The Latin American Philosophy Homepage

Related:  Graduate School & Latin American Philosophy 


When I first started teaching this material in the late 1990s, the challenge was to find enough material that was available in translation, so that it could be taught to students who can't read the relevant original languages. Now, though, there are several anthologies, a growing secondary literature, and a lot more texts in translation. (Nevertheless, there remains plenty of low-hanging fruit for translation-minded folks!) Below is a list of some of that work. There is plenty more out there, but the aspiration of this page is to get you started. I've focused on books. However, you should also take a look at the free database of papers and articles on Latin American philosophy at Phil Papers.

What is Latin American Philosophy?

There has been lots of argument about this issue, and there is a significant literature within Latin American philosophy concerning just this issue. For a concise and helpful overview, see the excellent entry on Latin American philosophy in the Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy.
    That said, I tend to favor an expansive notion of Latin American philosophy that includes philosophy produced in Latin American and any philosophy that is responsive to that work or primarily aimed at engaging with philosophers based in Latin America. On this conception of Latin American philosophy, there is no one thing that constitutes Latin American philosophy. Rather, it is a collection of sometimes overlapping but frequently distinct philosophical communities and approaches that include many of the categories familiar to the U.S. (analytic and Continental philosophy) but also autochthonous movements (culturalist philosophy, the philosophy of liberation), unusual strands of familiar traditions (a phenomenological tradition tracing back primarily to Hartmann and Scheler
rather than Husserl and Heidegger), and in some places, there remains a strong influence from Marxist and Thomistic traditions. In short, Latin American philosophy is straightforwardly part of the larger Western philosophical tradition, but it has its own history of how those influences played out, sometimes yielding distinctive positions that aren't part of the canonical tradition you will have learned as an undergraduate or in graduate school.


What should I read?

For an expansive set of overviews on the Latin American universe, see A Companion to Latin American Philosophy, edited by Nuccetelli, Schutte, and Bueno. It is more comprehensive than anything else out there in English. Unfortunately, it is also ridiculously expensive.

For primary source material, I strongly recommend reading the original material in its entirety, rather than selections from much longer texts. However, any of these anthologies can get you started with (mostly) selections from the diverse primary source materials out there.The Mendieta volume lean towards contemporary works; the Gracia & Millan volume and the Nuccetelli and Seay are primarily historical.

  1. Gracia & Millan-Zaibert, eds., Latin American Philosophy for the 21st Century
  2. Mendieta, ed., Latin American Philosophy: Currents, Issues, Debates
  3. Nuccetelli & Seay, eds., Latin American Philosophy: An Introduction with Readings

Some anthologies and monographs with more specialized subject matters:

There are a variety of historically significant philosophers based in Latin America who have had English-language translations of one or another monograph in print. Most of that work is now out of print, but among those volumes are:

And, of course, there are some reasonably available texts by Las Casas and Sor Juana.

The most widely available work in contemporary Latin American philosophy may be writings by and responding to Enrique Dussel

For representative work tied primarily indebted to or concerned with post-coloniality, see these:

Lots of recent work that has been in conversation with Latin American philosophy might be regarded as Latino philosophy. Some representative texts:

Besides the above figures already mentioned, there is an important body of excellent work in mainline analytic philosophy by Latin American-born philosophers. See the work of, for example, Mario Bunge, Hector-Neri Casta–eda, Agust’n Rayo, and Ernest Sosa, among others. There are important groups of analytic philosophers operating in various places in Latin America, including The Instituto de Investigaciones Filos—ficas, as well as U.S.-based groups of analytic philosophers from Latin America, such as the American Association of Mexican Philosophers.

Last updated on 8/15/11.