- Published: September 6, 2022
- Updated: September 6, 2022
- University / College: University of Wollongong
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The Philosophies Influencing Latin America & other Social Diversity
Some of the philosophies that influenced Latin America date back to pre Cabralian and pre Columbian times (Oliver, 1998). That is prior to 1500 and 1492 in Brazil and Hispanic America respectively. Centuries before the Europeans’ arrival in America, Autochthonous cultures, especially the Tupi-Guarani, Incas and Aztecs resulted in refined thought systems. These philosophies were deeply set in the supernatural world, and the natives focused on learning ways of appeasing the spirits (Oliver, 1998). When the Catholics started establishing schools, seminaries, convents and monasteries in the 16th century, academic philosophies also began taking form and were gradually developed throughout the 17th century. The Jesuits generation perpetuated the intellectual traditionalism up to the mid 18th century, and then they tried to modernize the thought of Aristotle. Political chaos hindered the widening of the academic philosophy at the start of the 19th century, but later, positivism was well established in majority of the Latin American countries (Gaus & Courtland, 2011). New intellectual movements erupted as a reaction against anti positivism in the early 20th century.
Between the 16th and 17th centuries, the philosophies in Latin America had a tendency to strengthen medieval ideas (Oliver, 1998). The Portuguese and Spanish were, therefore, influenced to take up medieval land ownership systems including the relationships between the servants and their masters. The natives were treated as slaves. However, with the Latin Americans’ growing awareness of new philosophies and ideas in Europe and North America, they began adopting them but at a very slow pace (Gaus & Courtland, 2011). For instance, the idea of democracy was relatively established in America by the end of the 1700s, but it took much longer for Latin America to adopt democracy. Marxist philosophy has influenced the continued punitive justice systems, issues of power and human rights. Most of the cultures are still based on the thoughts that Marxist theories describe reality accurately.
Caudillos ascended to power mostly by illegal and violent means, although some were highly educated in theology (Oliver, 1998). There were groups of caudillos that were social liberals, while others favored free markets. However, most hindered the separation of state from government. During their rule, Latin American natives were forced into labor and peasants worked the land for long hours. They also took away the right of the middle class citizens to vote or own land. They ensured that the ruling class was comprised of social elites and land owners who promoted urban growth and took control of political systems. Those were key contributing factors towards the difficulties faced by Latin American countries in establishing democratic governments.
The impact of the encroachment of the Europeans on the third world included introduction of diseases like smallpox, malaria and measles. A growing demand for cotton, coffee and sugar resulted in the Europeans’ need for slaves and an introduction of new crops to the new world. Eventually, Indians were displaced and Africans enslaved. Although the Europeans spread technology not seen by the new world before, they also facilitated the eradication of the natives of the new world by disease, exploitation and forced labor. Another significant impact was the loss of culture by the natives. This resulted in the natives heavily depending on Europe both culturally and economically (Sayre, 2013).
Gaus, G. & Courtland, S. (2011). Liberalism. Retrieved from http://plato. stanford. edu/archives/spr2011/entries/liberalism/>/
Oliver, A. (1998). Latin America philosophy. London: Routledge.
Sayre, H. M. (2013). Discovering the humanities (2nd ed.). New Jersey: Pearson.
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