Buy New
$13.08
Qty:1
  • List Price: $14.99
  • Save: $1.91 (13%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 8 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
The Life of Reason (Great... has been added to your Cart
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Life of Reason (Great Books in Philosophy) Paperback – May 1, 1998


See all 15 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
$13.08
$7.37 $4.59
Best%20Books%20of%202014
$13.08 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 8 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.


Frequently Bought Together

The Life of Reason (Great Books in Philosophy) + The Sense of Beauty: Being the Outline of Aesthetic Theory + Scepticism and Animal Faith
Price for all three: $32.23

Buy the selected items together

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Holiday Deals in Books
Holiday Deals in Books
Find deals for every reader in the Holiday Deals in Books store, featuring savings of up to 50% on cookbooks, children's books, literature & fiction, and more.

Product Details

  • Series: Great Books in Philosophy
  • Paperback: 504 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (May 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573922102
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573922104
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.2 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #178,990 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

107 of 109 people found the following review helpful By Greg Nyquist VINE VOICE on February 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
In a century in which philosophy has been taken over by pedants eager to "analyze" every technical problem ever devised by the perverted ingenuity of the mind of man--technical problems, moreover, which, as Santayana himself once put it, are "solved best by not raising them"--it is comforting to know that at least one major philosopher never forgot what philosophy is really all about: namely, wisdom and love of knowledge. Whereas other philosophers seek to impress by being original or controversial or obscure, Santayana merely attempts to describe things as they are. Santayana is above all a realist, not merely in the philosophical sense of believing that external objects exist outside of man's consciousness, but also in the more general sense of accepting the world as it really is and not as we might wish it could be. So many philosophers seem motivated primarily by a desire to rationalize away the disagreeable aspects of reality. Santayana's approach is different. While recognizing that reality has its disagreeable elements (Santayana was certainly no optimist), he seeks to distinguish, as he once put it, the part of this disagreeable or mixed reality "that could be loved and chosen from the reminder."
In "The Life of Reason," Santayana sought to explain how reason emerges in five separate areas of human existence: thought, society, religion, art and science. Originally, Santayana devoted one book to each subject. In this present edition, all five books have been abridged by the author and made into a single volume. The unabridged version is superior to this one. The abridged version is more difficult to follow, because in the process of condensing five books into one, gaps have been created in the exposition of Santayana's thought.
Read more ›
5 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By hlwoutanm@aol.com on September 13, 1998
Format: Paperback
The Life of Reason is a marvelously executed, exceptionally elegant philosophical tour de force. Santayana refuses to be blinded by prejudicial notions and founds his philosophical hermeneutic on common-sense, logic, and probability. One reviewer here has noted that Santayana takes a myopic perspective on religion. Frankly, this is baffling. Santayana believes that religion is a kind of species of literature and that we should not look to it for scientific insights. In contrast, he believes that religion, in the abstract, has, as all belief systems do, a rational framework, so to speak. In addition to this, Santayana finds much about theology and religious ritual, more aesthetically speaking, intriguing. This is hardly a one-sided view. The Life of Reason will not interest those attracted to the turgid obfuscatory mutterings of Heidegger, postmodernist critics, and other related thinkers. It will appeal though to those interested in analytic philosophy, logic, and scientific skepticism. A wonderful book.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Geoff Puterbaugh on April 26, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Kindle version of this book is not very well-done. It's taken straight from the Gutenberg project and can only be read with the large Kindle turned sideways into landscape mode.

There is ANOTHER Kindle edition from Dover which is a heck of a lot better!

Check it out yourself: download a sample and see what you get!

Now, as for "The Life of Reason" itself, you need to know that this philosophical masterpiece was originally published in five volumes, and that the one-volume version involved (of course) serious re-writing.

But where can you find the original five-volume edition?! It's out of print.

The Kindle edition from Dover has all five volumes, and it's a great deal. But I grew frustrated at trying to deal with this huge masterpiece on the Kindle, and finally found a bookshop offering the five Dover volumes used (for about $50). If you come to like Santayana, you may well go this route yourself. The Kindle is a great invention, but it's not so hot for constant page-flipping, comparison, and all that. For some things, you will want the actual printed books.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By B. Thornton on October 10, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is not a book for the uneducated, the young, or those who have not spread their intellectual endeavors definitively over a wide range of subjects.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Life of Reason is such an ominously serious-sounding title, one so ponderously heavy, that the book's purpose and meaning may take the reader by surprise. When George Santayana refers to the life of reason he means one that is lived in a way and in an institutional context that promotes human happiness. As things stand, the author finds much in our world that is man-made and deemed important, even essential to living a decent and responsible life, but that is thoroughly incongruent with human happiness. He explains this and a great deal more in a book that is distinctive for the author's mastery of elegant English prose and his voluminous knowledge.

The Life of Reason is surely the work of an author comfortable with an astonishingly broad range of commonplace and simple, as well as sophisticated and complex material that he discusses masterfully at a very high level of abstraction. His style is well suited to a cosmopolitan intellectual who approaches his work as a rigorously disciplined scholar. His wide sweep of interests and attainments is consistent with the breadth and nature of his objective, covering just about every organization and activity that bears, for good or ill, on attaining human happiness and thereby living a life of reason.

The specific issues dealt with, as a result, are sometimes ones that today's readers will find familiar: the family, politics, religion, sex roles, and ethnic differences are among them. Santayana's remarkably candid and accurate account of the over-time changes in feeling and objectives that characterize the contemporary family is one of the best things I've read on this mundane topic.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?