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George Santayana (1863 - 1952)

  Born in Madrid, Santayana lived in America for many years (teaching at Harvard and writing) before sojourning through Europe and settling in WWII Italy.  He philosophized about imagination, poetry, religion, reality, reason, and existence.  Mind, Santayana thought, derived from material.  He wrote that "the defect of sense calls in imagination, the defect of imagination calls in reasoning, the defect of reasoning divination."  Though a humanist,  he recognized the imaginative merit in religion, particularly religion beyond Paganism.



Online text of THE LIFE OF REASON (1905)


(great authors main page)



List of Works


The Sense of Beauty


Interpretations of Poetry and Religion


Reason In Art


The Life of Reason


Reason and Art


Scepticism and Animal Faith


Dialogues in Limbo


The Last Puritan


The Idea of Christ in the Gospels


Platonism and the Spiritual Life


Persons and Places


Dominations and Powers





(not a complete list)




The imagination, even when its premonitions are not wholly justified by subsequent experience, has thus a noble role to play in the life of man.





Without poetry and religion the history of mankind would have been darker than it is.  Not only would emotional life have been poorer, but the public conscience, the national and family spirit, so useful for moral organization and discipline, would hardly have become articulate.







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