American transcendentalism is essentially a kind of practice by which the world of facts and the categories of common sense are temporarily exchanged for the world of ideas and the categories of imagination. The point of this exchange is to make life better by lifting us above the conflicts and struggles that weigh on our souls. As these chains fall away, our souls rise to heightened experiences of freedom and union with the good. Emerson and Thoreau are the two most (...) significant nineteenth century proponents of American transcendentalism. (shrink)
One of the merits of Royce’s writings is that Royce has set his sights high. The expanded edition of Race Questions, Provincialism, and Other American Problems, edited by Scott L. Pratt and Shannon Sullivan, is no exception to this rule. In pointing the way to “social salvation,” the shorter “Provincialism”—one of the essays added to the originals to form the expanded edition—captures the overarching purpose of the book and of much of Royce’s philosophy. The essays address different moral problems, but (...) they share the common goal of promoting what is arguably the highest ideal of civilized human life. Yet the republication of a philosophy book after an extended period of neglect raises the concern that .. (shrink)
Knowing that we are finite, how can we live to the fullest? Spanish/American philosopher George Santayana described a special kind of transcendence or "spirituality" that enables us to fully enjoy the present moment, regardless of our limited existence. This book clarifies and extends Santayana's account of spirituality, while suggesting how the detachment of spirituality can relieve human suffering, enrich our lives, and make us better human beings.