A Philosophical Novelist: George Santayana and the Last by Associate Professor H. T. Kirby-Smith A.B. M.A.

By Associate Professor H. T. Kirby-Smith A.B. M.A.

H. T. Kirby-Smith makes use of Santayana’s 1936 novel, The final Puritan, as either an get together and a way for bringing into concentration the advanced family among Santayana’s lifestyles, his character, and his philosophy. establishing with an account of Santayana’s quite a few literary types and arguing for the importance of Santayana’s writing of philosophy as literature, Kirby-Smith notes that Santayana observed the rational existence as a continuous adjustment and lodging of contradictory claims. And he observed a literary sort as an lodging of the writer to the reader.Chapters 2 via five give you the philosophical history for a attention of The final Puritan, summarizing precisely how Santayana assimilated different philosophies into his own.Chapters 6 and seven include Santayana’s three-volume autobiography, his letters and memoirs, and biographical reviews by means of others right into a mental portrait of the writer. All of this is often in training for chapters eight and nine, which concentrate on The final Puritan. Kirby-Smith closes with a bankruptcy that serves as a felony short in safeguard of the writer opposed to the cruel, occasionally malicious assaults of his critics.

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There is no good reason to infer that at the present stage mathematical logic will, except through inertia, continue to be central to philosophy. It is hard to predict how Ramsey might have developed, had he lived longer. Certainly the later Wittgenstein thought that mathematical logic was a bad influence both in philosophy and in mathematics. (From Mathematics to Philosophy 57) One common feature of Carnap's and Quine's philosophical practice is their preoccupation with local (and mostly formal) precision accompanied by a surprising willingness to tolerate or even celebrate global indefiniteness.

Sense of Beauty 83) The opalesque glitter from within these linesthe stylistic iridescenceis another example of Santayana's protective coloration in his earlier writings. It is the stylistic parallel to the semantic camouflage with which he invests the word progress when he uses it. One thinks, too, of young Professor Santayana with his cape and beardthe genteel academic dandyism of his early years on the Harvard faculty. A gradual evolution of style carried him through the five volumes of The Life of Reason; the landscape of his prose became a little more rugged and displayed a sparser efflorescence of verbal posies.

If we sometimes suffer when reading Santayana (and I do not, once I get the hang of his vocabulary), do we suffer in the same way as when we read Kant or Wittgenstein? Or is the relative lack of suffering (or even positive pleasure) proof of his insignificance as a philosopher? My own answers to the preceding five questions are all in Santayana's favor. His use of style is another way of asserting the importance of one's essential humanity and, at the same time, the importance of accommodating one's own personality to the emergent occasion and to those whom one is addressing.

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