Genteel Tradition in American Philosophy and Character and Opinion in the United States


This book brings together two seminal works by George Santayana, one of the most significant philosophers of the twentieth century: Character and Opinion in the United States, which stands with Tocquevilles Democracy in America as one the most insightful works of American cultural criticism ever written, and The Genteel Tradition in American Philosophy, a landmark text of both philosophical analysis and cultural criticism.An introduction by James Seaton situates Santayana in the intellectual and cultural context of his own time. Four additional essays include John Lachs onthe ways Santayanas understanding of the soul of America help explain the relative peace among nationalities and ethnic groups in the United States; Wilfred M. McClay on Santayanas life of the mind as it relates to dominant trends in American culture; Roger Kimball on Santayanas most uncommon benefice, common sense; and James Seaton on Santayanas distinction between English liberty and fierce liberty. All the essays serve to highlight the relevance of Santayanas ideas to current issues in American culture, including education, immigration, and civil rights.

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