and the role it has for men, the author concludes that so far no one could “justify in any way how a man may, by birth, be vested with the right to dominate thousands of his fellows, or why he may dominate them at will, without a prior contract and with no restrictions, how he may deliver thousands of corpses without any liability and make use of the State treasures without having to account for it and thus levying the heaviest taxes precisely on the poor”.
Croce maintained that “the current accusation is non-sense when it claims that historicism leads people to worship the accomplished event and quietism, when resorting to spiritual need, therefore justifying the past, because such stimulus is, nonetheless, a stimulus of the action, and the past so conceived was never accomplished or steady, since it is always moving and changing, and it may not be severed from our present, which is also restless and does not rely on solutions; on the contrary, it is active in putting forward problems which will become new solutions”.
According to Isaiah Berlin (1909-1997), Giambattista Vico was the father of the “modern concept of culture and what may be called cultural pluralism”. He highlights that this Neapolitan philosopher was the one that understood that each culture has its own scale of values that keep on moving with time, but never completely, since generations always understand prior views. He differentiates historicism from Spencerian relativism enclosed in itself, or encapsulated or isolated individuals incapable of understanding other cultures. According to Vico, if what is human has some kind of meaning, there should be something in common that helps understand other cultures, with imagination and effort. According to Berlin, Vico's method is the same as that of the modern social anthropologists trying to understand the “imaginative elaborations” of other peoples and periods without rejecting them for being barbarian or irrational.
Vico is not interested in individual experiences but in societies. In this sense, in Scienza Nuova he suggests using fantasy to imaginatively enter and understand the collective self-awareness of different periods and peoples, deciphering and grasping their cultural history. This perspective, in Berlin's view, is “essential for conceiving historical knowledge”.
Benedetto Croce had clarified that, “Historicism realized that the problems of philosophy do not submit hierarchically to one of them, and cannot be defined numerically, they respond to logical demands of the human mind. They are unending and infinite, because they are always presented as new and individualized from the impulse of history, which offers the particular matter to each thinker”.
Croce then explains the equation between philosophy and historicism, and maintains that a new educational program emerges therefrom, “Both for the historian and for the philosopher: for the historian, from whom it is expected that he should always integrate history into philosophy in the best way possible, and that he should establish where the historiographic problem is actually presented and where the problem is just erudition and philology instead, and that he should make more vigorous, enriching and conscious concepts embraced when interpreting and constructing history; for the philosopher, that he should take as much possession as possible of the reality unfolding before him or that confuses him around, all this reality being history in itself, by placing himself in relation and in exchange with this aspect of the spirit, rather than any other aspect, without forgetting that the natural or naturalized sciences are an abstract and practical elaboration of history, directed and disciplined by mathematics. Only a different kind of the spirit has the right to be close to history and philosophy, and it is not physics and maths, but art and poetry, the fantasy that opens up the road to a synthetic alliance of thought; in which the old saying states that history is close to poetry, and is the crux of poetics around it”.
When comparing the Philosophy of Hegelian history with the proposed historicism, he further explains, “And when at the end of the seventeenth century and the beginning of the eighteenth century a great philosopher endowed with a historic original ingenuity, Hegel, understood that philosophy and history should be combined, and contributed the dialectic thought, that union failed, because Hegel unified philosophy, not with historiography, but with the a priori construction, which was named “Philosophy of History,” extended by him from political and moral history, and also to history of art and from history of philosophy itself; and his historicism and that of other German idealists and followers involved a historicity with a pre-established design, a mythology with philosophical and historical features.”
“On the other hand, Vico's historicism had been frank in its original nature which did not admit that sort of mythology combining philology and philosophy, and unified both of them, supporting each other, but Vico did not develop a school of thought, leaving no continuators. Likewise, no consequences were put forward or spread from Kant's a priori synthesis, from which the concept of judgment as historical judgment emerged.”
Historicism has had its justification and theoretical foundation in a new logical theory of judgment, declared historical judgment in its true and unique way, always containing a historical affirmation, even when it is apparently introduced as a definition of conceptual terms, which is always the implied removal of a difficulty, and a difficulty is always linked to a factual situation, and to solve it in the same act entails clarifying and qualifying that situation, and, on qualifying it, it is existentialized”.
In the book What is living and what is dead of the philosophy of Hegel, Croce explains what the tasks of the critics and continuators of the Hegelian doctrine should be. “It would be necessary to preserve the vital part, that is to say, the original conception of the concept, the concrete universal, including the dialectics of the opposites and the doctrine of degrees of reality; to refute, by using and by developing that new concept, any panlogism, and every dialectical construction of the empirical sphere; to recognize the autonomy of the various forms of the spirit, while preserving their necessary connection and unity; and finally, to consolidate the entire philosophy in a pure philosophy of the spirit (which could be called logical-metaphysical philosophy)”
The philosopher also refers to the Essay on the Neapolitan Revolution of 1799 by Vincenzo Cuoco (1770-1823) as one of the first manifestations of Vico's anti-abstract, anti-Enlightenment and anti-historical thought, and of the new historiography rooted in the concept of the organic development of the peoples and the new politics, the politics of national, revolutionary liberalism but moderate at the same time, contradicting the theory of the “enlightened apostles.” Said position is assumed by Cuoco in his Essay, after having been a revolution leader and exiled to Marseille. The characterization of passive revolution that he makes regarding the 1799 events will be later revisited by Gramsci, who supports that, “The concept of 'passive revolution' should be meticulously inferred from the two crucial principles underlying political science: (1) that no social formation disappears while the productive forces that developed inside still find possibilities of ensuing progressive movements; (2) that society does not put forward objectives for which the necessary conditions to achieve a solution have not taken place yet”.
In his essay, Cuoco maintained that, “As to our revolution, being a passive revolution, the only way of leading it to a good end was by gaining people's supporting opinion. However, the views of the patriots, and those of the people were not the same: they had different ideas, different customs and even two different languages. That same admiration for foreigners, which had delayed our culture in times of the monarchy, represented at the beginning of our republic the most significant obstacle to establish freedom. The Neapolitan nation could be considered divided; two groups of people divided by two centuries and by two climate degrees. Given that the educated part of the population had developed on foreign models, its nature was different from that needed by the entire nation, and that could only be expected from the development of our capacities”. That way Vico's historicism was combined with gradualist liberalism and anti-Jacobin approaches.
Therefore, according to Cuoco, the failure of the Jacobin Revolution in Naples, with its highly humanistic and justice goals, was not only the result of the Bourbon kings' reaction and the Church, but also of the opposition of vast popular sectors, peasants and plebeians.
The republicans' mistake was to believe that the revolutionary French ideas and programs could be transferred to or imposed on a different nation in terms of history, customs, religious and political ideals. However, Cuoco further explains that the revolution may have succeeded if it had occurred from within the nation itself. The foreign Constitution differed from the Neapolitan one, was founded on abstract maxims, far away indeed from Neapolitan feelings, laws transmitting traditions, whims and defects of a different group of people.
He maintains that effective reality cannot be ignored, history as a concrete complexity where reality and ideality, reason and feeling, tradition and innovation are all intertwined. His historicism is also reflected in his pedagogical proposal that, though intended to particularly integrate the popular strata into social life and politics, education should not be understood as an imposition of abstract principles and general ideas. Education should be based on people's real needs through a slow and gradual process leading to the awareness of their history and their level of civilization to construct an advanced culture.
Croce argues that as early as the beginning of the 19th century, with philosophical idealism, Vico's works were read and understood, but it was no longer thought that Reason came to interrupt the course of history, but that it was immanent and active in every time of history. Likewise, the new culture modified political practice, which was no longer reforming with the enlightened or powerful monarch, no longer a cosmopolitan republican or constitutional-municipal figure, “with the cult of reason along with the faith in divine Providence or in historical reason.”
In his book about the Neapolitan Revolution, Croce maintains that the countless stories about history of that period could make us think that there is nothing else we can do, if that phrase could be applied to the history in which “the renewed demands, resulting from the experiences of the present, make it necessary to conduct a continuous revision and re-elaboration of the literary constructions of the past”. At that point, Croce once again talks about revisionism combined with historicism.
In his book Theory and History of Historiography, the Italian philosopher explains that history is living, contemporary history, it is an act of thinking; while a chronicle is the past, dead history, it is an act of will. History becomes a dead chronicle when it is no longer thought. In his view, the course of action of philology “without truth and without passion” is what differentiates a philologist from a historian. His erudition may end up being lavish ignorance. He unethically proposes a political world map to such erudition for the sake of “intelligence and not of memory.” Philological history is destroyed by its supporters when they conceive it as having no links to life. “History is, was and will always be the same, a living and contemporary history, which entails the chronic, philological, poetical and practicist ones”.
He concludes that everything in history should be reformed, “and at every moment history strives to become perfect, that is, in its very enrichment and deepening, and there is no history capable of satisfying us, because any construction we make generates new events and new problems, which require new solutions”.
He denies world history, since history constitutes thought and in terms of thought of what is universal, it is particularly determined at all times. The closed systems of philosophy, such as universal history are fantastic cosmological narratives according to Croce. “As history becomes contemporary and as philosophy becomes historical, both the philosophy of history and the causal chains of determinism are eliminated.” He concludes that the philosophy of history is dead in its positivity, in terms of a group of doctrines with all the forms of what is transcendental. There is no philosophy, history, or philosophy of history, but history that is philosophy and philosophy that is history. History is always the work of men as a product of the intellect and the human will, thus refuting the dualism and idealism of Hegel and of Vico, where Providence or the Idea make use of the specific ends and passions of men. True history is the history of the individual as a universal being and of the universal as an individual being.
For a philologist it is impossible to preserve news, documents and monuments because they are countless, and that is why he selects, transcribes, organizes them, and as for the remainder, he destroys it, burns it or sells it by weight. However, there is no logical criterion for such selection because he is acting in the practical sphere and, therefore, such decision is always “driven by practical and scientific needs at a certain time or period,” it is justified in itself and by itself.
However, Croce does not take into account that a historian philologist also has a perspective and his own passions; maybe he is not a “maniac hoarder” or a scientific, unbiased or neutral “collector of antiques.” Therefore, when we think about history, and we try to verify data with documents or news that the philologist had collected, we realize that perhaps the document was burnt, did not deserve to be regarded as a historical fact or was sold by weight due to the philologist’s passions and political perspectives. A philologist is not impervious to them either.
Living historiography, as defined by the philosopher, is an “act of (philosophical) thought related to a practical moral stimulus and involves preparation for an action”. It is here that revisionism combined with historicism becomes necessary, since in the knowledge of the general and dominating passions, of ideologies and policies prevailing in different times of every concrete history, we have precisely witnessed the disappearance of those documents or archives that would have attested to a historical fact, although such verification or testimony would not make it true, since nothing “will prevent a new document or the reading of an old one” from destroying it. The basic rules of historical methodology, as explained by the Neapolitan philosopher, “strongly deny dualism, abstract moralism, and anti-historicism”.
In line with the Neapolitan philosopher, we do not believe in panlogism or rationalism, in abstract universality, in the laws of abstract logic transferred to history as if a scientific neutral history existed, thought and expressed from scientific and objective neutrality that is transcendental to history itself. “Historical thought is then specified and individualized, not generic and abstract, because it is the practical need to which it responds that is specified and individualized, and also specified and individualized is the practical action in which it culminates”, concludes the philosopher.
For that reason, Croce warns us about the misunderstandings that may be found regarding the concept of freedom, one of them being confusing liberalism with economic free trade. He also explains that economic life is matter and proposes different systems such as free trade, protectionism, regulated and rationalized economy, monopoly or economic autarky, but none of them has a moral nature but an economic status, and may be “adopted or rejected by moral will depending on the various historical situations”.
The concept of freedom cannot be confused with the economic system. According to Croce, formal freedom and actual freedom do not exist. Croce thinks that formal freedom, as sought to be differentiated, is a moral principle, the only freedom, whereas the so-called actual freedom is in fact an economic system, in particular “the idealized egalitarian economic system typical of communism.”
On the other hand, freedom as moral conscience regulates justice, but it is a philosophical concept, not a legal one. Still today there is confusion between “liberalism” and “liberism” as Croce defines economic liberalism. In his view, when economic liberalism was given a “social law value,” either naturalized or providential, it stopped being a legitimate economic principle to become an illegitimate ethical theory with “a hedonistic and utilitarian morality by which the good consists in the very satisfaction of desires as such, that is... the satisfaction of the whim of the individual or of society understood as average individuals”.
He concludes that it is possible to support, “with the most sincere and clear liberal consciousness, certain measures and files that abstract economy scholars characterize as socialists, and it will be even lawful to paradoxically talk... about a 'liberal socialism'.
However, this confusion that Croce explains between “liberism” and “liberalism” is still present in Latin American countries, where economic free trade is still identified with philosophical and also political liberalism. This explains why the term “populist” (pejoratively with a demagogic and authoritative sense) is used to refer to those popular democracies elected by the moral will of the people, who, by having the republican virtues with the separation of the three branches of power, seek social justice, economic independence and political sovereignty, and to this end they nationalize their natural resources or decide what protectionist or socialist economic measures to take based on their historical situation (Cardenist or Peronist governments).
A short time ago, the first Latin American Pope, Francis, placed special emphasis on the equivocal character of the term populism.
While in Latin America this term refers to the protagonist role of the people, such as the popular movements, in Europe, due to the citizens' fear of an uncertain future and the crisis of 1930, the term populist is used to refer to Germany in 1933 that was in search of its identity, looking for a leader capable of recovering their identity, but not only did this leader distort it but ended up destroying his people and falling into xenophobia. At the present time, they intend to defend themselves with walls or wire fences to protect their identity. Again panlogism or universal rationalism is used without taking into account the various historical cultures of the different people and turning economic liberalism into a naturalized “social law value” as the only rationality that aims to be a moral parameter; however, it ends up being an illegitimate ethical theory instead.
We agree with Bolivian philosopher René Zavaleta Mercado, who teaches us that there is no universal grammar to explain or to create a social science for all realities, and we cannot either develop a Latin American philosophy that does not emerge from our own reality.
As Kusch (2008) taught us, we know the difference between knowing and thinking. If we want to know is for living and not for mere knowledge. The lack of roots of the cultural thought, as the argentine philosopher said, is that thought has no reality, so that it cannot confess “I believe this”. And in our way of American life, the important issue does not seem to be the no contradiction of logic, but instead, the beliefs and values that give sense to the world, in front of the game of abstractions searching eternal and universal truths. In our symbolic horizon is where we can concrete our existential project to be free. For the philosophy of practice, the problem is critical conscience that demands us to think ¿Why is reality as it is and not otherwise?
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 Croce, Benedetto (1943). Lo vivo y lo muerto de la filosofía de Hegel. Bs. As.: Imán.
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 Cuoco, V. (1820). Saggio storico sulla Rivoluzione di Napoli. Milano: Tipografía Francesco Sonzogno. Archivos de Internet (traducción propia).
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