The Life of Reason

The Life of Reason


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The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Life of Reason, by George Santayana
This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online Title: The Life of Reason Author: George Santayana Release Date: February 14, 2005 [eBook #15000] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 ***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE LIFE OF REASON***  E-text prepared by Marilynda Fraser-Cunliffe, Garrett Alley, and the Project Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team
The Phases of Human Progress Volumes One Through Five
hê gar noy enhergeia zôhê
In Five Volumes
Introductionto Life of Reason Volume One Volume Two Volume Three Volume Four Volume Five
DOVER PUBLICATIONS, INC. NEW YORK Published in Canada by General Publishing Company, Ltd., 30 Lesmill Road, Don Mills, Toronto, Ontario. Published in the United Kingdom by Constable and Company, Ltd., 10 Orange Street, London WC2H 7EG. Manufactured in the United States of America Dover Publications, Inc. 180 Varick Street New York, N.Y. 10014
Introduction to "The Life of Reason" THE SUBJECT OF THIS WORK, ITS METHOD AND ANTECEDENTS Progress is relative to an ideal which reflection creates.—Efficacious reflection is reason.—The Life of Reason a name for all practical thought and all action justified by its fruits in consciousness.—It is the sum of Art.—It has a natural basis which makes it definable.—Modern philosophy not helpful.—Positivism no positive ideal.—Christian philosophy mythical: it misrepresents facts and conditions.—Liberal theology a superstitious attitude toward a natural world. —The Greeks thought straight in both physics and morals.—Heraclitus and the immediate.—Democritus and the naturally intelligible.—Socrates and the autonom of mind.—Plato ave the ideal its full ex ression.—Aristotle su lied
its natural basis.—Philosophy thus complete, yet in need of restatement. —Plato's myths in lieu of physics.—Aristotle's final causes.—Modern science can avoid such expedients.—Transcendentalism true but inconsequential. —Verbal ethics.—Spinoza and the Life of Reason.—Modern and classic sources of inspiration Volume One:Reason in Common Sense CHAPTER I THE BIRTH OF REASON Existence always has an Order, called Chaos when incompatible with a chosen good.—Absolute order, or truth, is static, impotent, indifferent.—In experience order is relative to interests which determine the moral status of all powers.—The discovered conditions of reason not its beginning.—The flux first. —Life the fixation of interests.—Primary dualities.—First gropings.—Instinct the nucleus of reason.—Better and worse the fundamental categories Pages35-47 CHAPTER II FIRST STEPS AND FIRST FLUCTUATIONS Dreams before thoughts.—The mind vegetates uncontrolled save by physical forces.—Internal order supervenes.—Intrinsic pleasure in existence.—Pleasure a good, but not pursued or remembered unless it suffuses an object. —Subhuman delights.—Animal living.—Causes at last discerned.—Attention guided by bodily impulse Pages48-63 CHAPTER III THE DISCOVERY OF NATURAL OBJECTS Nature man's home.—Difficulties in conceiving nature.—Transcendental qualms.—Thought an aspect of life and transitive.—Perception cumulative and synthetic.—No identical agent needed.—Example of the sun.—His primitive divinity.—Causes and essences contrasted.—Voracity of intellect.—Can the transcendent be known?—Can the immediate be meant?—Is thought a bridge from sensation to sensation?—Mens naturaliter platonica.—Identity and independence predicated of things Pages64-83 CHAPTER IV ON SOME CRITICS OF THIS DISCOVERY Psychology as a solvent.—Misconceived rôle of intelligence.—All criticism dogmatic.—A choice of hypotheses.—Critics disguised enthusiasts.—Hume's gratuitous scepticism.—Kant's substitute for knowledge.—False subjectivity attributed to reason.—Chimerical reconstruction.—The Critique a work on mental architecture.—Incoherences.—Nature the true system of conditions. —Artificial pathos in subjectivism.—Berkeley's algebra of perception.—Horror of physics.—Puerility in morals.—Truism and sophism.—Reality is the practical made intelligible.—Vain "realities" and trustworthy "fictions" Pages84-117 CHAPTER V
NATURE UNIFIED AND MIND DISCERNED Man's feeble grasp of nature.—Its unity ideal and discoverable only by steady thought.—Mind the erratic residue of existence.—Ghostly character of mind. —Hypostasis and criticism both need control.—Comparative constancy in objects and in ideas.—Spirit and sense defined by their relation to nature. —Vague notions of nature involve vague notions of spirit.—Sense and spirit the life of nature, which science redistributes but does not deny Pages118-136 CHAPTER VI DISCOVERY OF FELLOW-MINDS Another background for current experience may be found in alien minds.—Two usual accounts of this conception criticised: analogy between bodies, and dramatic dialogue in the soul.—Subject and object empirical, not transcendental, terms.—Objects originally soaked in secondary and tertiary qualities.—Tertiary qualities transposed.—Imputed mind consists of the tertiary qualities of perceived body—"Pathetic fallacy" normal, yet ordinarily fallacious. —Case where it is not a fallacy.—Knowledge succeeds only by accident. —Limits of insight.—Perception of character.—Conduct divined, consciousness ignored.—Consciousness untrustworthy.—Metaphorical mind.—Summary Pages137-160 CHAPTER VII CONCRETIONS IN DISCOURSE AND IN EXISTENCE So-called abstract qualities primary.—General qualities prior to particular things.—Universals are concretions in discourse.—Similar reactions, merged in one habit of reproduction, yield an idea.—Ideas are ideal.—So-called abstractions complete facts.—Things concretions of concretions.—Ideas prior in the order of knowledge, things in the order of nature.—Aristotle's compromise.—Empirical bias in favour of contiguity.—Artificial divorce of logic from practice.—Their mutual involution.—Rationalistic suicide. —Complementary character of essence and existence Pages161-183 CHAPTER VIII ON THE RELATIVE VALUE OF THINGS AND IDEAS Moral tone of opinions derived from their logical principle.—Concretions in discourse express instinctive reactions.—Idealism rudimentary.—Naturalism sad.—The soul akin to the eternal and ideal.—Her inexperience.—Platonism spontaneous.—Its essential fidelity to the ideal.—Equal rights of empiricism. —Logic dependent on fact for its importance, and for its subsistence.—Reason and docility.—Applicable thought and clarified experience Pages184-204 CHAPTER IX HOW THOUGHT IS PRACTICAL Functional relations of mind and body.—They form one natural life.—Artifices involved in separating them.—Consciousness expresses vital equilibrium and docility.—Its worthlessness as a cause and value as an expression. —Thought's march automatic and thereby implicated in events.
—Contemplative essence of action.—Mechanical efficacy alien to thought's essence.—Consciousness transcendental and transcendent.—It is the seat of value.—Apparent utility of pain.—Its real impotence.—Preformations involved. —Its untoward significance.—Perfect function not unconscious.—Inchoate ethics.—Thought the entelechy of being.—Its exuberance Pages205-235 CHAPTER X THE MEASURE OF VALUES IN REFLECTION Honesty in hedonism.—Necessary qualifications.—The will must judge. —Injustice inherent in representation.—Æsthetic and speculative cruelty. —Imputed values: their inconstancy.—Methods of control.—Example of fame. —Disproportionate interest in the æsthetic.—Irrational religious allegiance. —Pathetic idealisations.—Inevitable impulsiveness in prophecy.—The test a controlled present ideal Page236-255 CHAPTER XI SOME ABSTRACT CONDITIONS OF THE IDEAL The ultimate end a resultant.—Demands the substance of ideals.—Discipline of the will.—Demands made practical and consistent.—The ideal natural. —Need of unity and finality.—Ideals of nothing.—Darwin on moral sense. —Conscience and reason compared.—Reason imposes no new sacrifice. —Natural goods attainable and compatible in principle.—Harmony the formal and intrinsic demand of reason Pages256-268 CHAPTER XII FLUX AND CONSTANCY IN HUMAN NATURE Respectable tradition that human nature is fixed.—Contrary currents of opinion. —Pantheism.—Instability in existences does not dethrone their ideals. —Absolutist philosophy human and halting.—All science a deliverance of momentary thought.—All criticism likewise.—Origins inessential.—Ideals functional.—They are transferable to similar beings.—Authority internal. —Reason autonomous.—Its distribution.—Natural selection of minds.—Living stability.—Continuity necessary to progress.—Limits of variation. Spirit a heritage.—Perfectibility.—Nature and human nature.—Human nature formulated.—Its concrete description reserved for the sequel Pages269-291 Volume Two:Reason in Society CHAPTER I LOVE Fluid existences have none but ideal goals.—Nutrition and reproduction. —Priority of the latter.—Love celebrates the initial triumph of form and is deeply ideal.—Difficulty in describing love.—One-sided or inverted theories about it. —Sexual functions its basis.—Structure the ground of faculty and faculty of duty.—Glory of animal love.—Its degradation when instincts become numerous and competitive.—Moral censure provoked. The heart alienated from the world.—Childish ideals.—Their light all focussed on the object of love.—Three
environments for love.—Subjectivity of the passion.—Machinery regulating choice.—The choice unstable.—Instinctive essence of love.—Its ideality.—Its universal scope.—Its euthanasia. Pages3-34 CHAPTER II THE FAMILY The family arises spontaneously.—It harmonises natural interests.—Capacity to be educated goes with immaturity at birth.—The naturally dull achieve intelligence.—It is more blessed to save than to create.—Parental instinct regards childhood only.—Handing on the torch of life.—Adventitious functions assumed by the family.—Inertia in human nature.—Family tyrannies.—Difficulty in abstracting from the family.—Possibility of substitutes.—Plato's heroic communism.—Opposite modern tendencies.—Individualism in a sense rational.—The family tamed.—Possible readjustments and reversions.—The ideal includes generation.—Inner values already lodged in this function. —Outward beneficence might be secured by experiment Pages35-59 CHAPTER III INDUSTRY, GOVERNMENT, AND WAR Patriarchal economy.—Origin of the state.—Three uses of civilisation.—Its rationality contingent.—Sources of wealth.—Excess of it possible.—Irrational industry.—Its jovial and ingenious side.—Its tyranny.—An impossible remedy. —Basis of government.—How rationality accrues.—Ferocious but useful despotisms.—Occasional advantage of being conquered.—Origin of free governments.—Their democratic tendencies.—Imperial peace.—Nominal and real status of armies.—Their action irresponsible.—Pugnacity human. —Barrack-room philosophy.—Military virtues.—They are splendid vices. —Absolute value in strife.—Sport a civilised way of preserving it.—Who shall found the universal commonwealth? Pages60-87 CHAPTER IV THE ARISTOCRATIC IDEAL Eminence, once existing, grows by its own operation.—Its causes natural and its privileges just.—Advantage of inequality.—Fable of the belly and the members.—Fallacy in it.—Theism expresses better the aristocratic ideal.—A heaven with many mansions.—If God is defined as the human ideal, apotheosis the only paradise.—When natures differ perfections differ too. —Theory that stations actually correspond to faculty.—Its falsity.—Feeble individuality the rule.—Sophistical envy.—Inequality is not a grievance; suffering is.—Mutilation by crowding.—A hint to optimists.—How aristocracies might do good.—Man adds wrong to nature's injury.—Conditions of a just inequality Pages88-113 CHAPTER V DEMOCRACY Democracy as an end and as a means.—Natural democracy leads to monarchy.—Artificial democracy is an extension of privilege.—Ideals and
expedients.—Well-founded distrust of rulers. Yet experts, if rational, would serve common interests.—People jealous of eminence.—It is representative, but subject to decay.—Ancient citizenship a privilege.—Modern democracy industrial.—Dangers to current civilisation.—Is current civilisation a good? —Horrors of materialistic democracy.—Timocracy or socialistic aristocracy. —The difficulty the same as in all Socialism.—The masses would have to be plebeian in position and patrician in feeling.—Organisation for ideal ends breeds fanaticism.—Public spirit the life of democracy. Pages114-136 CHAPTER VI FREE SOCIETY Primacy of nature over spirit.—All experience at bottom liberal.—Social experience has its ideality too.—The self an ideal.—Romantic egotism. —Vanity.—Ambiguities of fame.—Its possible ideality.—Comradeship. —External conditions of friendship.—Identity in sex required, and in age. —Constituents of friendship.—Personal liking.—The refracting human medium for ideas.—Affection based on the refraction.—The medium must also be transparent.—Common interests indispensable.—Friendship between man and wife.—Between master and disciple.—Conflict between ideal and natural allegiance.—Automatic idealisation of heroes Pages137-159 CHAPTER VII PATRIOTISM The creative social environment, since it eludes sense, must be represented symbolically.—Ambiguous limits of a native country, geographical and moral. —Sentimental and political patriotism.—The earth and the race the first objects of rational loyalty.—Race, when distinct, the greatest of distinctions.—"Pure" races may be moraliy sterile.—True nationality direction on a definite ideal. —Country well represented by domestic and civic religion.—Misleading identification of country with government.—Sporting or belligerent patriotism. —Exclusive patriotism rational only when the government supported is universally beneficent.—Accidents of birth and training affect the ideal.—They are conditions and may contribute something.—They are not ends.—The symbol for country may be a man and may become an idol —Feudal . representation sensitive but partial.—Monarchical representation comprehensive but treacherous.—Impersonal symbols no advantage. —Patriotism not self-interest, save to the social man whose aims are ideal Pages160-183 CHAPTER VIII IDEAL SOCIETY The gregarious instinct all social instincts in suspense.—It gives rise to conscience or sympathy with the public voice.—Guises of public opinion. —Oracles and revelations.—The ideal a measure for all existences and no existence itself.—Contrast between natural and intellectual bonds.—Appeal from man to God, from real to ideal society.—Significant symbols revert to the concrete.—Nature a symbol for destiny.—Representative notions have also inherent values.—Religion and science indirectly cognitive and directly ideal.
—Their opposite outlook.—In translating existence into human terms they give human nature its highest exercise.—Science should be mathematical and religion anthropomorphic.—Summary of this book Pages184-205 Volume Three:Reason in Religion CHAPTER I HOW RELIGION MAY BE AN EMBODIMENT OF REASON Religion is certainly significant, but not literally true.—All religion is positive and particular.—It aims at the Life of Reason, but largely fails to attain it.—Its approach imaginative.—When its poetic method is denied its value is jeopardised.—It precedes science rather than hinders it.—It is merely symbolic and thoroughly human. Pages3-14 CHAPTER II RATIONAL ELEMENTS IN SUPERSTITION Felt causes not necessary causes.—Mechanism and dialectic ulterior principles.—Early selection of categories.—Tentative rational worlds. —Superstition a rudimentary philosophy.—A miracle, though unexpected, more intelligible than a regular process.—Superstitions come of haste to understand. —Inattention suffers them to spread.—Genius may use them to convey an inarticulate wisdom. Pages15-27 CHAPTER III MAGIC, SACRIFICE, AND PRAYER Fear created the gods.—Need also contributed.—The real evidences of God's existence.—Practice precedes theory in religion.—Pathetic, tentative nature of religious practices.—Meanness and envy in the gods, suggesting sacrifice. —Ritualistic arts.—Thank-offerings.—The sacrifice of a contrite heart.—Prayer is not utilitarian in essence. Its supposed efficacy magical.—Theological puzzles.—A real efficacy would be mechanical.—True uses of prayer.—It clarifies the ideal.—It reconciles to the inevitable.—It fosters spiritual life by conceiving it in its perfection.—Discipline and contemplation are their own reward Pages28-48 CHAPTER IV MYTHOLOGY Status of fable in the mind.—It requires genius.—It only half deceives.—Its interpretative essence.—Contrast with science.—Importance of the moral factor.—Its submergence.—Myth justifies magic.—Myths might be metaphysical.—They appear ready made, like parts of the social fabric.—They perplex the conscience.—Incipient myth in the Vedas.—Natural suggestions soon exhausted.—They will be carried out in abstract fancy.—They may become moral ideals.—The Sun-god moralised.—The leaven of religion is moral idealism Pages49-68 CHAPTER V
THE HEBRAIC TRADITION Phases of Hebraism.—Israel's tribal monotheism.—Problems involved.—The prophets put new wine in old bottles.—Inspiration and authority.—Beginnings of the Church.—Bigotry turned into a principle.—Penance accepted. —Christianity combines optimism and asceticism.—Reason smothered between the two.—Religion made an institution Pages69-82 CHAPTER VI THE CHRISTIAN EPIC The essence of the good not adventitious but expressive.—A universal religion must interpret the whole world.—Double appeal of Christianity.—Hebrew metaphors become Greek myths.—Hebrew philosophy of history identified with Platonic cosmology.—The resulting orthodox system.—The brief drama of things.—Mythology is a language and must be understood to convey something by symbols Pages83-98 CHAPTER VII PAGAN CUSTOM AND BARBARIAN GENIUS INFUSED INTO CHRISTIANITY Need of paganising Christianity.—Catholic piety more human than the liturgy. —Natural pieties.—Refuge taken in the supernatural.—The episodes of life consecrated mystically.—Paganism chastened, Hebraism liberalised.—The system post-rational and founded on despair.—External conversion of the barbarians.—Expression of the northern genius within Catholicism,—Internal discrepancies between the two.—Tradition and instinct at odds in Protestantism.—The Protestant spirit remote from that of the gospel. —Obstacles to humanism.—The Reformation and counter-reformation. —Protestantism an expression of character.—It has the spirit of life and of courage, but the voice of inexperience.—Its emancipation from Christianity Pages99-126 CHAPTER VIII CONFLICT OF MYTHOLOGY WITH MORAL TRUTH Myth should dissolve with the advance of science.—But myth is confused with the moral values it expresses.—Neo-Platonic revision.—It made mythical entities of abstractions.—Hypostasis ruins ideals.—The Stoic revision.—The ideal surrendered before the physical.—Parallel movements in Christianity. —Hebraism, if philosophical, must be pantheistic.—Pantheism, even when psychic, ignores ideals.—Truly divine action limited to what makes for the good.—Need of an opposing principle.—The standard of value is human. —Hope for happiness makes belief in God Pages127-147 CHAPTER IX THE CHRISTIAN COMPROMISE Suspense between hope and disillusion.—Superficial solution.—But from what shall we be redeemed?—Typical attitude of St. Augustine.—He achieves Platonism.—He identifies it with Christianity.—God the good.—Primary and
secondary religion.—Ambiguous efficacy of the good in Plato.—Ambiguous goodness of the creator in Job.—The Manicheans.—All things good by nature. —The doctrine of creation demands that of the fall.—Original sin.—Forced abandonment of the ideal.—The problem among the Protestants.—Pantheism accepted.—Plainer scorn for the ideal.—The price of mythology is superstition. Pages148-177 CHAPTER X PIETY The core of religion not theoretical.—Loyalty to the sources of our being.—The pious Æneas.—An ideal background required.—Piety accepts natural conditions and present tasks.—The leadership of instinct is normal. —Embodiment essential to spirit.—Piety to the gods takes form from current ideals.—The religion of humanity.—Cosmic piety Pages178-192 CHAPTER XI SPIRITUALITY AND ITS CORRUPTIONS To be spiritual is to live in view of the ideal.—Spirituality natural.—Primitive consciousness may be spiritual.—Spirit crossed by instrumentalities.—One foe of the spirit is worldliness.—The case for and against pleasure.—Upshot of worldly wisdom.—Two supposed escapes from vanity: fanaticism and mysticism.—Both are irrational.—Is there a third course?—Yes, for experience has intrinsic, inalienable values.—For these the religious imagination must supply an ideal standard Pages193-213 CHAPTER XII CHARITY Possible tyranny of reason.—Everything has its rights.—Primary and secondary morality.—Uncharitable pagan justice is not just.—The doom of ancient republics.—Rational charity.—Its limits.—Its mythical supports.—There is intelligence in charity.—Buddhist and Christian forms of it.—Apparent division of the spiritual and the natural Pages214-228 CHAPTER XIII THE BELIEF IN A FUTURE LIFE The length of life a subject for natural science.—"Psychical" phenomena. —Hypertrophies of sense.—These possibilities affect physical existence only. —Moral grounds for the doctrine.—The necessary assumption of a future.—An assumption no evidence.—A solipsistic argument.—Absoluteness and immortality transferred to the gods.—Or to a divine principle in all beings.—In neither case is the individual immortal.—Possible forms of survival. —Arguments from retribution and need of opportunity.—Ignoble temper of both. —False optimistic postulate involved.—Transition to ideality Pages229-250 CHAPTER XIV IDEAL IMMORTALITY
Olympian immortality the first ideal.—Its indirect attainment by reproduction. —Moral acceptance of this compromise.—Even vicarious immortality intrinsically impossible.—Intellectual victory over change.—The glory of it. —Reason makes man's divinity and his immortality.—It is the locus of all truths. —Epicurean immortality, through the truth of existence.—Logical immortality, through objects of thought.—Ethical immortality, through types of excellence Pages251-273 CHAPTER XV CONCLUSION The failure of magic and of mythology.—Their imaginative value.—Piety and spirituality justified.—Mysticism a primordial state of feeling.—It may recur at any stage of culture.—Form gives substance its life and value. Pages274-279 Volume Four:Reason in Art CHAPTER I THE BASIS OF ART IN INSTINCT AND EXPERIENCE Man affects his environment, sometimes to good purpose.—Art is plastic instinct conscious of its aims.—It is automatic.—So are the ideas it expresses. —We are said to control whatever obeys us.—Utility is a result.—The useful naturally stable.—Intelligence is docility.—Art is reason propagating itself. —Beauty an incident in rational art, inseparable from the others. Pages3-17 CHAPTER II RATIONALITY OF INDUSTRIAL ART Utility is ultimately ideal.—Work wasted and chances missed.—Ideals must be interpreted, not prescribed.—The aim of industry is to live well.—Some arts, but no men, are slaves by nature.—Servile arts may grow spontaneous or their products may be renounced.—Art starts from two potentialities: its material and its problem.—Each must be definite and congruous with the other.—A sophism exposed.—Industry prepares matter for the liberal arts.—Each partakes of the other. Pages18-33 CHAPTER III EMERGENCE OF FINE ART Art is spontaneous action made stable by success.—It combines utility and automatism.—Automatism fundamental and irresponsible.—It is tamed by contact with the world.—The dance.—Functions of gesture.—Automatic music. Pages34-43 CHAPTER IV MUSIC Music is a world apart.—It justifies itself.—It is vital and transient.—Its physical affinities.—Physiology of music.—Limits of musical sensibility.—The value of music is relative to them.—Wonders of musical structure.—Its inherent