The Revolt of Unreason

Miguel de Unamuno and Antonio Caso on the Crisis of Modernity


This book examines solutions to the crisis of modernity proposed by the Spanish philosopher Miguel de Unamuno and the Mexican philosopher Antonio Caso. Acceptance of the objective claims of modern scientific rationality and the consequent rejection of the objective validity of artistic, moral, and religious claims generates the crisis of modernity. The problem is that of justifying artistic, moral, and religious claims. Miguel de Unamuno in his classic work, The Tragic Sense of Life, addresses the conflict between the belief in personal immortality and modern scientific rationality. Holding that there is no rational justification for the belief in immortality, Unamuno finds a solution in a “saving scepticism” to act “as if” he deserved immortality. In his book Existence as Economy, as Art, and Charity Caso attempts to create an aposteriori metaphysics based on the “current” results of science supplemented by the intuitions of art and morality. In doing so, Caso believes that he has enlarged the scope of the knowable to include objects of art, morality, and religion. Unamuno, by accepting the strict line of demarcation between faith and reason has no other recourse but to turn to decisionism. By turning to intuitionism, Caso believes that he has blurred the line of demarcation. Decisionism and intuitionism, therefore, are worthy of further exploration.
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Review Quotes

”Candelaria shows that Unamuno’s and Caso’s philosophical concerns are not exclusive of particular groups or countries; on the contrary, they are problems which occupied their contemporaries and which are not yet resolved. Their analysis and discussion is therefore still pertinent in our days … Candelaria considers that Unamuno and Caso are not really philosophers but essay-writers who philosophize as men of “flesh and bone” about philosophical issues. Candelaria is right to note and contextualize the importance of Unamuno and Caso, as well as their influence in the next generations. Their followers, even when critical of work, used their ideas to back up their alternative searches and proposals in the fields of culture and philosophy … This book is addressed to a non-specialized public since its structure and language are accessible to novices in philosophy and readers who barely know Unamuno or Caso. It thus adequately fulfils its informative objective. Its main achievement is to richly contextualize Unamuno’s and Caso’s thought with philosophical schools and canonical authors of different periods and latitudes, European and English-speaking in particular, as well as with references to Spanish American authors and currents of thought which are less known to the Anglo-speaking reader … I believe it is a useful essay for those who take an interest in knowing more about the Spanish or the Mexican.” – María Cristina Campos Fuentes (translated by Stella Villarmea), in: L’Érudit franco-espagnol, Vol. 3, Spring 2013

Table of contents

Editorial Foreword
Miguel de Unamuno
Philosopher of Spiritual Innards
Consciousness and Life: ¿Para Qué?
The Longing for Immortality and Pascal’s Doubt
Failed Solutions and Dissolutions
The Way Out: A Quixotic Basis for Practical Ethics
Egoism and Sacrifice: The Existentialism of Antonio Caso
Toward an Anti-Positivist Philosophy
Making Way for a Metaphysics of Morality
Existence as Economy, as Art, and as Morality
From Psychological Egoism to Moral Altruism
Coda: Variations of the Modern Problem
About the Author