By Jorge J. E. Gracia, Mireya Camurati
Booklet by way of Gracia, Jorge J. E.
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In 1983 the Bahian anthropologist, Vivaldo da Costa Lima, established in Salvador the Centro de Documentação do Pensamento Brasileiro, featuring a library of books, periodicals, and archival materials pertaining to Brazilian philosophy and Brazilian anthropology, and an ambitious publication agenda, including cumulative indices of journals, exhaustive bibliographies, and bibliographic essays. In 1979 the Universidade Gama Filho in Rio de Janeiro hired the philosophers who had lost their positions at PUCRio over a question of censorship of textbooks, and initiated a successful program of graduate studies in Brazilian thought that has been producing both master's theses and doctoral dissertations of real value for the understanding of Brazilian intellectual history.
Not an original solution, one might add. Quite a few Brazilian philosophers—even though still looking to Europe and North America—are decidedly thinking by themselves and about themselves. There appear regularly translations into Portuguese of not only the classical works of Western philosophy, but contemporary works as well, along with original works by Brazilian authors across the entire range of philosophy from mathematical logic to the history of philosophy, from aesthetics to the philosophy of science.
During the Porfiriato, from the 1880s on, Spencerian positivism and evolutionism grew in popularity and stifled differing views, but by the first decade of the twentieth century, new currents had surfaced, some markedly antipositivistic, and people began to discuss idealism, vitalism, pragmatism, something of Krausism, and various movements nowadays subsumed under socialism. The amount and quality of their philosophic output made them the most influential writers of the 1970s and the 1980s. Stemming from Caso and Ramos, and influenced by Gaos, it has had its bestknown exponent in Zea,20 whose enormous production ranges from the study of positivism in Mexico21 to that of formulating a philosophy of history22 and of identity, not just Mexican but Latin American (Latinoamérica en la encrucijada de la historia).