George Santayana (1863–1952), a Spanish-American philosopher, is an influential personage on the cultural stage in English- and Spanish-speaking countries. His numerous books and papers on topics as varied as epistemology, ontology, aesthetics, ethics, anthropology, value theory, and American studies, along with his best-selling novel, his sophisticated poetry, and his famous autobiography, make him a vivid and profound source of reflection on the history of American and European thought, as well as a stimulus for future work. Santayana’s exceptionality was appreciated by William James and Josiah Royce, his most eminent colleagues in Harvard University’s Department of Philosophy, and has been discussed by such respected authors as John Dewey, Bertrand Russell, Charles Hartshorne, Eric Voegelin, Alfred Schutz, Richard Rorty, Hilary Putnam, Arthur Danto, and Ferdinand Savater, among others. This book aims to understand Santayana by considering his often provocative views on America. Other scholars have reconstructed his thought at various times and in a variety of ways, but no one has yet considered Santayana’s approach toward America in a serious and profound way (at least not in the English language). This book attempts to convince the reader that the impartiality of Santayana’s philosophy, its transcendence of cultural limits and mental borders, makes it a living philosophy, and that this is the strongest aspect of Santayana’s thought.
Krzysztof (Chris) Piotr Skowroñski, PhD, currently teaches Contemporary Philosophy, Aesthetics, Cultural Anthropology, Polish Philosophy, and American Philosophy at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Opole University, Poland.