Art and Morality: Essays in the Spirit of George Santayana

Art and Morality: Essays in the Spirit of George Santayana

Art and Morality: Essays in the Spirit of George Santayana

Art and Morality: Essays in the Spirit of George Santayana

Synopsis

The guiding theme of these essays by aesthetician, musician, and Santayana scholar Morris Grossman is the importance of preserving the tension between what can be unified and what is disorganized, random, and miscellaneous. Grossman described this as the tension between art and morality: Artarrests a sense of change and yields moments of unguarded enjoyment and peace; but soon, shifting circumstances compel evaluation, decision, and action. According to Grossman, the best art preserves the tension between the aesthetic consummation of experience and the press of morality understood asthe business of navigating conflicts, making choices, and meeting needs.This concern was intimately related to his reading of George Santayana. The best philosophy, like the best art, preserves the tension between what can be ordered and what resists assimilation, and Grossman read Santayana as exemplifying this virtue in his embrace of multiple perspectives. Otherscholars have noted the multiplicity or irony in Santayana's work, but Grossman was unique in taking such a style to be a substantive part of Santayana's philosophizing.

Excerpt

The majority of the essays included here have been published previously in journals and books. Previous publication is indicated by unnumbered endnotes that appear with (and precede) each essay’s numbered endnotes at the back of the book. Each essay has been minimally revised by having typographical errors, misquotations, or formatting inconsistencies corrected. Some essays have been more extensively revised in order to improve readability, correct factual errors, or reflect changes in the author’s preferred form of expression. More extensive revisions were made by the author or by the editor with the approval of the author.

MARTIN A. COLEMAN

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