quinta-feira, 12 de maio de 2011

Who I am


My philosophy crosses many areas and this is not coincidental, but intentional. I conceive philosophical activities as plural, diasporic and not subjected to traditional domains, nor particularly concerned in providing "contributions" to them. Each of the addressed areas - ethics, logics - is transformed and redefined in my work regarding pre-defined and conspicuous frameworks of academic philosophical activities.

Ethics is, for example, the domain where I developed some of my first insights about the lack of value of human life, the problematic character of procreation and the moral plausibility of suicide within the scope of a "negative ethics". Ethics is not, in my work, a field for thinking virtue, freedom or evil; it is not a field for consolidating affirmative categories of ethical thought. 

Philosophy of logic is a place where heavy criticism against expansionist use of modern Formal Logic from the part of philosophers was put forward, and, more positively, the construction of a "lexical logic", a basic logic connecting categoremata. More recently, this is the place where a negative approach to argumentation is advanced, with expressive impact on ethical argumentation (about procreation, abortion and suicide). Something very distant from usual philosophy of logics in academies.

Philosophy of language had been an occasion to challenge traditional analytical hegemony in this field and to see European philosophies of language (hermeneutic, analytical, phenomenological) in mutual and destructive conflict, studying the Latin-American impact of this conflict and its own position regarding it. Thinking about Cinema and Philosophy is an exercise of applied philosophy of language concerning images as capable of generating concepts, challenging traditional dichotomies. 

My present work about thinking from Latin America try to place ethical and logical inquiries into the field of battle of political insurgence against Euro-centrism in Latin-American philosophical activities, especially at the universities.


I was born against my will in the city of Cordoba, Argentina, a long, long time ago. I was naturalized Brazilian also against my will, but intellectually I feel myself a no country thinker (perhaps the ideal condition for a philosopher). 

I studied at the University of Cordoba, founded in 1613. Ever since my college years, the many errors in argumentation and the malicious and cynical behavior of human beings deeply bothered me (my uncivilized classmates, my placid teachers, my mediocre family); therefore, it was not by chance that I became interested in logical and ethical matters all along my philosophical life. 

The passion for cinema and literature literally invaded my adolescence and youth, before strict philosophical training. In fact, I never distinguished nitidly my early philosophical reflections - marked by ethical and logical pessimism - from adventures, romances and dramas which I watched on the screen of cinemas in Cordoba or read in the pages of novels and plays. 

Once the dark years of so-called "General Culture" had been overcome, I could finally dedicate myself, in my university years, to what really interested me: the European philosophies of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, informal theories of argumentation and philosophies of existence and life. The great formal logician Andrés Raggio (a kind of Primordial Father who wrote my mind in logical formulae), insensibly led me to analytical philosophy and my existential monsters remained buried for a very long time. 

In the late sixties, I wrote an undergraduate thesis on aesthetics and philosophy of language, defended before three astonished teachers of philosophy and literature. A few years later, in the seventies, I did a doctoral thesis in the same paths, which induced a famous comment from the great Thomist metaphysician Nimio De Anquin (1896-1979): "This young man is too intelligent for being an analytic philosopher".

In the late seventies, I moved to Buenos Aires. There, the SADAF group (Argentine Society for Philosophical Analysis), chaired by Eduardo Rabossi, consolidated me as an analytic philosopher who made fun of Heidegger and Psychoanalysis. In 1979, Brazil adopted me: the Federal University of Santa Maria (Rio Grande do Sul) hired me as a visitor professor to give a course on modal logic in the master degree course. Later I joined the permanent staff of teachers. 

I spent almost a decade in Santa Maria, totally immersed in the spirit of Brazil, far from Argentina but paradoxically not so far from Cordoba. I especially remember of my weekends in Porto Alegre to see hundreds of films banned by the Argentine military dictatorship. Brazil helped me to discover my deeply argentine mode of being, and, at the same time, encouraged me a lot to dig out my old existential torments. 

The eighties marked my discovery of psychoanalysis, existentialism, Nietzsche and Schopenhauer, but I realized that I had no reason to give up my previous logical-analytical studies because of this. Instead, I realized how my thoughts always oscillated between analysis and existence, lexical logical forms and the terrors of human life, as different aspects of the same pessimistic worldview.

It was also in the eighties when I published my first books: Textos de Filosofia subjetiva (Texts on subjective philosophy, 1985), in collaboration with a student named Robson Reis, A Lógica condenada (The supressed logic, 1987) and the Projeto de Ética Negativa (Project for a negative ethics, 1989) Throughout this decade, I made many trips in Brazil, giving lectures and conferences and participating in meetings and symposia. 

In the late eighties and early nineties, I made two crucial trips to Europe (France and Spain), studying with Gilles Granger, an epistemologist who left me comfortable to think against epistemology, and Fernando Savater, a hedonist to whom I tried to show that pleasure does not exist. 

At the end of the eighties, I transferred to the University of Brasilia, and during the nineties, I experienced intense intellectual activity around an ambitious project of logic and argumentation, consisting of two parts, one destructive, another constructive. In 1996 I published Critique of Affirmative Morals, preceded by a sarcastic - but not hedonistic - foreword by Fernando Savater, and in 1999, my book on cinema (Cinema: one hundred years of philosophy), both edited by Gedisa, from Barcelona. In this second book, I tried incestuously to put together my two primary instincts, imagistic and reflective, the matinees in Cordoba with my university studies. 

Although it is advisable to avoid disciples (who are almost so dangerous and scaring as children) I like to be read and commented. 

I admit to have published too much articles in many countries: Spain, Portugal, Germany, France, Italy, USA, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Argentine and Brazil. In other sectors of this page you will find the list of my works. My edited work includes 8 volumes of 300 pages each; the unedited works occupy other 12 volumes. 

You will see that in 2010 I published a book called Diário de um filósofo no Brasil (Diary of a philosopher in Brazil), where I apologize for having done what the Brazilian Academy of Philosophy - and academies in general - does not forgive: trying to be a philosopher. Not a great philosopher, of course, but a philosopher.

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