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Ferrater Mora and the Preservation and Publication of Letters

While Ferrater Mora was busy doing research, teaching philosophy, writing his monumental Dictionary, formulating his own views on the world, taking photographs, making movies and videos, he was also writing letters. He preserved many, perhaps all, of the letters he received. Displaying his love of order, he carefully placed them in alphabetical order, often arranging the letters from a particular person in chronological order. This collection includes letters from both the well-known and the completely unknown.

Ferrater also preserved a second, much smaller number of letters that he apparently considered more personal. He kept these letters in a separate location. He was not careful, however, in preserving his own letters.

A word must be added about the publication of letters, especially the letters of someone who is no longer alive, for it may seem to be an invasion of privacy. When Antoni Turull was editing the letters between Ferrater Mora and Joan Oliver, he asked Ferrater if there were any passages or comments that he did not wish published. Ferrater's answer was, "If I wrote it, you can publish it." His attitude was "Let the chips fall where they may," or, in the vernacular, "Let it all hang out." After reading Joc de cartes, Josep-María Terricabras, Founder and Director of the Ferrater Mora Chair of Comtemporary Thought, expressed the view that Ferrater was conscious of the fact that his letters might one day be published and wrote accordingly, or at least that Ferrater was aware that his letters to Oliver might become accessible to the public. Ferrater was 35 years old when he wrote the first letter that is preserved in that book. At that age, it seems unlikely that Ferrater thought his letters would be published, but who knows? The reader will have to draw his or her own conclusions. What is clear is that Ferrater did not oppose the publication of those letters, and probably, with the possible exception of one or two letters, would not oppose the publication of any of his letters.