Centre for Continuing Education

Philosophy Course: Philosophy of Latin America

Philosophy. Study the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality and existence.

COVID-19 update: arrangement of our courses

We are now delivering courses online and in-person. Please check the delivery format of each class before enrolling.

Please note that course materials (excluding prescribed texts) are shared electronically within 48 hours of course commencement. Printing is not available.

From its beginnings, Latin American philosophy exhibited a unique perspective on many important issues in politics, ethics, humanism, imagination and the human relationship to the natural world. During this course, we will trace its origins from the Pre-Columbian Indians and Post-Columbian Spanish occupation, through revolution and independence to the present. We will examine the works of key philosophical and literary thinkers from Latin America.


The aim of this course is for you to confidently discuss the origins and complexities of Latin American philosophy. You will also make the connection between the history of Latin American philosophy, and the general history of world philosophy.


By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • identify the main features of Latin American philosophy
  • discuss the philosophical ideas of Latin American philosophy
  • identify the different kinds of literary movements in Latin American poetry and novels
  • discuss the implications of these ideas for our own world.


Introduction to Latin American philosophical history

  • The influence of Spanish philosophers
  • The Colonial period
  • The impact of Positivism
  • The philosophy of liberation, race and social identity
  • Marxism
  • Contemporary Issues

Introduction to the literary tradition

Mistral, Neruda, Marquez, Borges and others.

The Pre-Columbian Indians

We will run through an overview of the themes and ideologies prior to European influences.

The Colonial Period

We will broadly cover the period from the 17th century to the 19th century. One remarkable example here is Sor Juana Ines de Cruz (1651-1695). She was one of the first women to construct a theory of Hispanic identity and question the status of women in Latin American society.

Positivism and its others

One of the most powerful figures in this group is Francisco Romero (1891-1962), an Argentinian Positivist who was influential in the movement to make philosophy a ‘normal’ part of Hispanic culture. He also did original work in anthropology and wrote The Theory of Man (1952). The ‘others’ are the Existentialists and Phenomenologists.

Gabriela Mistral

Gabriela Mistral was the first Latin American author to win a Nobel Prize in 1951 and her work is both lyrical and incisive. We will analyse her poems and philosophical essays.

Jorge Luis Borges

One of the most internationally loved writers of the 20th century, Jorge Luis created a wonderful world of dreams, labyrinths and mythologies. His imagination is both Latin American and universal.

Luis Villoro (1922-2014) and Pablo Neruda

Villoro was a Mexican Philosopher who explored the metaphysical concept of ‘otherness’; the limits of reason; as well as the link between knowledge and power. We will compare his philosophy to the poetic socialism of Neruda.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Marquez won a Nobel Prize 1982 for One Hundred Years of Solitude, which is considered a work of literary philosophy. We will look at his work in some depth.

The contemporary field

We will look at issues of concern to contemporary Latin philosophy.

Intended audience

Anyone with a general interest in the philosophy of Latin America.

Delivery style



Course notes will be provided electronically.


  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Course materials – yours to keep
  • CCE Statement of Completion

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