Carlos Vaz Ferreira (1872–1958) was Uruguay’s leading twentieth-century philosopher. He worked on social and political philosophy, moral philosophy, aesthetics, and feminism. Considered to be one of Latin America’s most original thinkers, Vaz Ferreira’s philosophy was nonetheless responsive to and, in some cases, influenced by the work of a number of other figures. This article explores Vaz Ferreira’s roots in the thought of Herbert Spencer, Charles Darwin, Dr. Gregorio Marañón, Benito Jerónimo Feijóo y Montenegro, Harald Höffding, Hugo Münsterberg, Wilhelm Dilthey, Miguel de Unamuno, John Stuart Mill, William James, José Enrique Rodó, and Henri Bergson. His feminist philosophy was influenced by his sister, María Eugenia Vaz Ferreira, Dr. Paulina Luisi, and other suffragists. I seek to distinguish among the influences Vaz Ferreira ultimately rejected, those he could not escape, those he adapted, and those he most favored as he developed his unique philosophy of freedom.
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