Los Aztecas

Aside from our project, I’m supposed to be writing a review of Maffie’s Aztec Philosophy. But here was an interesting cross-reference that I thought was worth sharing and thinking more about:

In Ramos’s Historia de la filosofia en México, Ramos quotes Vasconcelos in response to the doubt that the Aztecs did philosophy, or if they did, how we could excavate that philosophy in the absence of positive documents. In response to the first doubt, Vasconcelos says:

“Dondequiera que ha habido arquitectura ha existido también filosofía. En el reino de las Bellas Artes, la arquitectura corresponde al momento de los sistemas en el desarrollar del pensamiento. Y no se llega a construir con gracia y ligereza, con majestad y armonía, mientras no se conquista en lo espiritual, el orden armónico y sólido de una doctrina filosófica coherente y comprensiva.” [Roughly: “Wherever there has been architecture there has also existed philosophy. In the realm of fine arts, architecture corresponds to systematicity in the development of thought. It is not possible to build with grace and lightness, with majesty and harmony, if one has not conquered in the realm of the spiritual, the consistent and harmonious order of a coherent and comprehensive philosophical doctrine.”]

So Ramos suggests one potential method for discerning or inferring pre-conquest Mexican philosophy: by drawing the parallel with its architecture:

¿Cómo pensaba–diremos nosotros–y cómo se representaba el universo el pueblo que construyó pirámides, templos y monumentos tan admirables como los de los toltecas y los mayas?” [“We will say, ‘How did the people who built such admirable pyramids, temples, and monuments, like those of Toltecs and Maya, think and represent the universe?'”]

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