The Essential Wisdom of George Santayana

The Essential Wisdom of George Santayana

The Essential Wisdom of George Santayana

The Essential Wisdom of George Santayana

Excerpt

Nor is it exactly philosophy, since I offer no hypotheses about the nature of the universe nor about the nature of knowledge. Yet to be quite sincere, I think that in this examination of conscience there is a sort of secret or private philosophy perhaps more philosophical than the other.

Philosophical works which delve into the nature of the universe and into the process of cognition are seldom easy to understand. The preferences of the professionals seem to lie in those uncharted waters of argumentation and theory too deep for the ordinary man. Perched comfortably in his lighthouse, Mr. Ordinary (who in all probability is being discussed and called to witness) is apt to view the excursion, and the inevitable battle that ensues over an issue and with a foe utterly unknown to him, as a nautical version of Don Quixote assailing the windmills. And were he to suspect that somewhere beneath the surface lurks "a sort of secret or private philosophy perhaps more philosophical than the other," what would be his reaction? At least he would align himself with those acquaintances of the recent critic of Santayana "who have read Santayana, and extensively, but not one of them evinced a clear understanding of his philosophical doctrine." Who is this remarkable man, many will ask, that can philosophize simultaneously on various levels? A few biographical details can provide the uninitiated reader with the proper Sitz im Leben.

Josefina Borrás was left a widow with three children on the . . .

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