George Santayana’s renowned work of moral philosophy outlines his vision of the ideal life.
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
George Santayana’s The Life of Reason stands as one of the most influential and beautifully written works of philosophical naturalism. In it, Santayana articulates his vision of human progression from chaos to reason and the pursuit of the ideal life. Focusing his thought on the lived experiences of people, these phases are traced through humanity’s many endeavors, including art, science, politics, religion, friendship, and reason. Drawing on a range of influences, from Democritus and Aristotle to Spinoza and Schopenhauer, Santayana develops a materialist system of thought that stresses the importance of imagination and spiritual experience.
Originally published in five volumes, from 1905 to 1906, The Life of Reason is Santayana’s most complete statement of moral philosophy and an inspiring account of human dignity.
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George Santayana, born Jorge Augustin Nicolas Ruiz De Santayana (1863-1952), was a Spanish-American philosopher, novelist, poet, and essayist. He is most famously known for his witty aphorisms, especially the phrase, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Santayana was born in Spain, but was raised and educated in the United States. Santayana attended Harvard College, and later taught philosophy there. Some of his pupils included T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost, and Gertrude Stein. During this time he wrote many of his seminal philosophical works, including The Sense of Beauty, The Life of Reasons, and The Realms of Being. In 1912, Santayana permanently moved to Europe, where he devoted his life to writing both fiction and nonfiction.