Who is George Santayana?

Who is George Santayana?

June 25, 2021 Off By Felso

Spanish philosopher. He made important contributions to humanity in the fields of aesthetics, fictional philosophy and literary criticism.

Sent to Boston with her mother at the age of nine, Santayana lived in New England for 40 years. He graduated from Boston Latin School and Harvard College. After studying philosophy at the University of Berlin for two years, he returned to Harvard and completed his doctoral thesis under William James. In 1889 he became a lecturer in the philosophy department; Together with James and Josiah Royce, they formed a brilliant trio.

His work named “The Sense of Beauty (1896; The Sense of Beauty)”, which he started to write at Harvard, became a very important source for aesthetics. In the essay, which deals with the nature and elements of human aesthetic feelings, he argued that to find anything beautiful is “to fix an ideal in reality,” and that understanding why something is considered beautiful allows us to distinguish temporary ideals from “relatively permanent and universal” ideals that arise from more basic emotions. He exemplified the relationship between such aesthetic faculties and human moral faculties in his work “Interpretations of Poetry and Religion (1900; Commentary on Poetry and Religion)”.

His five-volume work “The Life of Reason or the Phases of Human ProZress (1905- 06; The Life of Reason or the Stages of Human Progress)” is based on Hegel’s “Phönomenologie des Geistes (1807; Phenomenology of Spirit, 1987)” which he read in the years we learned was inspired. In this work, which he described as “a kind of biography of the human mind”, he continued Hegel’s understanding and argued that the life of reason is not limited to intellectual activities, but that all its manifestations are the unity of reason with impulse and comprehension. Accordingly, reason was an instinct that turned on itself and became enlightened. He gave practical examples of his theory in essays collected in two volumes: “Three Philosophical Poets: Lucretius, Dante and Goethe (1910; Three Philosophical Poets: Lucretius, Dante, and Goethe)” and “Winds of Doctrine (1913; Winds of Doctrine)”; In the second volume, he extensively discussed the poetry of “Percy Bysshe Shelley” and the philosophies of Henn Bergson and Bertrand Russell.

Santayana was appointed a professor at Harvard in 1907. His mother died while he was in Europe in 1912. Sending his resignation from Europe, Santayana never returned to America, despite tempting suggestions from Harvard. He disliked the “straitjacket” of academic life and was very restless in the United States. His devotion to his Latin heritage had given his thought a striking breadth and depth, but the result was an attempt to convincingly say as much as possible in the Anglo-Saxon language, contrary to Anglo-Saxon understanding. He didn’t want to continue this tension any longer.

Santayana, who was in Oxford when World War II began, remained there throughout the war and retreated. He published “Egotism in German Philosophy” in 1916. He wrote a series of essays on the English character and rural way of life. After the war, he refused the offer of a lifetime lecturer at Oxford University.

In 1924 he settled permanently in Rome. He had always admired the Catholic and classical traditions, although he gravitated towards a philosophical materialism that regarded the world of spirit as purely thought. With three new books, he cemented his reputation as a humanist critic and man of letters; He perfectly revealed his literary side with his novel “The Last Puritan (1935; The Last Puritan)”. Santayana II. He was largely interested in fictional philosophy until World War II. With Scepticism and Anirnal Faith (1923; Skepticism and Instinctive Faith), he moved away from his earlier philosophical views; He explained the theory of directly grasped essences and described the function of instinctive belief in various forms of knowledge. He introduced the new philosophical system in his four-volume ontology work “Realms of Being (1928, 1930, 1937, 1940; Fields of Being)”. In his later works, he brought greater theoretical precision, depth and coherence to his philosophy. According to Santayana, the “field of essence” was the world of the mind’s certain and unsuspectable knowledge. Essences were universals that had a being or a reality but did not exist on their own. Among these were the intellectual objects of thought and imagination, as well as colours, tastes, and smells. The “matter realm” was the world of natural objects; the number that this world existed was based on instinctive belief, like all arguments about existence. Naturalism, which weighed heavily on Santayana’s entire philosophy, was evident in its emphasis on the precedence of matter over other fields.

Santayana II. He greeted the outbreak of World War II with calmness. He settled in a Catholic hospice and began to write his three-volume autobiography “Persons and Places (1944, 1945, 1953; Persons and Places)”. After the war, he wrote “Dominations and Powers” (1951; Dominations and Powers) in which he examined the position of man in society. Then, deaf and half-blind, he set about translating Lorenzo de’ Medici’s love poem Ambra. During this study, he caught his last illness.