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Letelier Madariaga, Valentín (1852–1919)

Letelier Madariaga, Valentín (1852–1919)

Valentín Letelier Madariaga (b. 16 December 1852; d. 20 June 1919). Chilean thinker and political figure, often considered the chief Chilean disciple of positivism. Born in Linares City, he qualified as a lawyer in 1875 and later held a number of official jobs, including the secretaryship of Chile's legation in Germany (1880–1885). He was a deputy in the Congress of 1888–1891 and, as a leader of the Radical Party, was one of the signers of the act deposing President José Manuel Balmaceda in January 1891 (for which he was later imprisoned and exiled by Balmaceda). In 1906 Letelier became rector of the University of Chile, where he instituted important reforms. At the third Radical Party convention in 1906, Letelier successfully advocated "socialist" (i.e., social reform) principles that were the direct opposite of the "individualism" espoused by his chief adversary, the brilliant speaker Enrique Maciver Rodríguez. Letelier's pen was rarely idle; his numerous works, which incline to the ponderous, cover history, law, sociology, and philosophy.

See alsoPositivism .


Luis Galdámes, Valentín Letelier y su obra (1937).

Solomon Lipp, Three Chilean Thinkers (1975).

Additional Bibliography

Fuentealba Hernández, Leonardo. La filosofía de la historia en Valentín Letelier. Santiago de Chile: Taller Gráfico de la Editorial Universitaria, 1990.

                                        Simon Collier

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