Carlos Pérez Soto
Carlos Pérez Soto (born October 6, 1954 in Santiago de Chile) is a Chilean teacher of physics, lecturer at various universities and a social sciences researcher, author of works of a broad thematic spectrum: philosophy of science and epistemology, political philosophy and Marxism, history of dance, anti-psychiatry.
In 1972 he joined the Faculty of Education at the University of Chile for the career of Pedagogy in Physics. In 1979, he obtained the state degree of a (qualified) Teacher of Physics, which is his only formal academic degree. Although he began his studies in the heyday of the student movement's political participation during the government of Salvador Allende, he spent most of his life as a student during the years of the Chilean military dictatorship.
Between 1975 and 1999 he worked as a secondary school teacher of physics in schools and colleges of Santiago.
In 1984, he began teaching in higher education at the Institute of Arts and Social Sciences, which gathered intellectuals who opposed Pinochet's dictatorship and which in 1991 became the University known until today as ARCIS. He continued as a university professor, teaching epistemology and philosophy of science in psychology departments, first at the Diego Portales University and later at the University of Chile. In the late 80's he was already well known among students and scholars for his critical approach, his Marxist analysis and concrete policy proposals. In this context, he received invitations to give lectures and conferences at numerous Chilean universities so that the following years were characterized by an intense teaching activity.
In the last decade he has taught regular courses and elective seminars at the University of Chile (Faculty of Law), at the Catholic University of Valparaiso (School of Psychology), the Andrés Bello National University (School of Sociology), at University of Santiago (Department of Philosophy), Academy of Christian Humanism University (Dance School) and at the Finis Terrae University (School of Theatre).
In the late 90's he also started giving some seminars and conferences outside Chile, at the Autonomous University of Barcelona on Hegel (1997) and Marxism (1999), as well as in Cali, at the Universidad del Valle on epistemology and dialectics (1998).
At the ARCIS University, where he has focused his academic work, besides teaching in regular courses at the School of Psychology, (Psychological Theories and Systems) and the School of Sociology (Epistemology; Classics of social thought - Marx, Science, Technology and society), Philosophy (Philosophy of Science), Political Science (Theory of power and the state) and Pedagogy of Dance (Dance History), he served as senior researcher at the Center for Social Research as well as Coordinator of Academic Informatics.
As a Marxist intellectual he has been interviewed with some frequency by the leftist press, mainly because he has made relevant theoretical contributions to the political discussion. In the context of the student movement of 2011 and 2012, he actively participated providing analysis and proposals for the transformation of the Chilean educational model.
Even among scholars of Hegel and of the reception of Hegel and Marx at the Frankfurt School, particularly by Herbert Marcuse, Carlos Perez is a regular speaker at international meetings. In addition to the vast educational activity in regular and elective courses at the universities, there is a number of free biannual seminars, which he has been giving since 2009 about the Phenomenology of the Spirit of Hegel, on Marxism and Psychoanalysis, Critical Theory of Law, History of Marxism, Carl Sagan: Introduction to the current natural philosophy.
Since 2009 he also teaches as a professor of epistemology in several graduate programs (masters and doctorate) at the university Andrés Bello and the ARCIS University, addressing in his classes and seminars the critical reflection on methodological aspects of the social sciences. He usually presents himself as a teacher of physics, which intends to be "a provocation against the academic establishment", as he has declared. The national press, however, prefers to cite him as "a great epistemologist".
Since 2013 he has decided to publish his books under a Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND (which allows you to copy and distribute the texts freely and at no costs, provided that the source is mentioned; the works can't be altered or used for commercial purposes).
Theoretical contribution and main ideas
In epistemology, he has developed a historical and dialectical analysis of the concept of science, more precisely:
- The development of the idea that the scientific method should be considered as a logic for the legitimation of the scientific community;
- the proposal for a rational reconstruction of the history of philosophy of science from which it is possible to criticize the claim to truth that follows the scientific method;
- the development of a historical concept of science based on a Marxist critique of the epistemological anarchism of Paul Feyerabend;
- the formulation of a critique of the prevailing public subjectivity of the middle classes starting from a historical and social concept of modern psychology.
From a political point of view, Carlos Pérez places his theoretical approach and proposals for the political practice in the "Hegelian Marxism", a stance which, as he points out, could be constituted within the philosophical foundations for the purpose of the emergence of a new type of Marxism. Here the following contributions stand out:
- The idea that the bureaucracy should be considered a social class in the Marxist sense of the term;
- the formulation of a Marxist critique of the ruling regime in socialist countries, based on the concept of bureaucracy as a class;
- conducting a review of the processes of objective bureaucratization occurred in advanced capitalism;
- the proposal of the reconstruction of Marxist theory based on a materialist reading of Hegel's philosophy.
His proposals for a new anti-psychiatry are also a political program. They focus on a profound critique of the psychiatric practices, on the need for an unmedicalization and de-privatization of the symptoms, in order to return the problems to the scope of their actual causes, origins and perpetuation: the social sphere. Among other differences with the anti-psychiatry postulates of the twentieth century ( Laing, Cooper or Basaglia), the "new" anti-psychiatry that Perez Soto promotes is one that also overcomes the paternalistic aspects of the psychiatric house as a "shelter", going beyond the logic of organizing a more humane or better quality psychiatric care, paving the way for an anti-psychiatry which arises from the persons themselves that are affected. Apart from a summary and historical connection of the different moments of critical psychiatry and anti-psychiatry, two specific contributions of Carlos Perez stand out:
- The development of a critique of the medicalization processes of behavioral disturbances;
- the proposal of distinctions to criticize the medicalization and commodification of modern medicine.
The following contributions in the field of art and dance are important:
- His proposal of a theoretically founded reconstruction of modern dance history in its European tradition and throughout the twentieth century;
- his proposal of technical style distinctions in contemporary dance;
- his proposals or theoretical distinctions regarding the political art, political use of art and particular politics of the art guild itself.
With his second book Comentar obras de danza (Discussing Works of Dance), he ended his excursion through the history of dance. As he explains, because he wants to return to the core of his developments.
I usually write about Marxism, that's the center of all my thoughts. From there I ventured into epistemology and philosophy of science, critical psychology and anti-psychiatry. From now on I will probably write more about the Hegelian philosophy, to which I have devoted many years of study. Except in the most general subjects of aesthetics and art history, this book marks for me the end of a period, and a farewell.
Pérez Soto, C. Comentar obras de danza, p. 244, February 2012
- Sobre la condición social de la psicología (On the social condition of psychology). 1st edition, ARCIS - LOM, Santiago, October 1996, 2nd extended edition LOM, Santiago, 2009, ISBN 978-956-00-0108-5
- Epistemología de la ciencia (Epistemology of science). Published by Instituto de Educación y Pedagogía, Universidad del Valle, Santiago de Cali, Colombia, March 1998,
- Sobre un concepto histórico de ciencia (On a historical concept of science). 1st edition, ARCIS - LOM, Santiago, October 1998, 2nd revised edition, LOM, Santiago, July 2008, ISBN 956282991X, 978-956-282-991-5
- Comunistas otra vez, para una crítica del poder burocrático (Communists once again, towards a critique of the bureaucratic power). 1st edition, ARCIS - LOM, Santiago, 2001, 2nd revised edition, LOM, Santiago, July 2008, ISBN 978-956-282-988-5
- Sobre Hegel (On Hegel). 1st edition, Editorial Palinodia, Santiago, 2006, 2nd revised edition, LOM, Santiago, 2010, ISBN 956843805X, 978-956-843-805-0
- Proposición de un marxismo hegeliano (Proposal of a Hegelian Marxism). 1st edition, Editorial Universidad ARCIS, Santiago, 2008. 2nd revised and extended edition, published on the Internet under a Creative Commons license, 2013
- Proposiciones en torno a la historia de la danza (Propositions around the history of dance). Editorial LOM, Santiago, 2008, ISBN 9560000071, 978-956-00-0007-1
- Desde Hegel, para una crítica radical de las ciencias sociales (From Hegel, towards a radical critique of the social sciences). Editorial Itaca, Mexico City, Mexico, 2008, ISBN 9689325116, 978-968-93-2511-6
- Una nueva antipsiquiatría (A new anti-psychiatry). Editorial LOM, Santiago, 2012, ISBN 978-956-00-0361-4
- Comentar obras de danza (Commenting works of dance). Published on the Internet under a Creative Commons license, 2013
- Marxismo y movimiento popular (Marxism and popular movement). Published on the Internet under a Creative Commons license, 2013
- En defensa de un marxismo hegeliano (In defense of a Hegelian Marxism), in Chilean edition of Actuelle Marx, ARCIS, 2003 (Paper presented to the Congress Kommunismus, at the Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany, in November 2003)
- La danza como forma artística (Dance as a form of art), Revista Aisthesis Nº 43, Instituto de Estética, Universidad Católica de Chile, julio de 2008
- Derecho a la violencia y violencia del derecho (Right to violence and violence of the law), Revista Derecho y Humanidades N° 20, Facultad de Derecho, Universidad de Chile, 2012. Publicado en Brasil en la revista Arma da Critica, N° 4, diciembre de 2012, indexada en Latindex.
- Vaguedad en el realismo jurídico (Vagueness in Legal Realism), Revista Derecho y Humanidades N° 19, Facultad de Derecho, Universidad de Chile, 2012
- Academic curriculum at the website of the University of Chile
- On Carlos Pérez Soto at the web site of the Faculty of Law
- Texto de seminario en Cali Archived March 23, 2014, at the Wayback Machine., formato PDF
- Entrevista en Revista Punto final diciembre de 2008
- Clase magistral en la Universidad Austral de Chile sobre la transformación del modelo educativo] 15 de noviembre de 2012.
- Nota en el Diario Universidad de Chile
- Carlos Pérez dictó charlas en Alemania sobre 40 años de neoliberalismo en Chile Archived March 23, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. Boletín de noticias de la Universidad Arcis
- Seminario de medico international 16 de septiembre de 2013 (en alemán)
- Aprender de Chile: Neoliberalismo y protesta Foro en Frankfurt,12 de septiembre de 2013 (en alemán)
- Conferencia internacional, "Adorno, 100 años", en el Goethe-Institut El Mercurio, 3 de octubre de 2003]
- Anuncio del curso “Hegel y las ciencias sociales” Universidad autónoma de México, febrero de 2008
- Presentación de Pérez Soto en un programa de postgrado de la Universidad Andrés Bello
- Entrevista en “El Ciudadano”: A la señora Bachelet no le conviene ser presidenta
- Evidencias y Clarividencias El Mercurio, 18 de noviembre de 2007.
- Official site which offers download of some of his works licensed under Creative Commons.
- Site dedicated to translations of Carlos Pérez's works