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Emilio Lledó

Princess of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities 2015

Emilio Lledó Íñigo (Seville, 5th November 1927) graduated in Philosophy from the University of Madrid (1952) and studied at the University of Heidelberg (Germany) for three years on a scholarship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. There, he had the chance to immerse himself in German post-war philosophy and to become acquainted with Hans-Georg Gadamer, Karl Löwith and Otto Regenbogen.

The last of these philosophers steered him towards classic philology. He returned to the University of Madrid in 1955 as an assistant lecturer, where he earned his PhD in 1956. A year later, he returned to the University of Heidelberg as a Spanish conversation assistant and in 1964 obtained the Chair in Foundations of Philosophy and History of Philosophical Systems at the University of La Laguna (Tenerife). He moved to Barcelona in 1967 to take up the History of Philosophy Chair. In 1978, he joined Spain’s National Distance Education University (UNED), Madrid, as Professor of Philosophy, where he was to remain until his retirement. Life member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin (1988), he was elected member of the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE) in 1993, occupying the “l” chair and the position of academic librarian between 1998 and 2006. He also chaired the expert committee that drew up the Report for Reforming State-Owned Media (2005).

He has played an important role in the recovery of Greek philosophy and Hellenism in Spain and has contributed to the development of hermeneutics within the field of contemporary Spanish philosophy. Lledó believes that language is an essential element in thinking and in the way humans integrate into society and nature. He thinks that philosophy is no other than meditation on this integration and the history of the philosophy is understood as the collective memory of the complex process followed by humanity. Author of over a hundred research papers, he has published articles in the most prestigious international philosophical journals and has written around twenty books, including El silencio de la escritura (1981), for which he won the National Essay Prize in 1992; Memoria de la ética (1995); Lenguaje e historia (1996); Imágenes y palabras: ensayos de humanidades (1998); El epicureísmo (2003); Elogio de la infelicidad (2006); Filosofía y lenguaje (2008); Ensayos para una educación democrática (2009), El origen del diálogo y de la ética. Una introducción al pensamiento de Platón y Aristóteles (2011) and Los libros y la libertad (2013). He also publishes current affairs articles in the El Pais newspaper.

Member of the International Institute of Philosophy, Lledó holds the Grand Cross of the Civil Order of Alfonso X the Wise and honorary degrees from the Universities of La Laguna, the Balearic Islands and Lleida. Holder of the honorific title of “Favourite Son” of Andalucía in 2003, he has been distinguished with the Alexander von Humboldt Prize (Germany, 1990), the International Menendez Pelayo Award (2004), the Fernando Lazaro Carreter Award (2007), the Maria Zambrano Award from the Junta de Andalucía (2008), the Giner de los Ríos Award of Seville (2013), the José Luis Sampedro Award from the “Getafe Negro” Festival (2014), the Antonio de Sancha Award from the Madrid Publishers Association (2014), the Pedro Henríquez Ureña International Essay Prize from the Mexican Academy of Language (2014) and the National Prize for Spanish Letters (2014), among others.

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