Talk:Aztec philosophy

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Unbalanced and fanciful article[edit]

This article seems to rest entirely on a few (two) very fanciful interpretations of the sources to the aztec culture. I removed some completely unsubstaniated claims of about the nature of teotl and aztec "philosophy"s supposed likeness to religions of the east. But it still contains a large amount of pure speculation that is not supported by any mainstream interpetations of aztec thought and culture. I would prefer the article to be deleted than for it to remain in this condition.·Maunus· tlahtōlli 09:17, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

I wrote the article, and everything in the article I drew from referenced sources. Most of information for the article came from a source which is available online here. This is an Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy article. The IEP is a scholarly publication with peer-review. In other words, it's a very legitimate source. Almost everything you labeled dubious is in the article. The author of the article even cites other sources for many of the ideas you claimed were dubious, so I don't think this is an isolated interpretation of Aztec philosophy. I also used Mann's 1491 book which has about 3 pages on Aztec philosophy. I found nothing inconsistent between the book and the article. If you feel that these claims are "fanciful" or mere "speculation" please explain why you think these sources are inaccurate. Also, please provide other sources on the subject.
Also, you removed two comparisons I made between Aztec philosophy and schools of Eastern thought. I provided these examples for the purpose of comparison. I don't think they are speculative. Teotl is a dualist concept of opposites that fundamentally unified. This is similar to other dualist ideas like the ying-yang idea of Taoism. Likewise, the IEP article says that while priests believed in spiritual unity, they popularly preached polytheism, believing that the many gods represented facets of a single unity. Maffie even cites others who say the same thing about the Aztec belief system. Hinduism is known to have a similar structure were the priests are taught that the many gods are expressions of a single spiritual unity. Why can't a comparison be drawn?--Bkwillwm 05:23, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
Those comparisons can't be drawn because they are not supported by the sources. There are no sources that state what the aztecs them selves thought about a oncept such as "teotl" - no mentions of teotl as a immanent force unerlying creation or all deities being facets of a single unity. There are also no sources that mention anyhing akin to an "aztec school of philosophy". Such ideas are interpretations of the sources where a scholar tries to draw out knowledge about aztec thought or aztec concepts by studying how the sources talk about those concepts. But it is interpretation and speculation not fact because the sources themselves do not mention these things. Speculation and interpretation in it self is not necessarily bad because it is in fact the only way we can reach understanding of the aztecs - but it must never be thought to reflect objective fact and it must always be stated clearly on which sources and which arguments such speculatins and interpretations are based, this article mentions none of the sources on which the speculations are based. Speculation and interpretation becomes problematic if it is fanciful, for example if it strains the facts of the sources or it it draws conclusion that are not supported by the sources. In my opinion this entire artcile relies on two source that provide fanciful interpretations of fact. The scolarly material on aztec thought and belief is enormous and this article ignores most of it and uses only two sources. Mann is not an aztec scholar primarly he must have used other peoples work to draw conclusions about thw aztecs , very likely both he and Maffie bases their conclusion on Miguel Leon Portillas works on aztec philosophy. Manns 1491 book has an agenda that is showing that the indigenous americans were just as civilized as the europeans, of course it serves this purpose to paint the aztecs as having a well developed "school of philosophy" even if this is not corroborated by sources at all. The Maffie source seems to me to be an attempt at wringing philosophical terminology out of the concepts of aztec religion: effectively turning the aztec theocracy into a conglomerate of eastern mysticists and existentialist philosophers. Again completely baseless ideas. This is an example of undue eight. For this article to work it needs to show explicitly upon which first hand sources are drawn, use a much wider range of interpretations and describe them in way so that it is clear how the conclusions are drawn. Other writers that are more well known and rpresent more well established views of Aztec thought and culture include the following:
Miguel Leon Portilla has always been known for drawing fanciful conclusions but at least he uses the sources, knos how to use them and explicitly states which ones he use so hat it is plain for everyone to see when he draws unssupported conclusions. Another more or less fanciful but useful interpretation of aztec thought is found in the books by Christian Duverger. The works by Laurette Sejourne describe aztec thought in a new age framework as does the works of Carlos Castaneda and these are about as fanciful as the maffie source. The bst source would be works by anthropologists on mesoamerican and aztec religion - because these do not tend to indulge in the grand scale idealization of aztec culture and belief that most of the before mentioned writers do.·Maunus· tlahtōlli 10:25, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
Mann's 1491 does seem to draw most of its information from Leon-Portilla. Maffie likewise cites Leon-Portilla, but he cites many other works and its seems like he has done a fair amount of research in this area. Of course, other sources should be included and I didn't mean to give undue weight to any particular view. I just had two sources at my disposal and I drew up a quick and short article based on their information. While other viewpoints should be added, I think these are perfectly legitimate viewpoints to include. I will add some wording to the article to make it clearer that these viewpoints are not the result of explicit statements of philosophy in Aztec writing, but rather scholarly interpretation of available sources. If there is published criticism of Maffie or Leon-Portilla, that should be included too, but I don't think their research should be dismissed altogether.--Bkwillwm 21:02, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
I will try to work towards balancing the article in a way so that it doesn't provide statements that aren't upported by facts. Any viewpoint published is admissible but the weighting of it should be balanced and readers shouldn't be mislead into thinking that these views are the only ones nor the most accepted ones. I will drag up contrary sources to the best of my ability and try to balance out the article together with you.·Maunus· tlahtōlli 21:42, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

This article mentions the Greeks but does not mention the Hindus. The usual comparison of Aztecs with European philosophy or religion. I object because this seems Eurocentric, to me since Hindu philosophy is older than Greek philosophy and more relevant here since there are so many parallels. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:54, 1 October 2012 (UTC)


Could someone provide a list of extant Aztec and early colonial Aztec texts and codacies on Aztec philosophy? That could help make this page less speculative and more useful. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Bodha2 (talkcontribs) 21:51, 9 March 2016 (UTC)

The most salient source for Aztec philosophy is book 6 of the Florentine Codex. At some point soon, I'll edit this article to include information from that and other primary source documents. RGVLiterature (talk) 21:11, 5 April 2016 (UTC)

I have added a short section listing some codices.Bodha2 (talk) 02:00, 6 February 2017 (UTC)