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Ferrater Mora and written expression

Ferrater Mora's intense concern with the language he used to express his own ideas can be seen by the fact that he had to struggle against the constant temptation to rewrite and refine the language of his earlier books and essays. He mentions this desire in his "Confesion preliminar" of his Obras selectas (1967) and again in the "Prólogo a la nueva edición" of Las palabras y los hombres

Both Moron Arroyo, the thinker, and Joan Oliver, the poet, mention the clarity of Ferrater Mora's writing. Moron Arroyo has said that Ferrater Mora's writing is characterized by grace and irony. Oliver has described Ferrater Mora as, "a philosopher who loves language almost as much as a poet loves it. To be sure, his love of language is a thinker's love. Since the subject matter of philosophy is thought, the literary style must confine itself to the expression and molding of thought, but there is no reason why this language should not combine precision with beauty. When that happens we obtain the limpidity and clarity that are characteristic of Ferrater Mora's philosophical prose. He has the will and the power to clarify the often labyrinthine ways of the wisdom to which he has devoted his life." Both Moron Arroyo and Oliver also remark on the increasing transparency of Ferrater Mora's writing.

If we examine the evolution of Ferrater Mora's writing from his earliest book, Cóctel de verdad (A True Cocktail or A Real Cocktail, not a Cocktail of Truth), to his later books, his increasingly skillful mastery of language is evident. He makes a conscious effort, "to pluck out," as Oliver says, "all verbosity." Ferrater Mora acknowledges as much in the initial note to Fundamentos de filosofia, where he asserted that he has tried to express his ideas in a more efficient and direct way.

Ferrater Mora's interest in language was not limited, however, to a concern for the language that he used to express his ideas; he was interested in language per se. He returns to questions concerning the nature of language again and again. Often he speaks of the problems of translating from one language to another, while at other times he investigates the use of language to formulate ideas, to give a picture of the world, to elicit emotion and so forth. No doubt this concern for language helps to explain his production of novels and short stories in his later life.

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