Vaz Ferreira, Carlos (1872–1958)
VAZ FERREIRA, CARLOS
Carlos Vaz Ferreira, the Uruguayan educator and philosopher, was born in Montevideo. He became a professor of philosophy and rector at the University of Montevideo and played a prominent part in the theory and administration of primary and secondary education in Uruguay. He wrote voluminously and was a popular lecturer. As a result, he was for several decades a major intellectual force in his country. At various times and in various respects, he was influenced by Herbert Spencer, J. S. Mill, William James, and Henri Bergson, without full commitment to any of them.
Vaz Ferreira was impressed by the fluid complexity of experience, thought, and reality. Words and logical forms impose false precision and system on the contents of thought. The remedy is not a flight from reason but the development of a plastic reason close to experience, life, and instinct, alert to degrees of probability and unwilling to assent beyond the warrant of the question and evidence. The formulation and disposition of metaphysical questions requires the highest degree of caution, but metaphysics is both legitimate and necessary. It is impossible to move far in science without running into metaphysical questions, and it is necessary to cultivate metaphysics in order to understand the symbolic and limited nature of science and to counteract the bad metaphysics that comes into being when metaphysics is neglected. Vaz Ferreira was critical of positive religion but was sympathetic to religion as the emotional apprehension of a possible transcendent being.
The ethics of Vaz Ferreira showed the same skepticism fused with marked human warmth and moral insight. Ethical principles cannot be stated without exceptions or descent into casuistry. Ideals clash and choices are usually between alternatives that contain some evil. An ethically sensitive person therefore is more subject than others to doubt, crisis, and remorse: satisfied conscience is more readily found in those who have a narrow awareness and ready formulas. But an ethically sensitive person may exemplify the perfection of individual morality, in which are combined a feeling for each individual act and a care for all possible results. Vaz Ferreira held that there has been moral progress in the course of history: Ideals have been added from time to time, more persons now share to some degree in all ideals, and there is greater resistance to evil.
Vaz Ferreira's principal works include Los problemas de la libertad (Problems of liberty; Montevideo, 1907); Conocimiento y acción (Knowledge and action; Montevideo: Mariño y Caballero, 1908); Moral para intelectuales (Ethics for intellectuals; Montevideo, 1909); El pragmatismo (Montevideo, 1909); Lógica viva (Living logic; Montevideo, 1910); Sobre los problemas sociales (On social problems; Montevideo, 1922); Fermentario (Montevideo, 1938).
See also Arturo Ardao, Introducción a Vaz Ferreira (Montevideo: Barreiro y Ramos, 1961).
Arthur Berndtson (1967)
"Vaz Ferreira, Carlos (1872–1958)." Encyclopedia of Philosophy. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 16, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/vaz-ferreira-carlos-1872-1958
"Vaz Ferreira, Carlos (1872–1958)." Encyclopedia of Philosophy. . Retrieved February 16, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/vaz-ferreira-carlos-1872-1958
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.