Aztec Philosophy: Understanding a World in Motion

Aztec Philosophy: Understanding a World in Motion


By (author) James Maffie

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  • Publisher: University Press of Colorado
  • Format: Hardback | 512 pages
  • Dimensions: 163mm x 236mm x 43mm | 953g
  • Publication date: 15 March 2014
  • Publication City/Country: Colorado
  • ISBN 10: 1607322226
  • ISBN 13: 9781607322221
  • Illustrations note: 69 line drawings
  • Sales rank: 1,245,499

Product description

In "Aztec Philosophy," James Maffie reveals a highly sophisticated and systematic Aztec philosophy worthy of consideration alongside European philosophies of their time. Bringing together the fields of comparative world philosophy and Mesoamerican studies, Maffie excavates the distinctly philosophical aspects of Aztec thought. "Aztec Philosophy" focuses on the ways Aztec metaphysics--the Aztecs' understanding of the nature, structure and constitution of reality--underpinned Aztec thinking about wisdom, ethics, politics, and aesthetics, and served as a backdrop for Aztec religious practices as well as everyday activities such as weaving, farming, and warfare. Aztec metaphysicians conceived reality and cosmos as a grand, ongoing process of weaving--theirs was a world in motion. Drawing upon linguistic, ethnohistorical, archaeological, historical, and contemporary ethnographic evidence, Maffie argues that Aztec metaphysics maintained a processive, transformational, and non-hierarchical view of reality, time, and existence along with a pantheistic theology. "Aztec Philosophy" will be of great interest to Mesoamericanists, philosophers, religionists, folklorists, and Latin Americanists as well as students of indigenous philosophy, religion, and art of the Americas.

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Author information

James Maffie is a visiting associate professor in the Department of Philosophy and affiliate of the Latin American Studies Program at the University of Maryland.

Review quote

"An elaborate, fascinating, and crucially important study of Aztec metaphysics . . . Maffie sets out to prove that the Aztecs not only had a philosophy, and a radically different one from the Greco-Christian West, but did philosophy as well. His account of this philosophy is fascinating and important, worthy of the best anthropology. Marshaling evidence from a number of sources (textual, graphic, archaeological) and necessarily disputing the claims of some of his scholarly predecessors, he describes a metaphysics so foreign to Western-Christian thinking that it should and must make us pause and consider the ground of Western philosophy and religion." --David Eller, "Anthropology Review Database"