Ramos, Samuel 1897–1959

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Ramos, Samuel 1897–1959

PERSONAL: Born June 8, 1897, in Zitácuaro, Michoacán, Mexico; died 1959, in Mexico City, Mexico; son of a physician. Education: Attended Colegio de San Nicolás de Hidalgo, c. 1909–17; studied medicine at Medical Military School, Mexico City, Mexico, 1917–19; attended School of Higher Studies, c. 1919; National Autonomous University of Mexico, Ph.D., 1944; additional study at Sorbonne, College of France, and University of Rome.

CAREER: Philosopher and educator. College of Philosophy and Literature, Mexico, headmaster and dean of humanities and professors, 1944–52; instructor in philosophy for Mexico's national preparatory school; instructor in logic and ethics for Mexico's national teachers college.


El caso Strawinsky (title means "The Case of Stravinsky"), Ediciones de la Revista Contemporáneos (Mexico), 1929.

El perfil del hombre y de la cultura en México (title means "The Profile of Mexican People and Culture"), [Mexico], 1934, reprinted, Espasa-Calpe (Mexico City, Mexico), 1991.

Ensayo sobre Diego Rivera, 1935.

Mas allá de la moral de Kant (title means "Further Thoughts on the Moral of Kant"), [Mexico], 1938.

Hacia un nuevo humanismo (title means "Making a New Humanisim"), La Casa de España (Mexico), 1940.

Veinte años de educación en México (title means "Twenty Years of Mexican Education"), 1941.

Historia de la vida artística (title means "History of the Artistic Life"), 1942.

La filosofía de la vida artística (title means "The Philosophy of the Artistic Life"), 1955.

El problema del a priori y la experiencia y las relaciones entre la filosofía y la ciencia (title means "The a priori Problem and the Experience and Relationships between Philosophy and Science"), 1955.

Nuevo esayo sobre Diego Rivera, 1958.

Estudios de estética, UNAM (Mexico City, Mexico), 1963.

Ramos's works were also collectively published as Obras Completas.

SIDELIGHTS: Mexican philosopher Samuel Ramos examined the cultural character of the Mexican people, using the scientific method for his approach. That approach was one he learned from his father, a doctor who endowed his son with a wide range of cultural and humanistic interests. Father and son had long talks about the fundamentals of philosophy, and Dr. Ramos read long passages from such works as Don Quixote to his son. From an early age, Ramos took an interest in his fellow Mexicans, looking for the hidden meanings behind their gestures, their words, and their expressions. The very role of culture, according to Ramos, was for the creation and perfection of human beings. From these observations he put together a distinctly Mexican philosophy that was tied to the life of his people.

Ramos's point of view was heavily influenced by the works of early twentieth-century psychoanalyst Alfred Adler. In fact, in his writings Ramos proposed psychoanalysis as the only way for the Mexican mind to achieve its full potential. He pointed out that the Mexican attitude toward life is one of ambivalence. He felt that the constitutional chaos that marked the revolutionary period of the early 1830s was a sign of a theoretical rejection of political realities. Ramos further claimed that reality itself was close to taboo in the Mexican psyche of the times. The Mexican "illness," Ramos suggested, was a propensity to view everything outside of oneself as superior and therefore to suffer under a personal and national "sentiment of inferiority." The problem, Ramos observed, came from the "double heritage" of the peoples of the Americas. On the one hand, the values and cultural models of these peoples are a "derivative culture," inherited from the shores of Europe. However, the possessors of these values are not European, because they live in the Americas. In an essay focusing on the psychoanalysis of the Mexican, Ramos contended that this feeling of inferiority leads to the use of masks to cover up this supposed inferiority. These masks include aggression, violence, and dishonesty. Through psychoanalysis, Ramos felt, the Mexican consciousness could be returned to the singularly important value of "sincerity."



Chasqui, November, 1983, "Luis G. Urbina y la tematica de la soledad," p. 12.

Cuadernos Americanos, May, 1999, Maria Rosa Palazon, "Conocimiento, verdad e illusión en algunas artes," p. 123; May, 1999, Carlos Coria Sanchez, "El Gesticulador," p. 208.

Philosophy Today, Volume 44, 2000, Manuel Vargas, "Lessons from the Philosophy of Race in Mexico," p. 18.

Texto Critico, July, 1995, Esther Hernandez Palacios, "Breves notas sobre el concepto de 'belleza' en la estética mexicana," p. 263.


Wanadoo, http://www1.gratisweb.com/ (June 13, 2005), Miguel Angel Corral Chagolla, "La cultura en Samuel Ramos."