The unknowable: The pragmatist critique of matter

: Santayana's materialism is often the target of attack by critics past and present that are sympathetic to pragmatism. A common theme found in the objections of Santayana's critics is that matter is "unknowable". After briefly outlining Santayana's materialism and discussing his relationship to the pragmatist movement, four formulations of the "unknowable" objection are presented: (1) Matter is unknowable because it is not given in experience, (2) Matter is unknowable because its true nature cannot be revealed in perception, (3) Matter is unknowable because it has no properties, (4) Matter is unknowable because existence is a surd. It is argued that these objections are based in part on persistent misunderstandings of Santayana's materialism and that some of the more controversial aspects of his ontology are similar to ideas found in the writings of James and Peirce
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.2979/TRA.2006.42.2.206
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 24,463
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Beth J. Singer (1978). Signs of Existence. Southern Journal of Philosophy 16 (4):415-427.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

60 ( #81,386 of 1,925,539 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

27 ( #17,191 of 1,925,539 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.