Criticism of Tupiniquim reason

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By NILDO VIANA

Considerations about Roberto Gomes' book

Criticism of the Tupiniquim Reason, published in 1977, in its first edition, presents an interesting reflection on “Brazilian philosophy”. The book did not get the recognition it deserved. The importance of the theme (especially for Brazilian philosophers, but which goes beyond the scope of philosophical questions and enters into the issue of Brazilian culture), the originality of the approach, its critical sense in the face of what it calls “dependence”, among other aspects, reveal some of its merits. Therefore, it is important to rescue this work and carry out a critical reflection on it.

Roberto Gomes is an intellectual who produces literary works and philosophical reflections, member of the Academia Paranaense de Letras. He presented a very interesting reflection on the “Tupiniquim reason”. Unfortunately, such work is overlooked or overlooked by many. This limits its reach, influence and dissemination, as well as the critical reflections or developments that could follow the debate around it. Perhaps your refusal of a certain type of “seriousness” is one of the determinations of this process, although it is not the most important.[I]

The main reason for not recognizing his work lies in his criticism of various cultural productions, as well as his criticism of affirmative reason and ornamental reason, which continue to predominate in Brazilian society, even in other forms. Furthermore, he reveals the links between this process and what he calls “dependency”, which opens space for a general criticism of Brazilian culture that many want to avoid.

The problem of a “Brazilian philosophy”

The work of Roberto Gomes reflects on the possibility of a “Brazilian philosophy”, or a “Tupiniquim reason”. Roberto Gomes notes that there is no “Brazilian reason” and discusses the issue of originality and its obstacles in the Brazilian case. He states that in the Brazilian context, marked by the cult of foreigners and formalism, a reflection that needs to be carried out is “on the conditions of possibility of a Brazilian philosophical judgment” and complements it with the question: “philosophy, in a suit and tie, think?”

Roberto Gomes arrives at this question based on some assumptions, including that philosophy is a “reason that expresses itself” and that its objective is “self-revelation”, or the “striptease cultural". This, according to this author, was what accomplished Greek philosophy. Discovery is always self-discovery: “in fact, to discover oneself is to find oneself in, for the simple fact that there is no 'other' that I must discover – from the beginning it is I who is in question. Discovery is, therefore, a primary phenomenon: a re-knowledge” (Gomes, 1994, p. 19). In this way, Gomes links philosophy and reality.

Contrary to what is commonly assumed, it is not the separation of place and time that gives depth to a thought, as, for example, that of Plato. His great merit is to be the realized expression of the Greek spirit at a given moment – ​​for this man was, without a doubt, a Greek. We misunderstand what he said if we want to preserve from his work what is not “mixed” impurely with the tribulations of his time. The acute, highly differentiated consciousness of Greek Reason at that time was the root of its depth and the nature of its lesson.

His thought becomes incomprehensible if we do not take into account the intimate connection that exists between politics and philosophy, the latter being clarified by the former, to the extent that he reflects on it. The political failure in Sicily, the disturbing political conditions, the death of Socrates led him to the fundamental postulate of his idealism: the material world must be modified – that is: denied – based on the truths obtained in the intuition of ideas. Thus, when postulating the reform of the city, the “world of ideas” shows itself as the denying non-being of the current, the synthesis of its critique of its time. And only then, seen in its undeniably political essence, does it make perfect sense. Otherwise, it will seem like an empty and “platonic” construction – which in fact it never was (Gomes, 1994, p. 19-20).

Roberto Gomes' conception is partially true and partially false. Without a doubt, no philosophical conception arises, nor could it arise, outside the place and time in which it arose. That is true. It is also true that Plato expressed, in philosophical form, the problems and issues of his time and society. Likewise, it is correct to say that if we want to understand Plato, we need to contextualize him socially and historically.

Therefore, it seems that there is nothing wrong with Roberto Gomes' statements. However, it is necessary to understand that in this brief excerpt the link between philosophy and reality, its expressive character (it expresses in a specific form certain historically constituted social relations), with its merit and the meaning of philosophical thought is confused. If Plato had any merit, it was when he went beyond the “Greek spirit”. While on To Republic (1974), he justifies and legitimizes the slave society and proposes a change in government, which should be attributed to philosophers, he was a man of his time, but he only generated an ideology, in the Marxist sense of the term, that is, a system of illusory thinking (Marx; Engels, 1982; Viana, 2017).

And here we find another problem for Roberto Gomes, which permeates his entire work, which is his understanding of reality, as he never notices the existence of social classes and their struggles, as well as other social divisions, and how this affects philosophy. When Roberto Gomes contrasts “material world” and “world of ideas” saying that for Plato the first must be “modified”, he does not fully understand the meaning of this, although, when he points to the “reform of the city” (the polis Greek), sees that it is about reforming and not transforming (in the sense of revolutionizing).

What Plato accomplishes is not a radical and total denial of Greek society but rather a moderate and partial opposition that benefits the social group to which he belongs, the philosophers. Plato does not deny slavery but rather justifies and legitimizes it. And, in this context, the valuation of the “world of ideas” is not an expression of the “Greek man” nor of “Greek society” but of a specific social group within it. His denial is “platonic” in the sense that he did not develop any action aimed at realizing his idea, he only proposed it. The famous “Allegory of the Cave” expresses this ideological process, as it points to reason, therefore, its bearers, the philosophers, as those who should legitimately govern and does so by bringing the “light”, an allegory for ideas, to those who live in the world of darkness,doxa".

The idea is to change an aspect of society to preserve it in its entirety, benefiting philosophers. Aristotle also justified and legitimized the slave society and his merit did not reside in his ideological production, but rather when he dealt with more abstract issues, more distant from the time, and was less “contaminated” by his time and society, with the exception, for example, of his thesis of the “four causes” (Chauí, 1992). However, his reflection on the categories, among others, even if they cannot be accepted in their entirety, are contributions to thinking about reality and his link with the time and place was smaller.

From this problematic conception of philosophy, his idea of ​​“originality” derives. According to the author, an original thought is not one that overcomes its situation, which would be, according to him, “impossible”, “but precisely because it gives shape and consistency to this time and presents a critical review of the issues of its time, thereby having origin” (Gomes, 1994, p. 21). The problem of originality, according to Gomes, refers to the problem of origin, of the root. The idea of ​​originality does not refer to the question of where it originates but rather of what it generates.

An idea is original not because it is rooted in a certain time and place, but because it gives birth to a new idea. This is what Merleau-Ponty (1989) expressed with the idea of ​​“thinking the unthought”. Without a doubt, this is carried out in a certain time and place and these are generally its motivating elements, but the originality lies in, starting from that reality, shedding new light on it, revealing what was hidden. These problems, however, do not take away the merits of Roberto Gomes' work and that is why it is worth analyzing the rest of the work as a whole.

Roberto Gomes moves forward, from this conception of philosophy and originality, to think about the key theme of his work, Brazilian philosophy. According to him, “if we demand that philosophy not just be something between us, but Brazilian philosophy,[ii] It is clear that we are assuming an originality, our own. A mistake would, therefore, be to cling to a strange answer, which was not born here” (Gomes, 1994, p. 21). At this moment, Roberto Gomes questions, correctly, although partially, the search for foreign (international) thought to think about Brazilian reality, which, according to him, makes a “Brazilian philosophy” impossible.

Thus, philosophy would be linked to a “position”. Every philosophy points to a position and a truth derived from that position. “The originality of Philosophy consists in discovering oneself in a certain position, assuming it reflexively” (Gomes, 1994, p. 23). He establishes a link between “position” and “truth”: “if your basic claim is truth, it is worth remembering that it only makes sense when it is mine” (Gomes, 1994, p. 23). This subjectivist conception of truth is problematic, but we will address this later. Thus, “a Brazilian philosophy will only have the conditions for originality and existence when it is discovered in Brazil. Being in Brazil to be able to be Brazilian. And this has not happened. Our thinking has always been strange, provided abroad” (Gomes, 1994, p. 23).

Dealing with the important and urgent questions in which the philosopher finds himself is the condition of possibility for all philosophy, according to this author. What is foreign only assumes importance when it becomes “our problem”. “So, there is no 'problem' for Brazilian Reason that is waiting for us. Rather, it is urgent to invent it in the very act of inventing a Brazilian philosophy. Our striptease cultural” (Gomes, 1994, p. 24). But, the author warns, this invention “does not occur in a vacuum” and cites Thales, Hegel and Marcuse as examples, who produced a “reflective awareness” of the problems of their time.

Roberto Gomes distinguishes between science and philosophy. Science moves in relation to the “object”, which has an existence independent of the scientist, having, at the same time, a pragmatic character and measuring its value in terms of technique. Philosophy would have a different attitude towards the universe. It puts existence into question, it does not select an “object”, but it invents it. Philosophy is only important when it is not used to justify attitudes, as in this case it becomes “ideology”. The importance of philosophy emerges when it is “denying consciousness”. Philosophy means “saying the opposite”.

This was the case with Thales, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, among others. Socrates denies previous philosophy, Plato denies Socrates, and Aristotle denies Plato.[iii] Any philosophy appears as denial, essentially critical thinking. However, it is a position and, in that sense, it expresses a time and place. It is a striptease cultural. This differs from the “myth of impartiality” that exists in Brazil, in which there is a tendency to seek to avoid the “clash of ideas” and “taking positions”. The “middle ground” is sought, but “in the middle is the mediocre”. Roberto Gomes concludes by saying that “by not assuming our position, Brazilian thinking becomes impossible” (Gomes, 1994, p. 31). It is impossible if we do not accept “destroying the past that has been imposed on us”, “refusing to assume its basic condition: that it is ours, denying that of others” (Gomes, 1994, p. 31).

These statements by Roberto Gomes point to interesting questions and some moments of truth, but they also have problematic points and moments of falsehood. When he says that “among us” (when he refers to Brazilians) there is the myth of impartiality, as in other cases, there is a certain generalization. Alongside a generalization identified as existing, such as the adoption of the “myth of impartiality” (and others such as the “Brazilian way”, “cordiality”, etc.), which is criticized, another generalization appears, the ideal, that says what Brazilians and Brazilian philosophy should be. We will return to this point later.

The misery of Brazilian reason

From these points, Roberto Gomes begins to criticize the “myth of impartiality”, eclecticism (chapter 05); to the “myth of concord”, the way (chapters 06 and 07); to the “philosophy between us” (chapter 08); to “ornamental reason” (chapter 09); to “affirmative reason” (chapter 10), to close the work with a chapter on “Dependent reason and negation”. These chapters are the most interesting of the work and in them we see a lucid and true diagnosis of Brazilian philosophical (and not just philosophical, but cultural in general) production and its problems. However, we will not be able to carry out a detailed analysis of each of these chapters, nor carry out a more in-depth critique. We will only briefly present some aspects that we consider most important and make some synthetic considerations to reach the last chapter and, after that, carry out a totalizing analysis of the work.

The critique of eclecticism begins with the observation of its ancient existence in Brazilian society. Roberto Gomes takes up Victor Cousin, a “minor philosopher”, and his eclecticism, which would have as its most important features: (i) distrust in relation to systems of thought, which would limit the “spirit”; (ii) the idea of ​​truth would be the result of a mosaic that would bring together several thinkers; (iii) the narcissistic and immature idea that this would mean “non-dogmatism”, an “open spirit” or “enlightenment”. This eclecticism has become widespread in Brazilian thought, being derived from the cultural dependence to which Brazil is subjected, and which generates the “Brazilian myth of impartiality”.

The author states that, “between us”, we often seek to “dissolve oppositions”, juxtaposing “subjectivism and objectivism, materialism and idealism, rationalism and empiricism”, not realizing that there is a price to be charged for such a position. “In this way, we falsify ourselves, being nothing. And we assimilate nothing. The minimum condition for assimilation is the prior existence of a structure that assimilates” (Gomes, 1994, p. 37). A “neutral assimilation” is not possible, “in which only the brute objectivity of the known matters. The presence of the factor that originates knowledge is required: the position of the subject” (Gomes, 1994, p. 37). It is naive, according to the author, to “want to assimilate everything”, dissolving oppositions and trying to extract the “best” from each person. To carry out such “extraction”, selectivity is necessary, which presupposes a criterion. “The void assimilates nothing.”

These statements by Roberto Gomes are interesting and we cannot carry out a deeper and more detailed analysis of everything that this implies. It is necessary, however, to highlight some aspects. The idea of ​​“dissolving oppositions”, taken in itself, is problematic, but so is the maintenance of oppositions. Basically, the oppositions cited by Roberto Gomes (materialism/idealism; rationalism/empiricism; subjectivism/objectivism) are antinomies of the bourgeois episteme (Viana, 2018) and there is no question of maintaining them (which can be deduced from his criticism of those who want to dissolve them).

Thus, the antinomies of bourgeois thought must be criticized and overcome, and not “dissolved” through their eclectic union or their maintenance or taking sides in relation to some side. Both rationalism and empiricism are problematic and limited, they are obstacles to an apprehension of reality. It is not by uniting these two positions, as eclecticism can do, or taking sides with one of them, as Roberto Gomes argues, that we will solve the problem, but rather through a critical analysis of its foundations, characteristics and problems and going beyond them and apprehending the real that they hide, because this is how we can move forward.

In this context, Roberto Gomes discusses the issue of assimilation (and contradicts other passages in which he uses this term pejoratively). This is one of the most interesting parts of his work. It is present in your resumption of the discussion of anthropophagy. Without a doubt, any conception can assimilate elements of another conception, as long as: (a) it does so effectively; (b) be aware of this (and do not confuse assimilating with “interpreting”, as then you attribute to other people's speech what is your own); and (c) promote a real transformation in what has been assimilated (otherwise, there is a risk of eclecticism). And this raises the question of what the author calls “criteria” for assimilation. And the question, according to him, is what this criterion is, which reveals yet another problematic point in Roberto Gomes' argument, as we will explain later.

Bearing in mind that the void cannot assimilate anything and determine what is “best”, a criterion is necessary and Roberto Gomes states that “the position of the subject is what organizes selectivity”. Here it is possible to question the use of this abstraction: “the “subject”. What does “subject” mean? Who is the “subject”? Basically, Roberto Gomes takes up a construct of episteme bourgeoisie that is abstracted to think about the question of assimilation and thus gets lost.[iv] But, leaving that aside, the author insists on the need for “clear awareness of the criteria adopted” in order to abandon neutrality and enable assimilation. “If some criteria are present in eclecticism, it ceases to be eclecticism, becoming a position characterized by the existing criteria” (Gomes, 1994, p. 38)[v].

And the author states that this is a naive position and that “eclecticism is impossible”. Now, if eclecticism is impossible, it does not exist. If it doesn't exist, what's the point in criticizing it? The author tries to resolve this contradiction by stating that there will always be, no matter how obscure, a criterion. Eclecticism, in Brazil, would be a “crazy philosophy” that does not know about itself, that is, about its criteria. “We don’t use our criteria, we are their victims” is a curious and contradictory statement. And the question that remains for the author is what is the criteria? He outlines an answer that would supposedly overcome the “paradox”.

A country without memory cannot wait for a past to fall from the sky: it needs to build it, because even a past is built – when I do it for myself. And the paradox dissolves: we build a past by turning to the future, choosing a project, a point of view. Our position (Gomes, 1994, p. 39).

It would be possible to question the idea that a past is “constructed”, including due to its subjectivist character[vi]. The ideas of project and “our position” are interesting, but imprecise and we will follow the author until the end to see if it finally reveals what position, criteria, project these are.

Another element of “tupiniquim” thinking criticized by the author is the “myth of concord”, the “way”. The chapter’s epigraph is “we give a way”, whose authorship is attributed to “the people”. The author goes on to say that “I believe that the constitutive element of the way is non-radicalization”, which combines well with the “impartiality” already criticized and avoids “fanaticism”. Thus, the author reproduces the idea of ​​the “Brazilian way”. To do so, it presents the principle of bureaucracy, distrust, as well as its formalism, and how Brazilians escape it (“the elevator operator finds a way and doesn't see the cigarette I lit. The highway guard finds a way if my eye test is expired. I do conditional enrollments, the very bureaucratic institutionalization of the way”). Thus, the “myth of concord” is established in a country in which “there is nothing more similar to a saquarema than a Luzia in power”, citing the author of The Roots of Brazil, Sérgio Buarque de Holanda, who takes up the phrase mentioned by Holanda Cavalcanti.

“The myth of concord” leads to intolerance, that is, its opposite. “Differing is a crime. Disagreeing is subversion. Asking is already an act of disobedience. This is in the country of the jeitinho, of the cordial man, of the eternal carnival” (Gomes, 1994, p. 47). Cordiality and politeness generate “intolerance, sectarianism, sterile partisanship, repression, censorship – a fertile field for the action of irrational authority and for the regimes that make use of it” (Gomes, 1994, p. 47). In this context, philosophy in Brazil refused to fulfill its mission, it did not seek to be the center of critical awareness and denial of falsifications, becoming inexpressive.

Roberto Gomes also addresses the issue of conciliatory reason present in philosophy produced in Brazil. This combines conciliation and suppression. Alongside the conciliatory speech comes the suppressive attack. This reason would not deal with reality, but with ideas, as it is an eclectic conciliation of thoughts.

There are two possibilities for defending this alienated reason: either conciliate or suppress. Expressions of his abandonment of reality, conciliation and suppression are not carried out in relation to surrounding things, but with theories that deal with reality. Conciliatory reason deals with previously given reasons of the real not with the real as such. The pole that centralizes our reason are theories as verbalizations, since the real they deal with is the foreign (Gomes, 1994, p. 52).

Roberto Gomes states that the suppression of philosophy, as seen in Thomism and neopositivism, which were successful in the intellectualized circles of Brazilian society for a long time, shows that conciliation does not allow for “originality”. This, says the author, is foreign to the philosophical attitude. The conciliation of ideas, taken as given, is a non-philosophical attitude and any attempt in this direction is at the service of “ornamental reason”.

The author discusses the issue of Brazilian philosophy in Chapter 08. He presents a debate on this issue carried out between some authors and then presents his position. What interests us here is Roberto Gomes' position. He states that the statement that philosophy has no country, no geography, no history is absurd.[vii] Roberto Gomes states that “only through critical reflection regarding our way of existing, our language, our existential and historical falsifications will we be able to reach the limits of our own philosophy” (Gomes, 1994, p. 61) .

A Brazilian philosophy, according to him, as he had said before, can only exist when it is rooted and responds to Brazilian problems. In this context, he questions the objections presented to the existence of a Brazilian philosophy. The first objection states that Brazilians do not have a “spirit capable of philosophy” and the second states that the Portuguese language is incapable of adequately carrying out a philosophical expression. He cites Álvaro Lins as a representative, although not directly, of this first objection and takes up the author's statement that the Portuguese heritage is, possibly, “the cause of the absence of a philosopher in Brazil”. Luso-Brazilians do not seem to be accustomed to the use of speculative and abstract faculties, nor the “gift” of “patient, disinterested and introspective study”.

For Roberto Gomes, this conception is problematic. First, he claims, all knowledge is interested. What is necessary is to distinguish between “a serious interest” and a “serious interest”. Secondly, the introspective character as a condition for reflection is questionable, since, according to the author, Marx and Aristotle are extroverts almost in a “pure state”.[viii] Thirdly, what may be patience and order for one individual may not be for another. Without a doubt, Roberto Gomes is partially correct in the first two cases, but in the third he already falls into subjectivism and demonstrates that he does not understand what “patient study” means. The author states that Portugal did not really leave a rich “philosophical heritage”, but tries to escape this obstacle by stating that philosophy is not inherited.

Roberto Gomes also discusses the issue of the Portuguese language. It would be considered an obstacle that would move away from themes considered “elevated” in philosophy, having an inherent weakness. This would explain the lack of a “Brazilian philosophy”. It's a real drama for philosophy teachers[ix] the translation of German, French and Latin expressions into Portuguese. This would promote an “avalanche of citations” and “imbecile hermeticism”. What Álvaro Lins forgets, argues Roberto Gomes, is that these expressions are original and rooted, linked to the problems and urgencies of place and time, and that is why their translation is “an impossible thing”.

This is an interpretative problem for Roberto Gomes, whose focus on nations prevents him from seeing the universal. Without a doubt, Aristotle, Kant, Hegel bear the mark of their time and society, but this is not the entirety of the works of these authors, which have elements that go beyond this social and historical context. The discussion of these three authors about the categories (quantity, quality, time, space, etc.) can bring the marks of the time and place, but they also bring reflections that go beyond these limits and can be assimilated in a sense that goes beyond them, recognizing what is singular and what is universal. These thinkers not only expressed what was foreign, but also what was common.

However, Roberto Gomes points to an important question when citing Mário de Andrade's solution: “instead of imagining that we don't have thought due to lack of language, why don't we assume that we don't have language due to lack of thought?” (Gomes, 1994, p. 68). However, Roberto Gomes returns to the national problem, because, according to him, we can enrich our language if we start from “our importance and urgency” to the language instead of from this to that.

The issue of the Portuguese language raises two questions. Undoubtedly, there are limits in the Portuguese language (as well as in other languages, especially English, but these limits were partially overcome by the production of reflections). The formal limit, however, can be overcome by creativity. It is not a question of the theme/phenomenon being foreign, but rather the formal determination of the language. If there is a negative formal determination, it is a matter of overcoming it by developing the language on the noospheric plane (philosophical, scientific, theoretical, etc.). The solution, however, does not lie in starting only from Brazilian problems but from real problems in general (from universal ones to specifically Brazilian ones), as the need for an abstract language in Portuguese and a set of concepts and notions emerges. that express the needs of Brazilian society, uniting the universal and the singular.

Roberto Gomes ends by criticizing the confusion between “authors among us” and “Brazilian philosophy”, which generates the idea of ​​the inability of Brazilians to think for themselves and justification for this through a supposed insufficiency of the Portuguese language, which brings the need to “destroy these misconceptions”. After that, he moves on to his analysis of “ornamental reason”.

Ornamental reason, affirmative reason and dependent reason

Ornamental reason is a Brazilian attribute, says Roberto Gomes, taking inspiration from Sérgio Buarque de Holanda.[X] A phrase by Roberto Gomes summarizes what he means by “ornamental reason”: “the type of intelligence that pleases us is the one that knows how to shine through words. Never having made a catchphrase, that is the mistake that a Brazilian intellectual will never commit” (Gomes, 1994, p. 73). However, it is “dosed with pinches of wise trickery”, as “the Brazilian hero is the smart one” (Gomes, 1994, p. 73). We can summarize this idea in the statement that “Brazilian intellectuals are Macunaímas of letters”. Roberto Gomes adds that Brazilian intellectuals need to adhere to a fad, whatever it may be. Hermetic language is the key to the initiation of the Brazilian intellectual.

For him, frantic adherence to a current, a label or a cliché constitutes the death of thought. In origin, all thought is criticism and denial, and the limit of its vitality is identified with the limit of its systematization and validity. This is what needs to be taken care of: a thought must have validity, not necessarily validity, as this is usually given to it from the moment it begins to die (Gomes, 1994, p. 74).

Roberto Gomes' criticism of fads, intellectual subservience to foreign culture, is complemented by this criticism of unconditional adherence to the hegemonic. And he adds that we “confuse” original thinking with “new” thinking. To substantiate this, Gomes makes a distinction between the original and the new. The new is a mere “accident” of the original. What is original is what goes back to the origins and not what comes last in time. The Brazilian intellectual clings to novelty, thinking that he is getting closer to the truth, which means that he lacks originality. “This is why the label of 'outdated' is a pure mistake” (Gomes, 1994, p. 74). “On a closed and conservative mental and social structure, we superimpose a novelty ornamentality, as if the truth were, at an auction, something to be snatched by whoever made the last bid” (Gomes, 1994, p. 74).

The author returns to Álvaro Lins to complement his discussion. Lins states that Brazilian literature is practiced as “if we were a literary suburb of France, England and the United States of America” (apud. Gomes, 1994, p. 74). The colonized character of Brazilian culture is expressed by this author, in which foreigners, no matter how bad they are, are guaranteed success, while Brazilians, no matter how good they are, are not recognized.[xi].

From these elements, Roberto Gomes draws some characteristics of Brazilian thought: economic dependence is generalized to all areas, making Brazilians a “colonized par excellence”; being cultured in Brazilian society means having erudition about something foreign; ornamental reason generates a suppression of what is Brazilian in favor of what is foreign; What Lins says about literature is even more true for philosophy produced in Brazil.

This cultural colonialism is complemented by provincialism, as there is regret for not being recognized by foreigners. Thus, the “Tupiniquim intellectual” turns outwards and expects recognition from him. In this context, Roberto Gomes states that “we must be what we are” and, only then, can we be recognized. Ornamental reason has no intentionality and is not committed to the truth. It is irreconcilable with philosophy. Philosophy seeks to lift the veil that hides the real and ornamental reason has as its essence a “kind of veil superimposed on the real”.

Roberto Gomes' diagnosis is the following: Brazilian reason is alienated due to the fact that the Brazilian intellectual refuses to assume his own identity. He is terrified of “our Brazilianness” and takes refuge “in a constellation of emptied concepts and loud words” that exorcise it. The case of Oswald de Andrade and Antonio Cândido's criticism closes this discussion by returning to the issue of seriousness (asked by the latter and denied by the former), as the former, according to Gomes, would be seeking to inaugurate a new reason, distinct from the European one and its seriousness. .[xii]

Ornamental reason produces a separate reality and gets lost in its “wordy universe”, generating resentful intellectuals who consider themselves victims and unhappy, citizens sensitive to “their own calluses”. They only criticize “the system” when it rejects them. The Brazilian intellectual is an individualist who accepts putting everything into question, except what is current (hegemonic). It produces a servile thought linked to eclecticism, the predominance of positivism, etc.

Incapable of thinking, demanding to shine, ornamental reason leads to flight into fads, in the last cultural cry, the auction of ideas. This is how we understand the recent suicide that was represented by structuralist fashion, a refuge for an intelligentsia that seeks a place somewhere in the world of technobureaucracy. And we also understand the absurd and aimless success of neopositivism and its obtuse courses on logic and theory of knowledge studies to contaminate Brazilian universities – which, moreover, everyone is dazzled by. Ah, indigenous achievements (Gomes, 1994, p. 83).

The arsenal of certainties presented by the simplism and formalism of Brazilian philosophy does not bother anyone. The synthesis of the discussion on ornamental reason is carried out in one sentence: “thought can exist among us under the condition of not thinking” (Gomes, 1994, p. 83).

From ornamental reason we move on to affirmative reason. This is the “reason that says yes”. Positivism, in Brazilian society, “could only have been accepted due to the current interests and the reproduction of the dominant classes” (Gomes, 1994, p. 85). Brazilian philosophy would have the predominance of two conceptions, eclecticism and positivism. Even “caboclo Marxism” was contaminated by them. In Brazil, positivism has had a long history, from the proclamation of the republic and its link with militarism to the present day (which here goes back to the 1970s, which is when Roberto Gomes wrote his work).

“And the Brazilian intellectual – who has managed to be the prototype of our most shocking defects – has assumed, in his fascination with the European past, the role of dependent being” (Gomes, 1994, p. 90), as he must not carry out a critical review and rather, being an “assimilator” (in the sense that Gomes attributes to that word). He must “say yes.” In this context, a Brazilian philosophy became impossible, since certainty was chosen and truth is someone else's heritage and we can only “assimilate”. Philosophy, however, is not certainty, it is denying reason, which produces destruction and doubt. But, from eclecticism to positivism, there is no creation in Brazilian philosophy, only the reproduction of certainties originating from abroad.

An affirmative reason is the same as an unreasonable one. Desperate complement to the thoughtless sense of eclectic reason. It is equivalent to clinging to the given with the intention of perpetuating it, when the radical function of thought is to destroy the positivity of the given. If eclectic reason was lost in an amorphous and depersonalized lack of differentiation, affirmative reason tends to sacralize the past, the source of all certainties – certainties that we no longer know are obsolete truths. And both find in ornamental reason the appropriate form for their expression: unthought, allegorical thought. That doesn't bother or risk. Anesthetic and sterilized thinking (Gomes, 1994, p. 95).

Finally, Roberto Gomes points to the issue of “dependent reason and negation”, the title of the last chapter of his work. He begins the chapter by citing the supposed revolution that modernism promoted:

If the function of consciousness is to explode a world, we can say that the Modern Art Week, in 1922, made a first attempt at real cultural independence in the face of the European past and foreign models. With exaggeration – this is enough for us – we realized the obvious: around us there was no fog, snow or medieval castles – but banana trees, coconut trees, caboclo houses and people with big noses and thick lips. The super-refined Parnass, the soft features of the Madonnas, the official good taste came crashing down; our artists removed from their shoulders the burden of an alien past that weighed on them. It became possible to create. The result was a revolution. From Mário and Oswald to Drummond and João Cabral de Mello Neto, we suddenly travel the paths of artistic emancipation. The immense feet of Portinari's figures reveal: they have found a ground to stand on (Gomes, 1994, p. 98).

Without a doubt, there is an exaggeration on the part of Roberto Gomes, who partially recognizes it. However, we are not going to comment on the meaning of modernism and its merely cultural character, as well as the limits of its originality, which, in fact, Roberto Gomes himself recognizes (by citing the influence of the Italian Marinetti, but which goes well beyond that). Roberto Gomes says he changed his spirit and attitude. According to Roberto Gomes, “Brazilian modernism was based on the sign of negation” (Gomes, 1994, p. 99). Oswald de Andrade appears with his contribution, such as when he states that “I made the modernist revolution against myself” and that Gomes considers it meant a search to destroy the (“internal and subjective”) conditions of dependence. Thus, it would be necessary to fight against ourselves, as the slave carries the master, or the idealized Europe, within him.

Mário de Andrade would present three principles of the modernist movement: aesthetic research as a permanent right; the updating of national artistic production; “the stabilization of a national creative consciousness”. This author, however, would not have completely overcome eclectic reason, states Roberto Gomes, which does not take away his merits. Likewise, Mário de Andrade was critically aware of modernism itself. Based on Roland Corbisier's reflection, Roberto Gomes states that the cultural revolution of modernism did not find an echo in philosophy.

Finally, Roberto Gomes seeks to make a reflection that explains the characteristics of Brazilian thought and refers to the “peculiarities of our historical formation”. In this context, Portuguese colonization and its specificity gains explanatory importance. “Wild mercantilism”; the “saudade” (of the Portuguese in relation to Portugal); the “strength of the metropolis”; the “mind of the bandeirante” (extractive, predatory and disinterested activity); the centrality of overseas; among other aspects, they show the external and internal conditions of dependence. Hence cultural transplantation and the formation of a transplanted culture. Brazil goes from a colonized country to a formally free (and always nostalgic) country and economic-cultural dependence has shifted (including to the United States, “part of Europe”, spiritually speaking, according to Gomes). In recent generations, adds Gomes, there is a desire to be North American. Thus, subjected to cultural colonialism, Brazilians deny being what they are. Americans have come out culturally with their claim to be a “new world”.

Thus, Roberto Gomes takes up the sociologist Octávio Ianni to state that the problem is external and imported both to sociology (addressed by the sociologist from São Paulo) and to philosophy. This results in the difficulty in applying imported concepts to the Brazilian reality, as well as the intellectual prestige of Latin American sociologists being related to information on the latest foreign sociological news.[xiii] “Latin American thinking, and particularly Brazilian thinking, finds itself tied to importances and urgencies that are neither important nor urgent, except for Europeans and North Americans – which is why the reason between us has been lost in the allegories of ornamentality” (Gomes , 1994, p. 106).

This “allegorical philosophy” corresponds to the interests of maintaining dependence. This brings with it the need to free Brazilian society from economic-cultural pressures and the introjected role of dependent and assimilator. It is not about defending, says Roberto Gomes, cultural isolation but rather about carrying out “the exercise of merciless anthropophagy”.

What prevents the emergence of our thinking is the implicit refusal to face something Brazilian. If the models of seeing that we assimilate are those of another, we only see ourselves in a distorted way and without coming to accept ourselves theoretically and practically. Our topics are rejected because they do not have as refined an odor as European issues. Our specific way of approaching reality, making it important, is forgotten.

The same happens with the problems that we should effectively problematize, as they do not fit into those that we can think of with “exemption”, “distance”, in a “neutral” way. That is to say: they could not be the object of a sterilized philosophy without contaminating it, forcing it to assume its historical role among us. Contaminated, this Philosophy would become very uncomfortable, no longer allowing endless conciliation. This is not recommended, either from the point of view of the current situation – and what is current among us is dependence – or from the point of view of the facilities we provide to provide us with certainty (Gomes, 1994, p. 110).

Roberto Gomes adds that this philosophy (sterilized, aseptic, refined, ornamental) is the “voice of the owner”. She avoids committing and getting her hands dirty, limiting herself to “pure formal play”. It is still strange that Gomes dedicates almost his entire work to showing cultural “dependence” (derived from economic dependence) and, at the same time, states that “our specific way of approaching reality” is forgotten. Now, he himself proved that such a “specific mode” does not exist. And it shouldn't exist, just as there is no specific French, German, Italian, Russian, American, Chinese way, since the approach to reality is not a national issue.[xiv]

In fact, Roberto Gomes demands a Brazilian philosophy, but opposes it not to another national philosophy but to European culture, which is continental and not national. This element would be sufficient to question (isn't this an attribute of philosophy pointed out by Gomes?) of the opposition between the “European” and the “Brazilian”. But we will return to this later.

Gomes ends his book with the solution to the problem he faced throughout the work. For a Brazilian philosophy to exist, it would have to destroy the “subjective and objective conditions of dependence”, generating a critical awareness and denial of the role of “assimilators” and a “severe criticism of the past”, rereading our history. In this context, it is necessary, states the author, to “invent the conditions of our future”, that is, our importance and urgencies, as long as we get rid of “every dependent context”, without an “other” to hold on to, generating a thought committed (“seriously”) opposed to all ornamental reason and essentially negating.

Let us learn two things. That at this point in events, a violent and loud punch on the table is more important than knowing the validity of synthetic a priori judgments. And that, from the point of view of Brazilian thinking, Noel Rosa has more to teach us than you Immanuel Kant, since philosophy, like samba, cannot be learned in school (Gomes, 1994, p. 112).

This is the final statement that ends the book. In a way, it summarizes in one paragraph a set of the author's mistakes. This is a nationalist and meaningless statement. Noel Rosa teaches little about Brazilian and global reality and the same can be said about Kant. However, philosophically, Kant provides more intellectual tools than Noel Rosa, as well as other elements.

Noel Rosa can raise questions and point out problems, but not tools and answers. The statement is not very “serious”, in the positive sense of the word. Noel Rosa contributes to Brazilian culture in the way he set out to contribute and according to the conditions he had. Kant is an extremely important thinker, even if we widely disagree with him. A samba singer and a philosopher cannot be compared, as they do not have the basic similarities that allow comparison.

Criticism of the Critique of Tupiniquim reason

After this synthesis of Roberto Gomes' work, a general assessment and critical analysis are important. Without a doubt, we have outlined several elements of criticism, but in relation to more specific issues. Now is the time for a more general approach to Criticism of Tupiniquim reason. It is worth highlighting, initially, the merits of the work.

Roberto Gomes demonstrates boldness and criticality, two elements generally absent in Brazilian culture and society, especially in a broader and more original sense. He criticizes what has been produced in Brazilian society in terms of culture and, especially, philosophy, pointing out both individual cases and the general problem of philosophical production in our country. Another merit is its originality, something, as he himself highlights, that is uncommon in Brazil. Originality appears more in the criticism and demands he makes, and although such elements, especially in the second case, are questionable, it is still an undoubted merit.

The issue of ornamental reason and affirmative reason, the analysis of eclecticism and positivism, are important for understanding the evolution and characteristics of philosophy in Brazil, even if we disagree with some more specific aspects. The discussion about intellectual production in Brazil and its limits is fundamental and the author does not fail to do so in a critical manner. Roberto Gomes presents a portrait of Brazilian culture, carrying out one of the most interesting analyzes on this topic, contrary to commonplaces repeated in several existing books on the subject.

The need for autonomous and independent intellectual production, as requested by the author within the scope of philosophy, is another fundamental aspect, although one may disagree with the bases that the author requests for this to be carried out. The reproduction of foreign fads that accompanies the history of Brazilian intellectual production is a serious problem and overcoming it is a necessity (although not for all Brazilians, as it is necessary to recognize that Brazilian society is not homogeneous but divided into social classes with conflicting needs and interests).

Other merits could be highlighted, including some more specific ones. However, we believe that so far we have included the main and broadest ones. We can close with the merit of discussing culture and, mainly, the focus of the book, the problem of philosophical production in Brazil, and, even more, from a critical perspective. While some “intellectual celebrities” of dubious merit periodically emerge (and, as Roberto Gomes puts it, merely reproducing foreign fads), this author is not cited or worked on in Brazilian universities, except in the case of rare exceptions. It is not recommended and read, nor is it the subject of debate.

The debate he launches is, to say the least, thought-provoking and brings necessary reflections on Brazilian culture, whether you agree with him or not. But, as Wright Mills (1982) put it, and Karl Marx (1988) had already pointed out its manifestation in his particular case, silence is the first way to marginalize a divergent thinker and this explains the little resonance of Criticism of Tupiniquim reason. In this sense, although the work was originally published in 1977 (and after it new fads emerged, although eclecticism remains strong and has stolen space from other ideologies), it remains current.

Its relevance can be seen in the fact that it discusses “topics” that are not generally covered in Brazilian universities. It is surprising how the subordinate character of Brazilian culture remains its main characteristic, even when it produces ideologies that vociferate against “Eurocentrism”, “colonialism”, etc. The critique of Eurocentrism has a “Eurocentric” origin,[xv] which reveals, from now on, its limits.

However, there are problematic elements in Roberto Gomes' conception that must be highlighted. The main problems of Criticism of Tupiniquim reason They are derived from a basic issue that runs through the entire work: nationalism. Basically, Roberto Gomes' fundamental concern is the non-existence of a Brazilian philosophy and the defense of the need for its production, as well as its solution is the formation of a national philosophy (aimed, as he says, at its “importances and urgencies ”). This creates several other problems. Let's deal with these problems and then return to the question of nationalism.

One of the limits of Roberto Gomes' work is the absence of social classes. Undoubtedly, in some passages the term “social classes” is used, such as in a passage about the “dominant class”. However, classes do not appear with their social and explanatory importance, their contradictions and antagonistic interests. Likewise, although it deals extensively with “dependency”, “colonization”, and related terms, the concrete reality does not appear, as imperialism and international relations are not addressed. And this makes it possible to replace social problems and international exploration with a purely cultural issue. Thus, the biggest problem is Eurocentrism (even without using that term) and even the United States appears to be, “spiritually”, European.

The existence of Eurocentrism is meaningless nowadays. Europe's cultural supremacy was undermined since the end of the Second World War and passed to the Americans, with the Russians as the main global competitors during the “cold war” period. Without a doubt, European countries are imperialist and still have great cultural strength at a global level, but today it is much inferior to the influence of North America and other countries (China, Japan, etc.).

European philosophy still has strength, but much of it comes from historical heritage (it is not possible to teach philosophy without the ancient Greeks, the Enlightenment, the German philosophy of Kant and Hegel, among many others). However, philosophy today is a cultural remnant without great popularity and is much less known than K-pop (Korean popular music). In fact, the latest French and European philosophical ideologies in general collaborated with this, by sinking into the subjectivist paradigm and irrationalist and relativist ideologies.

Roberto Gomes calls for the creation of a Brazilian philosophy, but does not define exactly what that means. It is understood that it would be an authentically Brazilian philosophy, rooted in Brazilian society with its problems and urgencies, drawing from there its language and originality. What would this mean in the context of philosophy? Would it be possible, for example, to have a Brazilian logic? Or is the idea that philosophy stops being a speculative and reflective thought and becomes a concrete thought, which Brazil thinks about? Would that be philosophy?

Roberto Gomes' approach is not dialectical[xvi], which is noticeable in his intellectual procedure and in several statements. The relationship between the universal and the singular escapes him, as he is unable to perceive the universal in European culture (from different European countries) and in Brazilian culture, as well as thinking that the singular (in this case, what would be original to Brazil) without the universal[xvii].

A Brazilian philosophy is an impossibility, unless the term is used descriptively, meaning the philosophical production carried out in Brazil by Brazilians. German philosophy is a child of the German era and society, but that was its problem, as Marx pointed out (Marx; Engels, 1982), and, even more so, its claim to universality. However, Hegel and, mainly, Marx, went beyond the time and society when developing dialectics, which is a universal element. In this sense, the more tied to Brazil, the poorer a “Brazilian philosophy” would be. Gomes criticizes provincialism, but ends up falling for it. The more universal, the more valid an idea.

However, this does not mean disregarding singular problems and issues, but it is not possible to understand them without access to the universal. And that is why reading Aristotle, Kant, Hegel, Feuerbach is much more important for understanding reality than listening to a samba by Noel Rosa. In fact, one thing does not prevent the other, but if the objective is to understand Brazilian reality theoretically (or “philosophically”, as Gomes would say), then listening to samba will not achieve this.

Another problem of Criticism of Tupiniquim reason it is the absence of Brazilian society. Interestingly, Gomes asks for rooting in the national reality and, like those he criticizes, he does not achieve it. The only thing that appears are elements of Brazilian culture, some literati, philosophers, intellectuals, but the concrete social relations of Brazilian society appear very little and only historically. The Brazilian society of the 1970s, in which he lived and wrote, does not appear.

The military regime and its contradictions, the composition of social classes, regional divisions, the social conditions of cultural production, universities, the social condition of Brazilian intellectuals, Brazil's position in the international division of labor, the meaning of oligopolistic means of communication, among several other elements that would help to understand Brazilian culture, do not appear. Understanding Brazilian subordinate capitalism and its position in the international division of labor would be fundamental to understanding the reproduction of cultural subordination to imperialist countries.

This set of problems in Roberto Gomes' work coexists with its merits. And yet, the title of his work serves as much for those he criticizes as for himself, because a “Tupiniquim reason” is something as problematic as the currently existing subordinate culture (and which emerges with the historical process of colonization and subordination of Brazilian society).

Final considerations

Thus, to conclude, it is necessary to return to the issue of the absence of social classes and their struggles in Roberto Gomes' approach. The lack of a Brazilian philosophy, in many moments of his work, seems to be a failure of the philosophers who live here. The class struggle, at a global and national level, is not present, and, even at a time of military regime, in which censorship and repression were active and, even considering previous periods, there were other dictatorships, populism, etc. which can only be understood in the dynamics of the class struggle, as well as bourgeois hegemony at a global level with European and North American supremacy, in addition to the “Soviet”.

However, the absence of classes also occurs in Roberto Gomes' silence about who the agents are and what is the perspective that would allow the development of critical and innovative thinking in Brazil (that is, not of a Brazilian philosophy but of an intellectual production independent and autonomous). Would goodwill and diving into “Brazilian roots” be enough for such agents to emerge? Would the perspective be nationalist?

And here we rediscover the basis of Roberto Gomes' thought: nationalism. Gomes' nationalism went beyond ornamental reason, affirmative reason and dependent reason. However, he did not take the next and fundamental step: criticizing nationalist reason. If he had deepened the analysis of Brazilian society, and of subordinated capitalism as a whole, Gomes would have discovered that nationalism is an illusion for countries subjected to imperialism. If he had analyzed the class composition of Brazilian society, its divisions and interests, he would have realized that there is no autonomous and independent national bourgeoisie, which makes an equally autonomous and independent culture and philosophy unfeasible.

On the other hand, he would have realized that autonomy and independence, going beyond the national and resuming the universal of humanity, can only occur through the struggle of the proletariat and the lower classes, as the interest in revealing the veil, as he identified, presupposes the existence of interest in this regard. Thus, the agent that can carry out the development of autonomous and independent intellectual production in Brazilian society is the proletariat and its intellectual representatives, as well as the perspective linked to it, expressing the conceptions, feelings, values ​​and interests corresponding to the revolutionary labor movement. .

Roberto Gomes' limits are those of nationalism that serve as the basis for his criticism. Without a doubt, this is a contesting nationalism, produced in subordinate capitalism (and, therefore, partially perceives subordination), but just like the old “third worldism”, by remaining within narrow national horizons, it does not understand the totality of capitalism world and the impossibility of national autonomy and independence in this context, as well as the trap of nationalist ideology. The critical aspect is alive and present, but it has limits. The propositional aspect is voluntaristic and has no real scope.

Despite this, Roberto Gomes' approach to the problem of Brazilian philosophy and culture is one of the most interesting written to date. From a critical perspective, even if with limits, he shows that Brazilian philosophy is “canned”, just as Guerreiro Ramos had already spoken of Brazilian sociology. And he points to the problems of Brazilian culture and philosophical production in our country, unveiling the artifices of ornamental reason and affirmative reason. In this sense, Roberto Gomes contributes much more than several canonized authors and seasonal hits and should, therefore, be read and discussed more, as it is a good starting point for questioning the cultural problems of Brazilian society.

*Nildo Viana and pprofessor at the Department of Sociology at the Federal University of Goiás (UFG). Author, among other books, of Bourgeois hegemony and hegemonic renewals (CRV).

Reference


Roberto Gomes. Criticism of the Tupiniquim Reason. São Paulo, Create, 2001, 130 pages. [https://amzn.to/469Yl05]

REFERENCES


CHAUÍ, Marilena. What is Ideology. São Paulo, Brasiliense, 1992.

CHIAVENATO, Julio José. The Volunteers of the Fatherland (and other myths). Sao Paulo: Global, 1983.

GOMES, Roberto. Criticism of the Tupiniquim Reason. São Paulo: FTD, 1994.

IANNI, Octavio. The Age of Globalism. Rio de Janeiro: Brazilian Civilization, 1997.

IANNI, Octavio. The Global Society. Rio de Janeiro: Brazilian Civilization, 1992.

IANNI, Octavio. Sociology of Latin American Sociology. Rio de Janeiro: Brazilian Civilization, 1971.

IANNI, Octavio. Globalization Theories. Rio de Janeiro, Brazilian Civilization, 1996.

MARX, Karl; ENGELS, Friedrich. The German Ideology (Feuerbach). São Paulo: Human Sciences, 1982.

MARX, Carl. The capital. Vol. 1. São Paulo, Nova Cultural, 1988.

MERLEAU-PONTY, Maurice. His Philosopher and Shadow. In: Selected Texts. São Paulo: Nova Cultural, 1989. (Col. Os Pensadores).

PLATO. To Republic. São Paulo: Hemus, 1974.

RAMOS, Alberto Guerreiro. The sociological reduction. Rio de Janeiro: UFRJ, 1996.

VIANA, Nildo. Bourgeois Hegemony and Hegemonic Renewals🇧🇷 Curitiba: CRV, 2019.

VIANA, Nildo. Karl Marx: The Ruthless Criticism of the Existing. Curitiba, Prismas, 2017.

VIANA, Nildo. Memory and Society. The Struggle Around Remembrance. Goiânia: Coping Editions, 2020.

VIANA, Nildo. The Bourgeois Way of Thinking. Bourgeois Episteme and Marxist Episteme. Curitiba: CRV, 2018.

WRIGHT MILLS, C. The Sociological Imagination. Rio de Janeiro: Zahar, 1982.

Notes


[I] The author himself distinguishes and explains different forms of seriousness. One is the “serious man”, formal and apparent, the other is “taking something seriously”, which denotes depth. In the first case, we have formalism, ritualization, etc. In the second, we have reflection and deepening. We will return to this later.

[ii] Many questions could be presented here. What would a “Brazilian philosophy” be? Would it be a philosophy of Brazil (which would say what Brazil is)? A philosophy of Brazilian society (created in this society and linked to it)? A philosophy in Brazil? An original philosophy made by Brazilians? An originally “Brazilian” philosophy?

[iii] We consider that the issue is more complex and it would be necessary to reflect on the character of denial and its meaning, as well as the historical and social basis of this process. Basically, what these philosophers accomplish is supersession – conservation and alteration – and not supersession – which means abolition without conservation, because in the way it was put it is not possible to perceive the process of development, which simultaneously conserves and alters.

[iv] It will not be possible to delve deeper into this issue and that is why we recommend a work (Viana, 2019) in which we carry out a critical analysis of the use of the term “subject” so that you can better understand what we are questioning.

[v] The criterion is an abstracted element of thought and therefore it is problematic to deal with assimilation. The issue is more complex. If I want to discuss a criterion for carrying out assimilation, I am carrying out a more abstract discussion about this process and not something concrete, as the discussion on “Brazilian philosophy” suggests and, at this higher level of abstraction, it is enough to demand “the criterion”. However, concretely, each theory, ideology, etc., carries out the assimilation process in different ways, or, to use Gomes' problematic term, each one has its own criteria.

[vi] The past is not “constructed”, as it has already passed and was characterized by real social relations. What happens is that it is remembered in different ways and then it is possible to create “versions” about the past, but it has already been and remains intact (Viana, 2020). If the dominant version of the Paraguayan War in Brazil is that Duque de Caxias was a hero, there is the version by Chiavenatto (1983) according to which he was a “mule thief” and an unheroic individual, just as there are others versions and none of them will change what actually happened and what it truly meant, although one may be reliable or at least closer to reality, while others may be very distant, even when the interests of powerful sectors of society point to the elaboration versions of historical events

[vii] In principle, anyone who agrees with historical-dialectical materialism should agree with this position. However, the issue is more complex. And we cannot develop it here, but only make brief considerations. One thing is the social root, the social and historical determinations of a certain (therefore, particular, concrete) philosophical production, another thing is what philosophy is and whether it can be national. In this case, philosophy is a form of thought and, therefore, it is above national divisions. Now, its concrete manifestations in each country and its specificities exist and are only understandable in the historical and social sense, but this is different from dealing with a “national philosophy”.

[viii] A problematic statement, as stating that the two were extroverted may have some basis in information (more difficult in the case of Aristotle), but in a “pure state” it is already an exaggeration. Another issue is the confusion between “introverted” (an element of temperament) with introspective (a mental process).

[ix] Gomes states that Lins is right when placing “philosophy teachers”, as “we have philosophy teachers and not philosophers”, which is partially true, as this is not just a Brazilian problem, as the history of philosophy shows the quantitative decrease and qualitative approach to philosophical production and the replacement of philosophers (as original thinkers) by professors and historians of philosophy.

[X] “To properly correspond to the role that, even without knowing it, we give it, intelligence must be an ornament and a gift, not an instrument of action and knowledge” (Holanda, apud. Gomes, p. 72).

[xi] “In effect, there is no second-rate foreign author with any success, no little movement from Saint Germain-des-Prés or the Boulevard Saint-Michel, no small essay by an English critic or insignificant exercise for students by any North American university critic. American –, there is nothing, of all this, that fails to receive extensive news here, in our magazines and newspapers, while so many works by national authors, sometimes of equivalent value or even of better category, remain in the shadow, without publicity and without repercussions” (Lins, apud. Gomes, 1994, p. 75).

[xii] Gomes states that humor is linked to an awakened, critical conscience, etc. and states that he sees no antagonism between philosophy and humor. However, it is necessary to realize that humor and humor can be used for many things, including criticism (and then it is necessary to discuss which form of criticism). Linking humor and criticism (in a contesting sense) without this perception is a mistake. On the other hand, seriousness is not necessarily linked to being conservative. Of course, Gomes distinguished between types of seriousness (which he does not name, but we could call them formal and substantial), but even so, it is necessary to differentiate the seriousness itself that he attributes a positive meaning to, as depth does not always mean truthfulness. And unusually, Gomes does not distinguish, as he did with seriousness, the forms of humor.

[xiii] It is unexpected that Ianni (1971) not only recognized but practiced this, as can be seen in his works on “globalization”, being a pioneer in Brazilian lands in the dissemination of foreign ideologies on this topic (1992; 1996; 1997) .

[xiv] This does not mean that there are no national cultural specificities, but these are not “specific ways of approaching reality”.

[xv] Basically, it is an ideological criticism that hides its own ideological bases, as if the problem were “Western” or “European” culture, and not the social and historical context, concrete international relations, existing interests, certain ideologies ( including those that supposedly question European predominance), etc.

[xvi] Which here means that it does not use the dialectical method.

[xvii] The categories of dialectics are poorly developed, as Marx used several, but reflected on them. This gap is generally filled with a return to Hegel or with an appeal to the ideologues of the former Soviet Union, or even one or another specific philosopher. However, it is possible, based on the set of existing contributions, to understand that the singular is a manifestation of the universal, in addition to being a relative category, as the singular in another context can be universal and vice versa.

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