The Life of Reason or The Phases of Human Progress
Introduction and Reason in Common Sense, Volume VII, Book One
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: The MIT Press
Series: The Works of George Santayana
Cover, Title Page, Copyright
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The research and editorial work on the critical edition of George Santayana’s five-volume The Life of Reason has spanned a number of years, and, therefore, several institutions and many individuals have been involved in its completion. The editors are extremely grateful for their important contributions to and...
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Santayana’s Life of Reason, published in five volumes, 1905–6, is one of the greatest works in modern philosophical naturalism. It proved to be a major stimulus to the revitalization of philosophy in America, and its value continues today. There is no canonical definition of “philosophical naturalism,” but a workable...
Table of Contents based on Scribner’s first edition (1905)
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Introduction and Reason in Common Sense critical edition text
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Whatever forces may govern human life, if they are to be recognised by man, must betray themselves in human experience. Progress in science or religion, no less than in morals and art, is a dramatic episode in man’s career, a welcome variation in his habit and state of mind; although this variation may...
I. THE BIRTH OF REASON
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Whether Chaos or Order lay at the beginning of things is a question once much debated in the schools but afterward long in abeyance, not so much because it had been solved as because one party had been silenced by social pressure. The question is bound to recur in an age when observation and dialectic...
II. FIRST STEPS AND FIRST FLUCTUATIONS
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Consciousness is a born hermit. Though subject, by divine dispensation, to spells of fervour and apathy, like a singing bird, it is at first quite unconcerned about its own conditions or maintenance. To acquire a notion of such matters, or an interest in them, it would have to lose its hearty simplicity and...
III. THE DISCOVERY OF NATURAL OBJECTS
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At first sight it might seem an idle observation that the first task of intelligence is to represent the environing reality, a reality actually represented in the notion, universally prevalent among men, of a cosmos in space and time, an animated material engine called nature. In trying to conceive nature the...
IV. ON SOME CRITICS OF THIS DISCOVERY
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The English psychologists who first disintegrated the idea of substance, and whose traces we have in general followed in the above account, did not study the question wholly for its own sake or in the spirit of a science that aims at nothing but a historical analysis of mind. They had a more or...
V. NATURE UNIFIED AND MIND DISCERNED
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When the mind has learned to distinguish external objects and to attribute to them a constant size, shape, and potency, in spite of the variety and intermittence ruling in direct experience, there yet remains a great work to do before attaining a clear, even if superficial, view of the world. An animal’s...
VI. DISCOVERY OF FELLOW-MINDS
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When a ghostly sphere, containing memory and all ideas, has been distinguished from the material world, it tends to grow at the expense of the latter, until nature is finally reduced to a mathematical skeleton. This skeleton itself, but for the need of a bridge to connect calculably episode with episode in...
VII. CONCRETIONS IN DISCOURSE AND IN EXISTENCE
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Ideas of material objects ordinarily absorb the human mind, and their prevalence has led to the rash supposition that ideas of all other kinds are posterior to physical ideas and drawn from the latter by a process of abstraction. The table, people said, was a particular and single reality; its colour, form, and...
VIII. ON THE RELATIVE VALUE OF THINGS AND IDEAS
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Those who look back upon the history of opinion for many centuries commonly feel, by a vague but profound instinct, that certain consecrated doctrines have an inherent dignity and spirituality, while other speculative tendencies and other vocabularies seem wedded to all that is ignoble and...
IX. HOW THOUGHT IS PRACTICAL
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Nothing is more natural or more congruous with all the analogies of experience than that animals should feel and think. The relation of mind to body, of reason to nature, seems to be actually this: when bodies have reached a certain complexity and vital equilibrium, a sense begins to inhabit them which...
X. THE MEASURE OF VALUES IN REFLECTION
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To put value in pleasure and pain, regarding a given quantity of pain as balancing a given quantity of pleasure, is to bring to practical ethics a worthy intention to be clear and, what is more precious, an undoubted honesty not always found in those moralists who maintain the opposite opinion...
XI. SOME ABSTRACT CONDITIONS OF THE IDEAL
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Reason’s function is to embody the good, but the test of excellence is itself ideal; therefore before we can assure ourselves that reason has been manifested in any given case we must make out the reasonableness of the ideal that inspires us. And in general, before we can convince ourselves that a Life of...
XII. FLUX AND CONSTANCY IN HUMAN NATURE
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A conception of something called human nature arises not unnaturally on observing the passions of men, passions which under various disguises seem to reappear in all ages and countries. The tendency of Greek philosophy, with its insistence on general concepts, was to define this idea of human nature...
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Page Count: 408
Publication Year: 2011
Series Title: The Works of George Santayana