George Santayana
GEORGE SANTAYANA  Macroknow Library

The Sense of Beauty: Being the Outline of Aesthetic Theory.


"He is a slave when all his energy is spent in avoiding suffering and death, when all his action is imposed from without, and no breath or strength is left in him for free enjoyment."1a DIOGENES PLATO ARISTOTLE HEGEL MILL [See Edward Ayoub's Quantum Theory of Economics.] AYOUB

"Beauty . . . is a value . . . It exists in perception, and cannot exist otherwise. A beauty not perceived is a pleasure not felt, and a contradiction."1b

". . . [B]eauty . . . is value positive, intrinsic, and objectified. . . Beauty is pleasure regarded as the quality of a thing."1c

"Moral values are generally negative, and always remote. Morality has to do with the avoidance of evil and the pursuit of good: aesthetics only with enjoyment."1d


"A perfectly simple perception, in which there was no consciousness of the distinction and relation of parts, would not be a perception of form, it would be a sensation."1e

"The beautiful does not depend on the useful; it is constituted by the imagination in ignorance and contempt of practical advantage; but it is not independent of the necessary . . ."1f


". . . [W]hile in the beautiful we find the perfection of life by sinking into the object, in the sublime we find a purer and more inalienable perfection by defying the object altogether."1g KANT

". . . [N]o aesthetic value is really founded on the experience or the suggestion of evil."1h

"Beauty is a pledge of the possible conformity between the soul and nature, and consequently a ground of faith in the supremacy of the good."1i KANT

The Life of Reason.


"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."2a


"Civilization secures three chief advantages: greater wealth, greater safety, and greater variety of experience."2b

"The ideal state and the ideal universe should be a family where all are not equal, but where all are happy."2c


"What was condemnable in the Jews was not that they asserted the divinity of their law, for that they did with substantial sincerity and truth. Their crime is to have denied the equal prerogative of other nations' laws and deities, for this they did, not from critical insight or intellectual scruples, but out of pure bigotry, conceit, and stupidity. They did not want other nations also to have a god. . ."2d


"The subject matter of art is life, life as it actually is; but the function of art is to make life better."2e


"The great glory of mathematics, like that of virtue, is to be useful while remaining free."2f

"Is four really twice two? The answer is not that most people say so, but that, in saying so, I am not misunderstanding myself."2g ARISTOTLE DESCARTES PASCAL BERKELEY VOLTAIRE JAMES RUSSELL POPPER ORWELL DRUCKER PENROSE

"Men know better what is right and wrong than what is ultimately good or evil . . ."2h

"There is tragedy in perfection, because the universe in which perfection arises is itself imperfect."2i

"True science, then, was that which enabled a man to disentangle and attain his natural good; and such a science is also the art of life and the whole of virtue."2j

". . . [S]cience is nothing but developed perception, interpreted intent, commonsense rounded out and minutely articulated."2k

"The darkest spots are in man himself, in his fitful, irrational disposition."2l

Scepticism and Animal Faith: Introduction to a System of Philosophy.

"Each essence that appears appears just as it is, because its appearance defines it . . .  it is just a quality of being."3a

"Essences are not drawn out or abstracted from things; they are given before the thing can be clearly perceived, since they are the terms used in perception; but they are not given until attention is stretched upon the thing, which is posited blindly in action; and they come as revelations, or oracles, delivered by that thing to the mind, and symbolizing it there."3b

"Intuition therefore is a view of essence, attention fixed upon it, and not that essence itself."3c

"Thought here means nothing more than the fact that some essence is contemplated, and discourse means only that this essence is approached and surveyed repeatedly or piecemeal, with partiality, succession, and possible confusion in describing it."3d

"By experience I understand a fund of wisdom gathered by living. . . experience accrues precisely when discrimination, amongst given essences is keenest, when only the relevant is retained or perhaps noticed, and when the psyche sagaciously interprets data as omens favourable or unfavourable to her interests . . ."3e BATAILLE

"That discourse is secretly an experience, and may be turned into knowledge, becomes particularly evident when it is interrupted by shocks. . ."3f*

"Though change be everywhere, it remains everywhere strange and radically unwelcome . . ."3g

"The word truth ought, I think, to be reserved for what everybody spontaneously means by it: the standard comprehensive description of any fact in all its relations."3h

"The psyche or the principle of bodily life . . . is congenitally a system or cycle of habits which that obnoxious event interrupts."3i


* Italics in the original.

1 George Santayana (1863-1952). The Sense of Beauty: Being the Outline of Aesthetic Theory. New York, NY: Dover Publications, Inc., 1955. Unabridged and unaltered republication of the work first published by Charles Scribner's Sons in 1896.
Part I. The Nature of Beauty
a 5. All values are in one sense aesthetic, at 19.
b 10. The differentia of aesthetic pleasure: its objectification, at 29.
c 11. The definition of beauty, at 31.
d Ibid., at 32.
Part III. Form

e 23. Form the unity of a manifold, at 61.
f 39. The relation of utility to beauty, at 98.
Part IV. Expression
60. The sublime independent of the expression of evil, at 149.
h 65. The possibility of finite perfection, at 158.
i 67. Conclusion, at 164.

2 George Santayana (1863-1952). The Life of Reason. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 1998. [Originally published in 5 v.: The Life of Reason, or, The Phases of Human Progress. New York: C. Scribners' Sons, 1905-6.]
a Chapter 10: Flux and Constancy in Human Nature, at 82.
b Chapter 3: Industry, Government, and War, at 115.
Chapter 4: The Aristocratic Ideal, at 139.
d Chapter 5: The Hebraic Tradition, at 214.
e Chapter 4: Music, at 323.
f Chapter 6: Dialectic, at 438.
g Chapter 7: Pre-Rational Morality, at 444.
h Ibid., at 450.
i Chapter 8: Rational Ethics, at 455.
j Ibid., at 458.
k Chapter 10: The Validity of Science, at 484.
Ibid., at 490.

3 George Santayana (1863-1952). Scepticism and Animal Faith: Introduction to a System of Philosophy. New York, NY: Dover Publications, Inc., 1955.
a Chapter X. Some Uses of this Discovery, at 92.

b Ibid., at 93-94. 
c Chapter XIII. Belief in Demonstration, at 117. 
d Ibid., at 123. 
e Chapter XV. Belief in Experience, at 138. 
f Ibid., at 139. 
g Chapter XX. On some Objections to Belief in Substance, at 195. 
h Chapter XXV. The Implied Being of Truth, at 268. 
i Chapter XXVI. Discernment of Spirit, at 280.