The Life of Reason (Great Books in Philosophy) [George Santayana] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Comparing the lived world with the. The Life of Reason has 62 ratings and 7 reviews. Roy said: George Santayana, in both his life and mind, was the embodiment of several contradictions. He. The Life of Reason: Reason in Religion [George Santayana] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. This is a reproduction of a book published.


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What would be the ideal Life of Reason for one man is a living nightmare for another.

We can only prune and harmonize the desires we are given; we cannot manufacture desires and change our natures. We are george santayana life of reason a set of george santayana life of reason and potentialities, and it is the task of a reasonable life to realize them as best we can.

This, I think, is the core of this book; yet it is far from being the only attraction. He commences a survey of governments, and concludes that a timocracy or meritocracy is the best form. Santayana would have total equality of opportunity, not in order to establish a perfect communism, but to select those whose natures are the best fitted to advance.

The Life of Reason by George Santayana |

Thus, he advocates a kind of natural aristocracy. Santayana explores the history of morals and the morals of history; he discusses science and its purported rivals. He is an ardent naturalist, and espouses a rather pragmatic view of truth: When Santayana wrote this book, he was living in a time that was, in one respect at least, very similar to our own: Like now, there were several thorny atheists ridiculing and dismissing religion as nonsense; and, like now, there were dogmatists who took their myths literally.

Santayana is george santayana life of reason home in neither camp; he thinks both views miss the point entirely.

The Life of Reason: Five Volumes in One

Religious rituals and myths should be treated like poetry; they do not represent literal truths, but moral ones. To mistake the story in the Book of Genesis for a scientific hypothesis would be as egregious as mistaking Paradise Lost for a phonebook.

Thus, both the bilious atheists and the doctrinaire devotees were overlooking what was beautiful in religion: Mythical thinking has its roots in reality, but, like a plant, touches the ground only at one end.

It stands unmoved and flowers wantonly into the air, transmuting into unexpected and richer forms the substances it sucks from the soil.

This brings me to my original point: So george santayana life of reason like Descartes and Berkeley are transcendental posers, inflexibly denying in theory what they unhesitatingly affirm in practice. When we interact with, manipulate, engage, or otherwise encounter what we experience as physical objects, we are imbuing essences with intent—giving them a material existence they can never literally have.

Santayana, George | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

The psyche is, very simply, the material manifestation of mind and as such it george santayana life of reason imbued with, defined by, and stricken with belief. When one is intuiting essences without the addition of belief in their existence—be it a revery, daydream, or performative trance as in a locked moment of harmonious activity—one is communing spiritually with the realm of essence.

This raises the issue of skepticism: As a skeptic Descartes was half-hearted according to Santayana as regards naturalism he also accused his contemporary John Dewey of thisin that he thought skepticism ceased with awareness of the self.

So where Descartes had sought the most indubitable knowledge, and proceeded on the principle that such a thing could be achieved, Santayana tries to show in George santayana life of reason that the principle of indubitable knowledge is itself a paradox; when knowledge is tested by way of a radical skepticism, and certainty is the ultimate goal, the paradox is that certainty is achieved only at the cost of knowledge itself.

So the goal of SAF is to bankrupt Cartesianism, and in doing so to suggest a new starting point for philosophy. That starting point is animal faith, the tacit acceptance of material reality as the source of understanding, knowledge, and common sense.

The Life of Reason: Five Volumes in One by George Santayana

The realm of essence should be understood to have a certain primacy since it is infinite and pertains to all of the forms or definite character embodiments that material objects and events may take on. Essence is what Santayana defines as the most radical sense in which anything is or has a character.

The catch however is that Santayana is a thoroughgoing materialist, in that he holds that no form can appear to human intuition without the previous establishment george santayana life of reason material conditions for that form to arise.


Those external george santayana life of reason define human life and mark off the boundaries between human understanding and the unfathomable depths of material existence. Santayana holds that humans know matter only at a remove, that is, to repeat symbolically. Whatever the reason, by 10 years before the publication of SAF Santayana had conceived truth to round out his fourfold ontology.

Truth is alleged by Santayana to be a subset of the infinite realm of essence.