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 method for bringing into concentration the advanced kinfolk among Santayana’s existence, his character, and his philosophy. establishing with an account of Santayana’s a variety of literary types and arguing for the importance of Santayana’s writing of philosophy as literature, Kirby-Smith notes that Santayana observed the rational lifestyles as a continuous adjustment and lodging of contradictory claims. And he observed a literary kind as an lodging of the writer to the reader.Chapters 2 via five give you the philosophical historical past for a attention of The final Puritan, summarizing precisely how Santayana assimilated different philosophies into his own.Chapters 6 and seven contain Santayana’s three-volume autobiography, his letters and memoirs, and biographical reviews by way 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 tough, occasionally malicious assaults of his critics.

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We should plunge boldly ahead, immerse ourselves in the sea of existence, swim as hard as we can, and not worry about what is holding us up, since for our purposes it does not matter. Santayana goes in precisely the other direction. We cannot prove anything, but we can accept what we seem to find by falling back on animal faith. Matter is omnipotent and irrational, but we can duck when the stone comes at our heads and take on faith that it will continue on its shallow parabolic trajectory, missing us.

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. They differ in that Carnap tries (unsuccessfully) to map out larger Page 9 localities. The appeal of their practice is undoubtedly connected with the predominance and relative success of specialization in the sciences.

Page 11 2 Some Sources of Santayana's Philosophy An account of Santayana's connections with other literary figures, particularly with poets, in this century would itself be a work of some complexity. Many people are aware that T. S. Eliot took courses from himbut how many know that Wallace Stevens bought all of the philosopher's books as they came out and annotated them? Also, that Ezra Pound tried to enlist Santayana, along with Eliot, in one his schemes to reform civilization, and the young Robert Lowell went chasing after him by mail and in person and found much consolation in his avuncular affection?

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