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George SantayanaLiterary Philosopher$
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Irving Singer

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780300080377

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300080377.001.0001

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The Basis of Aesthetic and Moral Criticism

The Basis of Aesthetic and Moral Criticism

(p.173) 8 The Basis of Aesthetic and Moral Criticism
George Santayana

Irving Singer

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses Santayana's theory of criticism, in which his aesthetic and moral philosophy ultimately lead. Taking issue with Croce's view that aesthetics is a separate and unique science, Santayana denies that it is a science at all. In the place of an aesthetic science he finds “the art and function of criticism.” By criticism Santayana means “a reasoned appreciation of human works by a mind not wholly ignorant of their subject or occasion, their school, and their process of manufacture.” Because a work of art is an object that enters into a variety of relations, the critic cannot limit his assessment to an evaluation of beauty. He must be a moral critic, even a moral philosopher, who helps to determine the role that an art object should play in human experience.

Keywords:   theory of criticism, moral philosophy, Croce, aesthetic science, work of art

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