In Progress: “Uranga’s Phenomenological Appropriations”


Emilio Uranga’s (1921-1988) phenomenological method is informed by confrontations with Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, and the French phenomenological tradition. With it, Uranga seeks to grasp the “essence” of Mexican life, or, more accurately, to capture Mexican life in its ontological givenness. He accomplishes this through something like an “eidetic reduction” to the sphere of givenness, a sphere that in Uranga is limited to that which is most proximal to his own (Mexican) experience. 

In what follows I look at Uranga’s phenomenological method. Calling it a “phenomenological method,” however, hints at a comparative analysis. This is not the case, since at no point does the Mexican philosopher seek to assimilate (in an imitative way) his thought to that of his European predecessors; the aim of his philosophizing is clearly appropriation for the sake of transformation, which means that those obvious influences will be muted and, at times, unrecognizable. This is done on purpose, moreover, as an anti-colonial gesture, that is, an attempt to capture Mexican existence independent of Eurocentric concepts (in spite of the obvious origins of his philosophical instrumentation). His is an attempt, he says in Analysis of Mexican Being (1952), to go “move away from” [81] the “arrogant substantiality” [21] and “entrenched prejudices” [49] of European philosophy. 

Consequently, what follows does not mean to show the extent of Husserl’s, Heidegger’s, or Merleau-Ponty’s influence on Uranga. This would defeat Uranga’s anti-colonial tendencies. My aim is, primarily, to highlight Uranga’s appropriation of the phenomenological method in the project of identifying the “essence” of the Mexican experience. Moreover, my focus is restricted to Uranga’s initial appropriations, not to his later work. Thus, I limit my analysis only to his “Notas para un estudio del mexicano” (1951).

First Section: Method in “Notas” (forthcoming)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s