Santayana and America. Values, Liberties, Responsibility

Santayana and America. Values, Liberties, Responsibility

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.

“ProfessorSkowroñski's is a fresh and refreshing voice in American philosophy. He brings novel perspectives to the study of Santayana, and through that to understanding America.

In Skowroñski's work, as in Santayana's, European and American influences combine to yield new insight. He explores the relevance of American philosophy for the study of Europe, America and their interaction with impeccable scholarship and unflagging energy. He leaves his readers heartened and enlightened.”
-John Lachs, Centennial Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, USA

“Santayana's notion of the genteel tradition in American society was well-known in his day and is of historical interest. His comparison of vacant freedom with vital liberty is little known, but is timely and important today. Issues of both kinds are joined by Professor Skowroñski in a comprehensive, balanced discussion that is thoroughly reliable and highly readable.

He combs through the vast corpus of Santayana's writings, as is necessary with Santayana, to get a full and just view, and couples this with a remarkable collection of sometimes unexpected secondary sources. The scholarship is outstanding, the point of view original and interesting.

Skowroñski applies careful scholarship and a fresh perspective to write a significant new study of an important but neglected philosopher.”
-Angus Kerr-Lawson, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Pure Mathemathics and the Department of Philosophy at the University of Waterloo, Canada; President of The Santayana Society, Editor of “Overheard in Seville: Bulletin of the Santayana Society”.

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ISBN: 1-84718-181-3

ISBN13: 9781847181817

Release Date: 15th June 2007

Pages: 215

Price: £34.99