Why Santayana? Why Now?

Santayana offers a vision of human life and values without retreating into superstition. He conceives science without arrogance; religion without fanaticism; pluralism without coercion; and disillusion without nihilism.

Santayana was the most intellectual of public intellectuals, a best-selling novelist who wrote unconventional philosophical works. He rejected academic professionalism but never aspired to punditry. He lived a relaxed and simple life devoted to contemplation, writing, and quietly generous friendship.

Santayana’s broadly humanistic outlook is grounded in European culture with deep appreciation of Asian philosophy and undeniably influenced by American experience. It is a serious and cheerful alternative to irrationalism of all kinds. It values the richest fruits of social life such as religion, art, and science; acknowledges the conflicted nature of human experience; and imagines in detail the harmony of a life of reason. Santayana’s philosophy is materialism without reductionism and idealism without fanaticism.