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by George Santayana


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Lucretius, Dante, and Goethe. Author: George Santayana. life-Lucretius a true poet of nature-Comparison with Shelley and Wordsworth-Things he might have added consistently: Indefeasible worth of his insight and sentiment. Release Date: March 18, 2011. Three philosophical poets. Lucretius, dante, and goethe. By. George santayana.

Lucretius was undoubtedly a philosophical poet; his whole poem is devoted to expounding and defending a system of philosophy. Dante, too, is unmistakably a philosophical poet. But was Goethe a philosopher?

Lucretius was undoubtedly a philosophical poet; his whole poem is devoted to expounding and defending a system of philosophy. In Dante the case is almost as plain. The Divine Comedy is a moral and personal fable; yet not only are many passages explicitly philosophical, but the whole is inspired and controlled by the most definite of religious systems and of moral codes. But was Goethe a philosopher? And is Faust a philosophical poem?

Three Philosophical Poets book. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Start by marking Three Philosophical Poets: Lucretius, Dante And Goethe as Want to Read: Want to Read saving.

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The three philosophical poets of the title are Lucretius, Dante, and Goethe, each of whom represents the three main sources of the major speculative systems of Western philosophy

The three philosophical poets of the title are Lucretius, Dante, and Goethe, each of whom represents the three main sources of the major speculative systems of Western philosophy. Lucretius, the materialist, is the poet of naturalism; Dante, the Christian and Platonist, is the poet of supernaturalism; and Goethe, the romanticist, is the poet of experience and idealism. What gives this book its special excellence is Santayana's ability to describe each of the traditions with sympathetic understanding

Three Philosophical Poets: Lucretius, Dante, and Goethe. 2011 A Philosophical Novelist: George Santayana and the Last Puritan. Southern Illinois University Press. Jeffers, Thomas . 2005.

Three Philosophical Poets: Lucretius, Dante, and Goethe. Winds of Doctrine: Studies in Contemporary Opinion. Egotism in German Philosophy. Character and Opinion in the United States: With Reminiscences of William James and Josiah Royce and Academic Life in America. The Life of Reason in five books. A Philosophical Novelist: George Santayana and the Last Puritan.

Three Philosophical Poets, Lucretius, Dante, and Goethe. One fee. Stacks of books. Read whenever, wherever. Your phone is always with you, so your books are too – even when you’re offline.

Professor of philosophy in harvard university. Lucretius, Dante, and Goethe sum up the chief phases of European philosophy, naturalism, supernaturalism, and romanticism Ideal relation between philosophy and poetry. Harvard studies in comparative literature.

Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y Borrás, known as George Santayana (December 16, 1863 .

Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y Borrás, known as George Santayana (December 16, 1863 – September 26, 1952), was a philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist. Santayana was raised and educated in the United States and identified himself as an American, although he always kept a valid Spanish passport. He wrote in English and is generally considered an American man of letters. At the age of forty-eight, Santayana left his position at Harvard and returned to Europe permanently, never to return to the United States. His last wish was to be buried in the Spanish pantheon in Rome.

This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1910 Excerpt: ... environment. To give material embodiment to moral ideas by such a method would nowadays be very artificial, and perhaps impossible; but in Dante's time everything was favourable to the attempt. We are accustomed to think of goods and evils as functions of a natural life, sparks struck out in the chance shock of men with things or with one another. For Dante, it was a matter of course that moral distinctions might be discerned, not merely as they arise incidentally in human experience, but also, and more genuinely, as they are displayed in the order of creation. The Creator himself was a poet producing allegories. The material world was a parable which he had built out in space, and ordered to be enacted. History was a great charade. The symbols of earthly poets are words or images; the symbols of the divine poet were natural things and the fortunes of men. They had been devised for a purpose; and this purpose, as the Koran, too, declares, had been precisely to show forth the great difference there is in God's sight between good and evil. InPlatonic cosmology, the concentric spheres were bodies formed and animated by intelligences of various orders. The nobler an intelligence, the more swift and outward, or higher, was the sphere it moved; whence the identification of "higher" with better, which survives, absurdly,to this day. And while Dante could not attribute literal truth to his fancies about hell, purgatory, and heaven, he believed that an actual heaven, purgatory, and hell had been fashioned by God on purpose to receive souls of varying deserts and complexion; so that while the poet's imagination, unless it reechoed divine revelation, was only human and not prophetic, yet it was a genuine and plausible imagination, moving on the lines of nat...

Three Philosophical Poets; Lucretius, Dante, and Goethe epub download

ISBN13: 978-1231757918

ISBN: 1231757914

Author: George Santayana

Category: Bio and Memoris

Subcategory: Professionals & Academics

Language: English

Publisher: RareBooksClub.com (May 14, 2012)

Pages: 48 pages

ePUB size: 1749 kb

FB2 size: 1745 kb

Rating: 4.7

Votes: 727

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Related to Three Philosophical Poets; Lucretius, Dante, and Goethe ePub books

Light out of Fildon
Original publication: 1910.

Here is Santayana's own (shall we call it?) non-apology for this short but substantial book:

... I am no specialist in the study of Lucretius; I am not a Dante scholar nor a Goethe scholar. I can report no facts and propose no hypotheses about these men which are not at hand in their familiar works, or in well-known commentaries upon them. My excuse for writing about them, notwithstanding, is merely the human excuse which every new poet has for writing about the spring. They have attracted me; they have moved me to reflection; they have revealed to me certain aspects of nature and of philosophy which I am prompted by mere sincerity to express, if anybody seems interested or willing to listen.

This is a great book with a paradox at the heart of it. On the one hand, Santayana was probably the only man in America, the only man at Harvard even, who had the urbanity and breadth of knowledge to write about Lucretius, Dante, and Goethe (with footnotes in Latin, Italian, and German). On the other hand, who but an American could view the great national poets of Rome, Italy, and Germany as his own inheritance? And with such panache:

... Because my instinct taboos something, the whole universe, with insane intensity, shall taboo it for ever. This infatuation was inherited by Dante, and it was not uncongenial to his bitter and intemperate spleen. Nevertheless, he saw beyond it at times. Like many other Christian seers, he betrays here and there an esoteric view of rewards and punishments, which makes them simply symbols for the intrinsic quality of good and evil ways. The punishment, he then seems to say, is nothing added; it is what the passion itself pursues; it is a fulfilment, horrifying the soul that desired it.

On the one hand, I don't think this book is a substitute or shortcut to three major poets. On the other, I don't think a reader should feel daunted by the scope of this book- one needs no mastery of ALL of Lucretius, Dante, and Goethe (given that, one could write such a book instead of read it)- that's why I call THREE PHILOSOPHICAL POETS a gateway.
Light out of Fildon
Original publication: 1910.

Here is Santayana's own (shall we call it?) non-apology for this short but substantial book:

... I am no specialist in the study of Lucretius; I am not a Dante scholar nor a Goethe scholar. I can report no facts and propose no hypotheses about these men which are not at hand in their familiar works, or in well-known commentaries upon them. My excuse for writing about them, notwithstanding, is merely the human excuse which every new poet has for writing about the spring. They have attracted me; they have moved me to reflection; they have revealed to me certain aspects of nature and of philosophy which I am prompted by mere sincerity to express, if anybody seems interested or willing to listen.

This is a great book with a paradox at the heart of it. On the one hand, Santayana was probably the only man in America, the only man at Harvard even, who had the urbanity and breadth of knowledge to write about Lucretius, Dante, and Goethe (with footnotes in Latin, Italian, and German). On the other hand, who but an American could view the great national poets of Rome, Italy, and Germany as his own inheritance? And with such panache:

... Because my instinct taboos something, the whole universe, with insane intensity, shall taboo it for ever. This infatuation was inherited by Dante, and it was not uncongenial to his bitter and intemperate spleen. Nevertheless, he saw beyond it at times. Like many other Christian seers, he betrays here and there an esoteric view of rewards and punishments, which makes them simply symbols for the intrinsic quality of good and evil ways. The punishment, he then seems to say, is nothing added; it is what the passion itself pursues; it is a fulfilment, horrifying the soul that desired it.

On the one hand, I don't think this book is a substitute or shortcut to three major poets. On the other, I don't think a reader should feel daunted by the scope of this book- one needs no mastery of ALL of Lucretius, Dante, and Goethe (given that, one could write such a book instead of read it)- that's why I call THREE PHILOSOPHICAL POETS a gateway.
Nothing personal
This review covers the Introduction and Lucretius, the first third of the book. In it Santayana eloquently describes, in his own words, the meaning of Lucretius' "On The Nature of Things". Santayana hits all of the philosophical highlights of the natural, materialist-type thinking found in this important contribution to the western philosophical tradition.

"The sole advantage in possessing great works of literature lies in what they can help us to become. In themselves, as feats performed by theirauthors, they would have forfeited none of their truth or greatness if they had perished before our day. We can neither take away nor add totheir past value or inherent dignity. It is only they, in so far as they are appropriate food and not poison for us, that can add to the present value and dignity of our minds."

So begins the Introduction.

That it is a poem, Santayana points out and suggests we need note many times in this work. He gives us a comparison and contrast to the likes of Lucretius' mentor, Epicurus; to the atomism of Democritus and the "accidental alliance" of it with Epicurean Hedonism, explaining succinctly yet briefly who Epicurus was and what he stood for. I appreciated this background and contrast to the mentor and mentored.

"Lucretius adopts the most radical and the most correct of those cosmological systems which the genius of early Greece had devised. He sees the world to be one great edifice, one great machine, all its parts reacting upon one another, and growing out of one another in obedience to a general pervasive process or life. His poem describes the nature, that is, the
birth and composition, of all things." (From the Introduction)

The following quote misses the purpose of the Indian philosophy, which is like a mix of Lucretius' Venus (affirmation) and Mars (negation):

"Unlike the useless substance of the Indians, the substance of Democritus could offer a calculable, ground for the flux of appearances; for this substance was distributed unequally in the void, and was constantly moving."

He should have said, "...useless substance for doing objective science, pertinent for the supreme science, that of the subject..." or some such.

Again, in this next quote we have the great seeds for the modern scientific method, but it follows the last quote, as if to say how useless the Indian philosophy *really* is. But, again, Indian philosophy isn't western science and, more importantly, isn't designed to discover physical laws; it was designed to discover the Self. East Indians, however, can and still do science with the best of us. So, we see a sort of confusion in Santayana: a comparison of things that do no intersect except in each person rears its ugly head; perhaps the only ugly aspect of life: misunderstanding.

"Every appearance, however fleeting, corresponded to a precise configuration of substance; it arose with that configuration and perished with it. This substance, accordingly, was physical, not metaphysical. It was no dialectical term, but a scientific anticipation, a prophecy as to what an observer who should be properly equipped would discover in the interior of bodies. Materialism is not a system of metaphysics; it is a speculation in chemistry and physiology, to the effect that, if analysis could go deep enough, it would find that all substance was homogeneous, and that all motion was regular."

Before proceeding, let me be clear: This review is not meant disparagingly. If you want to identify with one, none or all of these great men and their "movements" (naturalism, supernaturalism and romanticism, respectively), I strongly encourage any or all of that. But, I will point out what the debate (misunderstanding) about one's identity looks like from *outside* of identity. A good story must identify with itself, so we expect a comparison and a contrasting!

The next quote gives us the measure of all things:

"There are two maxims in Lucretius that suffice, even to this day, to distinguish a thinker who is a naturalist from one who is not. 'Nothing," he says, 'arises in the body in order that we may use it, but what arises brings forth its use.'[1] This is that discarding of final causes on which all progress in science depends. The other maxim runs: 'One thing will grow plain when compared with another: and blind night shall not obliterate the path for thee, before thou hast thoroughly scanned the ultimate things of nature; so much will things throw light on things.'[2] Nature is her own standard; and if she seems to us unnatural, there is no hope for our minds."

Santayana is, here, found doing an adequate job of noting how science works in its investigation of nature; but, notice how, in his last sentence, he is speaking about a monism using a Cartesian dualism. His logic breaks down as it should when he begins to speak as a person, not as a machine.

Let us look at the next quote chosen to exemplify this accidental marriage of Democritus and Epicurus; admit that Santayana is here pointing out how natural philosophy can be used to support, at once, renunciation (which is renounced in science!) and once again, be used to renounce the renouncing "madness"!

"Although science for its own sake could not interest so monkish a nature, yet science might be useful in buttressing the faith, or in removing objections to it. Epicurus therefore departed from the reserve of Socrates, and looked for a natural philosophy that might support his ethics. Of all the systems extant--and they were legion--he found that of Democritus the most helpful and edifying. Better than any other it would persuade men to renounce the madness that must be renounced and to enjoy the pleasures that may be enjoyed. But, since it was adopted on these external and pragmatic grounds, the system of Democritus did not need to be adopted entire. In fact, one change at least was imperative. The motion of the atoms must not be wholly regular and mechanical. Chance must be admitted, that Fate might be removed."

Should we, then, claim Epicurus the first quantum mechanic? His vindication is found in admitting it is so along with the implications for the seeds of Lucretius' defeat, not admitted at all by anyone save for those who would fight for the present, physical theory supported, truth.

In the next quote we see the inherent contradiction presented to us when we mix physical theory with human theorizing. Can you see the problem?

"Materialism, like any system of natural philosophy, carries with it no commandments and no advice. It merely describes the world, including the aspirations and consciences of mortals, and refers all to a material ground."

Materialism cannot carry with it "no commandments and no advice" by "merely" describing mortal aspirations and conscience, which is only the capability of the gods (our own selves).

He gets himself out of this mess fairly decently with the words that follow that quote. See http://www.gutenberg.org/files/35612/35612-0.txt

Within a sentence or two, Santayana tells us a materialist is "primarily an observer". But, he fails to distinguish between observing the inner-life with the same fervor as the external-life. This is probably because it is true. The materialist doesn't observe the inner-life. Thus, do we see how he cannot judge rightly if mortal conscience belongs to matter.

**********************************************************
This review covers Dante, the second third of the book. In it Santayana eloquently describes, in his own words, the meaning of Dante's "Divine Comedy". Santayana hits all of the philosophical highlights of the supernatural, theological-type thinking found in this important contribution to the western philosophical tradition.

**********************************************************
This review covers Goethe, the third third of the book.

In approaching the third of our philosophical poets, there is a scruple
that may cross the mind. Lucretius was undoubtedly a philosophical poet;
his whole poem is devoted to expounding and defending a system of
philosophy. In Dante the case is almost as plain. The _Divine Comedy_ is
a moral and personal fable; yet not only are many passages explicitly
philosophical, but the whole is inspired and controlled by the most
definite of religious systems and of moral codes. Dante, too, is
unmistakably a philosophical poet. But was Goethe a philosopher? And is
_Faust_ a philosophical poem?

If we say so, it must be by giving a certain latitude to our terms.
Goethe was the wisest of mankind; too wise, perhaps, to be a philosopher
in the technical sense, or to try to harness this wild world in a
brain-spun terminology. It is true that he was all his life a follower
of Spinoza, and that he may be termed, without hesitation, a naturalist
in philosophy and a pantheist. His adherence to the general attitude of
Spinoza, however, did not exclude a great plasticity and freedom in his
own views, even on the most fundamental points. Thus Goethe did not
admit the mechanical interpretation of nature advocated by Spinoza. He
also assigned, at least to privileged souls, like his own, a more
personal sort of immortality than Spinoza allowed. Moreover, he
harboured a generous sympathy with the dramatic explanations of nature
and history current in the Germany of his day. Yet such transcendental
idealism, making the world the expression of a spiritual endeavour, was
a total reversal of that conviction, so profound in Spinoza, that all
moral energies are resident in particular creatures, themselves sparks
in an absolutely infinite and purposeless world. In a word, Goethe was
not a systematic philosopher. His feeling for the march of things and
for the significance of great personages and great ideas was indeed
philosophical, although more romantic than scientific. His thoughts upon
life were fresh and miscellaneous. They voiced the genius and learning
of his age. They did not express a firm personal attitude, radical and
unified, and transmissible to other times and persons. For philosophers,
after all, have this advantage over men of letters, that their minds,
being more organic, can more easily propagate themselves. They scatter
less influence, but more seeds.

If from Goethe we turn to _Faust_--and it is as the author of _Faust_
only that we shall consider him--the situation is not less ambiguous. In
the play, as the young Goethe first wrote it, philosophy appeared in the
first line,--_Hab nun ach die Philosophey_; but it appeared there, and
throughout the piece, merely as a human experience, a passion or an
illusion, a fund of images or an ambitious art. Later, it is true, under
the spell of fashion and of Schiller, Goethe surrounded his original
scenes with others, like the prologue in heaven, or the apotheosis of
Faust, in which a philosophy of life was indicated; namely, that he who
strives strays, yet in that straying finds his salvation. This idea left
standing all that satirical and Mephistophelian wisdom with which the
whole poem abounds, the later parts no less than the earlier. Frankly,
it was a moral that adorned the tale, without having been the seed of
it, and without even expressing fairly the spirit which it breathes.
_Faust_ remained an essentially romantic poem, written to give vent to a
pregnant and vivid genius, to touch the heart, to bewilder the mind with
a carnival of images, to amuse, to thrill, to humanize; and, if we must
speak of philosophy, there were many express maxims in the poem, and
many insights, half betrayed, that exceeded in philosophic value the
belated and official moral which the author affixed to it, and which he
himself warned us not to take too seriously.[1]
Nothing personal
This review covers the Introduction and Lucretius, the first third of the book. In it Santayana eloquently describes, in his own words, the meaning of Lucretius' "On The Nature of Things". Santayana hits all of the philosophical highlights of the natural, materialist-type thinking found in this important contribution to the western philosophical tradition.

"The sole advantage in possessing great works of literature lies in what they can help us to become. In themselves, as feats performed by theirauthors, they would have forfeited none of their truth or greatness if they had perished before our day. We can neither take away nor add totheir past value or inherent dignity. It is only they, in so far as they are appropriate food and not poison for us, that can add to the present value and dignity of our minds."

So begins the Introduction.

That it is a poem, Santayana points out and suggests we need note many times in this work. He gives us a comparison and contrast to the likes of Lucretius' mentor, Epicurus; to the atomism of Democritus and the "accidental alliance" of it with Epicurean Hedonism, explaining succinctly yet briefly who Epicurus was and what he stood for. I appreciated this background and contrast to the mentor and mentored.

"Lucretius adopts the most radical and the most correct of those cosmological systems which the genius of early Greece had devised. He sees the world to be one great edifice, one great machine, all its parts reacting upon one another, and growing out of one another in obedience to a general pervasive process or life. His poem describes the nature, that is, the
birth and composition, of all things." (From the Introduction)

The following quote misses the purpose of the Indian philosophy, which is like a mix of Lucretius' Venus (affirmation) and Mars (negation):

"Unlike the useless substance of the Indians, the substance of Democritus could offer a calculable, ground for the flux of appearances; for this substance was distributed unequally in the void, and was constantly moving."

He should have said, "...useless substance for doing objective science, pertinent for the supreme science, that of the subject..." or some such.

Again, in this next quote we have the great seeds for the modern scientific method, but it follows the last quote, as if to say how useless the Indian philosophy *really* is. But, again, Indian philosophy isn't western science and, more importantly, isn't designed to discover physical laws; it was designed to discover the Self. East Indians, however, can and still do science with the best of us. So, we see a sort of confusion in Santayana: a comparison of things that do no intersect except in each person rears its ugly head; perhaps the only ugly aspect of life: misunderstanding.

"Every appearance, however fleeting, corresponded to a precise configuration of substance; it arose with that configuration and perished with it. This substance, accordingly, was physical, not metaphysical. It was no dialectical term, but a scientific anticipation, a prophecy as to what an observer who should be properly equipped would discover in the interior of bodies. Materialism is not a system of metaphysics; it is a speculation in chemistry and physiology, to the effect that, if analysis could go deep enough, it would find that all substance was homogeneous, and that all motion was regular."

Before proceeding, let me be clear: This review is not meant disparagingly. If you want to identify with one, none or all of these great men and their "movements" (naturalism, supernaturalism and romanticism, respectively), I strongly encourage any or all of that. But, I will point out what the debate (misunderstanding) about one's identity looks like from *outside* of identity. A good story must identify with itself, so we expect a comparison and a contrasting!

The next quote gives us the measure of all things:

"There are two maxims in Lucretius that suffice, even to this day, to distinguish a thinker who is a naturalist from one who is not. 'Nothing," he says, 'arises in the body in order that we may use it, but what arises brings forth its use.'[1] This is that discarding of final causes on which all progress in science depends. The other maxim runs: 'One thing will grow plain when compared with another: and blind night shall not obliterate the path for thee, before thou hast thoroughly scanned the ultimate things of nature; so much will things throw light on things.'[2] Nature is her own standard; and if she seems to us unnatural, there is no hope for our minds."

Santayana is, here, found doing an adequate job of noting how science works in its investigation of nature; but, notice how, in his last sentence, he is speaking about a monism using a Cartesian dualism. His logic breaks down as it should when he begins to speak as a person, not as a machine.

Let us look at the next quote chosen to exemplify this accidental marriage of Democritus and Epicurus; admit that Santayana is here pointing out how natural philosophy can be used to support, at once, renunciation (which is renounced in science!) and once again, be used to renounce the renouncing "madness"!

"Although science for its own sake could not interest so monkish a nature, yet science might be useful in buttressing the faith, or in removing objections to it. Epicurus therefore departed from the reserve of Socrates, and looked for a natural philosophy that might support his ethics. Of all the systems extant--and they were legion--he found that of Democritus the most helpful and edifying. Better than any other it would persuade men to renounce the madness that must be renounced and to enjoy the pleasures that may be enjoyed. But, since it was adopted on these external and pragmatic grounds, the system of Democritus did not need to be adopted entire. In fact, one change at least was imperative. The motion of the atoms must not be wholly regular and mechanical. Chance must be admitted, that Fate might be removed."

Should we, then, claim Epicurus the first quantum mechanic? His vindication is found in admitting it is so along with the implications for the seeds of Lucretius' defeat, not admitted at all by anyone save for those who would fight for the present, physical theory supported, truth.

In the next quote we see the inherent contradiction presented to us when we mix physical theory with human theorizing. Can you see the problem?

"Materialism, like any system of natural philosophy, carries with it no commandments and no advice. It merely describes the world, including the aspirations and consciences of mortals, and refers all to a material ground."

Materialism cannot carry with it "no commandments and no advice" by "merely" describing mortal aspirations and conscience, which is only the capability of the gods (our own selves).

He gets himself out of this mess fairly decently with the words that follow that quote. See http://www.gutenberg.org/files/35612/35612-0.txt

Within a sentence or two, Santayana tells us a materialist is "primarily an observer". But, he fails to distinguish between observing the inner-life with the same fervor as the external-life. This is probably because it is true. The materialist doesn't observe the inner-life. Thus, do we see how he cannot judge rightly if mortal conscience belongs to matter.

**********************************************************
This review covers Dante, the second third of the book. In it Santayana eloquently describes, in his own words, the meaning of Dante's "Divine Comedy". Santayana hits all of the philosophical highlights of the supernatural, theological-type thinking found in this important contribution to the western philosophical tradition.

**********************************************************
This review covers Goethe, the third third of the book.

In approaching the third of our philosophical poets, there is a scruple
that may cross the mind. Lucretius was undoubtedly a philosophical poet;
his whole poem is devoted to expounding and defending a system of
philosophy. In Dante the case is almost as plain. The _Divine Comedy_ is
a moral and personal fable; yet not only are many passages explicitly
philosophical, but the whole is inspired and controlled by the most
definite of religious systems and of moral codes. Dante, too, is
unmistakably a philosophical poet. But was Goethe a philosopher? And is
_Faust_ a philosophical poem?

If we say so, it must be by giving a certain latitude to our terms.
Goethe was the wisest of mankind; too wise, perhaps, to be a philosopher
in the technical sense, or to try to harness this wild world in a
brain-spun terminology. It is true that he was all his life a follower
of Spinoza, and that he may be termed, without hesitation, a naturalist
in philosophy and a pantheist. His adherence to the general attitude of
Spinoza, however, did not exclude a great plasticity and freedom in his
own views, even on the most fundamental points. Thus Goethe did not
admit the mechanical interpretation of nature advocated by Spinoza. He
also assigned, at least to privileged souls, like his own, a more
personal sort of immortality than Spinoza allowed. Moreover, he
harboured a generous sympathy with the dramatic explanations of nature
and history current in the Germany of his day. Yet such transcendental
idealism, making the world the expression of a spiritual endeavour, was
a total reversal of that conviction, so profound in Spinoza, that all
moral energies are resident in particular creatures, themselves sparks
in an absolutely infinite and purposeless world. In a word, Goethe was
not a systematic philosopher. His feeling for the march of things and
for the significance of great personages and great ideas was indeed
philosophical, although more romantic than scientific. His thoughts upon
life were fresh and miscellaneous. They voiced the genius and learning
of his age. They did not express a firm personal attitude, radical and
unified, and transmissible to other times and persons. For philosophers,
after all, have this advantage over men of letters, that their minds,
being more organic, can more easily propagate themselves. They scatter
less influence, but more seeds.

If from Goethe we turn to _Faust_--and it is as the author of _Faust_
only that we shall consider him--the situation is not less ambiguous. In
the play, as the young Goethe first wrote it, philosophy appeared in the
first line,--_Hab nun ach die Philosophey_; but it appeared there, and
throughout the piece, merely as a human experience, a passion or an
illusion, a fund of images or an ambitious art. Later, it is true, under
the spell of fashion and of Schiller, Goethe surrounded his original
scenes with others, like the prologue in heaven, or the apotheosis of
Faust, in which a philosophy of life was indicated; namely, that he who
strives strays, yet in that straying finds his salvation. This idea left
standing all that satirical and Mephistophelian wisdom with which the
whole poem abounds, the later parts no less than the earlier. Frankly,
it was a moral that adorned the tale, without having been the seed of
it, and without even expressing fairly the spirit which it breathes.
_Faust_ remained an essentially romantic poem, written to give vent to a
pregnant and vivid genius, to touch the heart, to bewilder the mind with
a carnival of images, to amuse, to thrill, to humanize; and, if we must
speak of philosophy, there were many express maxims in the poem, and
many insights, half betrayed, that exceeded in philosophic value the
belated and official moral which the author affixed to it, and which he
himself warned us not to take too seriously.[1]
Steelcaster
It would be better if Amazon or someone could identify publications like this as monographs rather than books.
This is an article written by Santayana. It advances the position that the three poets summarize three major themes in western thinking. I enjoyed Santayana's turn of phrase, and turned back to Lucretius. I may re read Dante (maybe) and Goethe (doubtful)
Steelcaster
It would be better if Amazon or someone could identify publications like this as monographs rather than books.
This is an article written by Santayana. It advances the position that the three poets summarize three major themes in western thinking. I enjoyed Santayana's turn of phrase, and turned back to Lucretius. I may re read Dante (maybe) and Goethe (doubtful)
Ueledavi
I was delighted to find this book, as I'm rereading Lucretius in a different translation and thought Santayana's views might form an edifying commentary alongside my reading. Arguably, the discovery of Lucretius's The Nature of Things summarizing and elucidating Epicurus and Democritus formed one of the intellectual,sparks that became the flame of the Renaisance, the Enlighhtenment and humanism. Santayana helps connect the dots through Descartes, John Locke and other, and to set Lucretius in the context of later philosophies.
Ueledavi
I was delighted to find this book, as I'm rereading Lucretius in a different translation and thought Santayana's views might form an edifying commentary alongside my reading. Arguably, the discovery of Lucretius's The Nature of Things summarizing and elucidating Epicurus and Democritus formed one of the intellectual,sparks that became the flame of the Renaisance, the Enlighhtenment and humanism. Santayana helps connect the dots through Descartes, John Locke and other, and to set Lucretius in the context of later philosophies.
Grillador
Very well written with interesting comparisons and general comments.
Grillador
Very well written with interesting comparisons and general comments.
Windforge
It's much better to read the three treatises individually without the added commentary.
Windforge
It's much better to read the three treatises individually without the added commentary.
Granigrinn
Excellent summation of three of history's greatest thinkers. Well organized. Format makes it easy to compare the three men's concepts.
Granigrinn
Excellent summation of three of history's greatest thinkers. Well organized. Format makes it easy to compare the three men's concepts.
I had never read Santayana before and was surprised and delighted. His prose is clear and straightforward. His ideas and knowledge are amazing.
I had never read Santayana before and was surprised and delighted. His prose is clear and straightforward. His ideas and knowledge are amazing.