George Santayana's Philosophy of Religion: His Roman Catholic Influences and Phenomenology
George Santayana (1862-1952) of Spanish descent, and generally claimed to be in the canon of American philosophers, was substantially influenced by his Roman Catholic origins in his philosophical disposition toward the value of tradition, religious symbols and dogma. His philosophical project sustained a respectful attitude toward the spiritual value of orthodox religion while the thrust of his philosophy was naturalistic and materialistic throughout. There is a perception by some scholars that Santayana's philosophy evolved from a humanistic perspective to a more spiritual one in his later years. It is the position of this thesis that his philosophy, at the "core" depicting a harmonious striving toward individual happiness, remained essentially consistent from his earliest publication of Interpretations of Poetry and Religion and The Life of Reason through his later works of Scepticism and Animal Faith, Realms of Being, Dominations and Powers and The Idea of Christ in the Gospels. Santayana's philosophical approach is both phenomenological and social constructionist in its methodology, significantly preempting the methodology of social constructionist theology and a post-modern interpretation of religion. His idiosyncratic phenomenological approach is compared with a "benchmark" methodology of Edmund Husserl, the generally accepted founder of the phenomenological method. There are also important similarities between Santayana's phenomenological approach and those of Charles Sanders Peirce and Alfred North Whitehead. The basis for the comparison of the phenomenological methodology of Santayana and Husserl is their mutually similar fundamental theory of intuited essence. Santayana's contribution to religious studies is not only philosophical but also theological where he has utilized Christian theological language in transposing and interpolating his philosophy of religion to the Christian drama of the salvational Christ. Santayana's essay "Ultimate Religion" reflects his perspective of a disillusioned but still spiritual vision incorporating the piety, discipline, and spirituality; of a life of reason. Within the framework of this "model" Santayana's philosophy of religion is developed and explored. Finally, the relevance of Santayana's philosophy of religion to contemporary religious studies and selected religious issues is addressed with a delineation and discussion of some important aspects of his philosophical vision.
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Animal Faith Aristotle aspects attitude belief C. S. Peirce Catholic Church Catholicism chapter Christian claims consciousness contemplation contemporary Democritus disillusion dogma Dominations and Powers epiphenomenalism eternal evidence existence experience George Santayana Gospels human Husserl Ibid Idea of Christ ideal imagination individual influence Interpretations of Poetry intuition James’s John Lachs Justus Buchler Lachs Levinson literary psychology logical Lucretius metaphysics mind moral na’s naturalistic nature notion object one’s ontological orthodoxy Overheard in Seville pathetic fallacy Peirce Peirce’s perception perspective phenomenology philosophy of religion Plato Poetry and Religion Pragmatism Protestantism reality Realm of Essence Realm of Matter Realms ofBeing Reason in Religion reflection regard relation religious Roman Catholic Roman Catholic Church Santay Santaya Santayana suggests Santayana’s concept Santayana’s philosophy Santayana’s project Scepticism and Animal Schilpp sense skepticism Social Constructionism solipsism Spinoza spiritual Sprigge symbols tayana theology theory of essences thought Timothy Sprigge tion traditional transcendental truth Ultimate Religion University Woodward