Reference > Cambridge History > Later National Literature, Part II > Later Philosophy > George Santayana; The Life of Reason
  J. Mark Baldwin; Pancalism Detachment  


The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
VOLUME XVII. Later National Literature, Part II.

XVII. Later Philosophy.

§ 31. George Santayana; The Life of Reason.

The philosophic temper of an age can be judged by the kind of merit it neglects as well as by what it worships. For this reason as well as for the unique value of his work, no account of American philosophy should omit a consideration of George Santayana. 32  If a European critic like Taine were to ask for an American book on philosophy containing a distinct and comprehensive view of human life, its aims and diverse manifestations, we could not mention anything more appropriate than Santayana’s Life of Reason (5 vols., 1905-06). Most American philosophic works are either monographs on special topics or else more or less elaborate controversial pamphlets on behalf of one view or other. 33    55

Note 32. Another excuse for departing from the prudent policy of avoiding in history any treatment of those still alive and active, is that at this date (1919) it does not seem that Santayana’s future career will belong to America. [ back ]
Note 33. The conditions of academic life, in which nearly all of our philosophers are placed, are certainly not favourable for sustained, deliberate, and thorough composition. [ back ]

  J. Mark Baldwin; Pancalism Detachment  

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