What Is Philosophy? contains a series of lectures that José Ortega y Gasset gave in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1928 and then in Madrid, Spain, in 1929. The lectures were not a traditional academic course in philosophy introducing the perennial problems in the field but a course that analyzed the very activity of philosophizing. Ortega explains that in the last half of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth, the prestige of philosophy suffered under the “imperialism of physics.” Physics owed its success to its uniting within itself the rigor of mathematical deduction, the confirmability of its findings through observation, and the opportunity of making the world more comfortable through technology. Philosophy could boast of nothing comparable. However, by the end of the first quarter of the twentieth century, philosophy rebounded. One reason for this was the demotion of physics as the paradigm of knowledge. A second reason was a dissatisfaction with the individual sciences, which provide only those parts of reality that come within the province of their methods, unlike philosophy, which offers a total view, being rooted in a vital need to know, or to attain a synoptic vision of, the whole.