On the foundation and working of the Latinamerican Phenomenology Circle
(read by Antonio Zirión in the Business Meeting on Saturday 25)
The first time I attended a Husserl Circle meeting was in 1999, in Memphis, and an important part of what I want to say to you now derives just from the experience I lived then with you – with some of you who are also here now, and some others that I have been missing these days... It was not a spectacular experience, and as a personal experience it surely passed completely unadvertised by the great majority of colleagues then. To say it in a word, for me it was the confirmation that to postulate the need to work in a community, with a sense of a community, with similar interests and similar ends in the pursuit of sophia, has a genuine sense and is possible, and it was obviously possible because it was real there and then. The Memphis meeting was a quite successful meeting, to be sure and to say the least. But I am not referring to the specific or particular academic or philosophical advances made in that occasion. It gave me for the first time the sense of pertaining, and even being able to pertain, to a community making a truly valuable and collaborative work, and making it in the most liberal and friendly fashion, without the cumbersome formalities of bureaucracy and without the petulance of some apostles of divine truth... mostly...
And the experience was of such an enriching and stimulating character, that it was simple impossible not wanting to emulate it for the Spanish speaking world, or, more humbly, for the Latinamerican Spanish speaking world. Of course, I was not the first to think in the convenience of gathering together the Husserlian, or Phenomenologists, of Latinamerica to form a society or an association of any kind; nor the first to feel the need to have exchange and to collaborate in a more active way among us. The idea was already some years old. It was something that was so to say in the air. But it was also something that needed someone to give it a kick, or it could have rest forever and ever in its utopian heaven. And the kick was given by Guillermo Hoyos Vásquez, from Colombia, and it was given, properly speaking, to me. This was a sort of coincidence with the stimulus I already had from my visit to the Memphis meeting. And we both set the ball in motion, and called Rosemary Rizo-Patrón, whom you know from her visit to the Seattle meeting last year, from Perú, and called Roberto Walton, from Argentina, and we took the opportunity of the 14th. Interamerican Philosophy Conference, that took place in Puebla, Mexico, where I was charged with the organization of a Phenomenology Colloquium, and decided to found there, in a quiet, quick, and memorable occasion, the Círculo Latinoamericano de Fenomenología. And I was particularly happy that the word Círculo could made its way to shine in its name, because I see it as a symbol of the link I like to stress between both circles. Lester Embree was there in that founding occasion (you can see the photograph in Internet), and he will not let me lie in that I did my best effort to transmit to those that were present in Puebla the spirit I had lived in the Memphis meeting, and the need to shape our group in the same informal and friendly way, and academically in the most serious striving, as it is lived in the Husserl Circle.
The rest is a story that you can see somehow reflected in the Internet site that we have, of which I am in charge. The last time I checked, we were already 81 members in the Círculo, and applications keep on falling at a good pace. The Directory is in the page, where we have also a section of News of Phenomenology events, and some other things of interest. And bit by bit, and sometimes really slow, we are beginning to build some discussions together, and to be able to think in some big projects. In the second half of last year we started the project of compiling a Bibliography of Phenomenology in Spanish. We have now more than 1,400 records, and growing, and the bibliography is being published and constantly actualized in the Internet site. Just to give you a comparative idea, let me mention that the Husserl Bibliography of Steven Spileers (in Husserliana Dokumente Band IV) includes a little less than 700 items recorded of publications in Spanish. Of course, on the one hand our Bibliography is not only of and about Husserl, but on the other hand it is only of works in Spanish. (Spileers bibliography has in all 7184 items recorded.)
The Colloquium in which the circle was founded was called by decision of the participants, the First Latinamerican Phenomenology colloquium, and the papers presented therein, including those of Lester Embree and Bill McKenna, who were special guests of the colloquium, were already published by the Universidad de San Buenaventura, Colombia, last year, first in the journal Franciscanum, and then in a book called Fenomenología en América Latina (a book with a strange fati that has among other things avoided that I could show you here a copy, but I’m not going to tell this story right now). Now we are planning our Second Latinamerican Phenomenology Colloquium to take place in Colombia this year, most probably in October. I hope we will be making the official announcement soon in the same Internet site.
An interesting discussion within the Circle is the one dedicated to look for the words that should serve as the Circle motto, and it is interesting because it can bring out the different notions of the sense and idea of the circle itself. I will not bother you with all these ideas, but I will permit myself to tell you which is my proposal, a proposal than has won many adherents within the Circle but that has also encountered some opposition. In a sort of replica or paraphrase of the Horace phrase that Husserl uses in the end of his Epilogue to the Ideas, “Tua res agitur”, I’m proposing our motto to read Quod etiam nostra res agitur (that is, “Because also our interest is in play”, or “Because it is also our business”...), with a clear vindicative Latinamerican will, but a vindication not aggressive but peaceful, to participate in the collaborative work of a more vast, in fact a potentially world-community, because it is indeed the interest of us all that is in play in this affair of the Husserlian phenomenology, and so it has to be assumed and carried on with the sense of a shared responsibility...
And that is precisely why the Circle, or at least the members that have heard about it, have given an enthusiastic support to the proposal made by Rosemary Rizo-Patrón to you, to the Husserl Circle, to have its next meeting, the 2002 Meeting, in Lima, Perú, a proposal that was minutely made by her and that Burt Hopkins has already photocopied for you, and why I hope also that you will find herewith a great opportunity for an opening of the geographical horizons of the Circle...
With this I would finish, but let my last word here be a word of thanks to all of you for having accepted me, and also Rosemary, who I am in a certain way representing here, as members of your dear, and friendly, and in many respects excellent Circle.