The Works of George Santayana

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Essay Collection Published: The Life of Reason in an Age of Terrorism

The Life of Reason in an Age of Terrorism (Brill, 2018) is a newly published collection of essays based on the conference hosted by the Berlin Practical Philosophy International Forum in the summer of 2016. The book was co-edited by George Santayana Society members Charles Padrón and Chris Skowoński and includes several contributions by writers who have previously published in Overheard in Seville.


MLA Awards Seal to Three Philosophical Poets

The Modern Language Association (MLA) Committee on Scholarly Editions has awarded the critical edition of Three Philosophical Poets: Lucretius, Dante, and Goethe, Volume VIII of The Works of George Santayana, its seal designating it an MLA Approved Edition. The seal acknowledges the accuracy, appropriateness, explicitness, and consistency of editorial procedures that insure the publication of reliable texts. Every critical edition of The Works of George Santayana has earned MLA approval.*

*George Santayana’s Marginalia, Volume VI of The Works of George Santayana, is a selection of marginal notes from Santayana’s library and not strictly a critical edition produced according to critical editing procedures.


George Santayana Society Announces 2017 Angus Kerr-Lawson Prize Competition


The George Santayana Society (GSS) is pleased to offer a prize for outstanding scholarly writing in honor of Professor Angus Kerr-Lawson. The prize is offered in tribute to outstanding contributions made by Kerr-Lawson to Santayana scholarship published in Overheard in Seville: Bulletin of the George Santayana Society. Any scholar not more than five years out of graduate school is invited to compose an essay of approximately 6,000-8,000 words engaging the thought of George Santayana. Authors may address any aspect of Santayana’s thinking, including (but not limited to) other figures and concepts in the American tradition (and beyond); themes such as materialism and naturalism, realism and Platonism, literature and art; and/or issues connected to American intellectual history and American culture. The winner will be awarded $300 and will be invited to present the winning paper before the George Santayana Society at its annual Eastern APA gathering in January 2018. Additionally, the winning paper will be published in the subsequent edition of Overheard in Seville: Bulletin of the George Santayana Society. Runners-up may also be invited to submit their entries for Bulletin publication. The winner and runners-up will be notified in September, 2017. Authors should prepare submissions for blind review and send them electronically in Word format to: The subject line of the email should read: “Kerr-Lawson Prize Submission, [author’s name].” Deadline for submissions is May 21, 2017.

Conversations in the Observatorio ~ Santayana: The Life of Reason

On the 4th of April 2017, at the Instituto Cervantes at Harvard University, the Observatorio de la lengua española y las culturas hispánicas en los Estados Unidos , a panel met to discuss Santayana’s affiliation with the Observatorio. This conversation was moderated by Sean Kelly of Harvard’s Department of Philosophy. The occasion of this gathering couldn’t have been more propitious: to celebrate the completion of the critical edition of The Life of Reason (2011­­-2016), the five-volumes of Santayana’s work that have most influenced American naturalism.

Francisco Moreno Fernández, Director of the Observatorio, opened the event by quoting some of Santayana’s memories about Harvard (that are collected in Persons and Places). Then he introduced the participants of the round table.

The first speaker, Daniel Moreno, of the Instituto de Enseñanza Secundaria Miguel Servet, Zaragoza, Spain, remembered that Santayana finished The Life of Reason in 1906 and that the Santayana Edition finished its edition in 2016, 110 years later. Moreno spoke about Santayana as a classical philosopher who had made the conscious choice to live as a philosopher, and claimed that Santayana’s description of himself “as a thinker. . . born at the wrong time and bred in the wrong way”: a thinker who liked “to hope that someone may later revive parts of [his] philosophy in more favorable circumstances” had come true.

Professor Martin Coleman, Director and Editor of The Santayana Edition, spoke about The Life of Reason, its origin, relevance, and scope. For him, “Santayana thought ideas have symptomatic and expressive value, becoming rational as they harmonize with each other and as they adjust to facts.” Coleman explained the importance of the five volumes of the book: Reason in Common Sense, Reason in Society, Reason in Religion, Reason in Art, and Reason in Science, and explained that the chief value of the Critical Edition lies “in the stability and integrity of the text established through historical research and critical editing procedures.”

Professor John Lachs, Centennial Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University, expressed his appreciation of the general view of The Life of Reason outlined by Coleman and decided not to deal with this book but to add to a fuller understanding of Santayana’s philosophy as a whole by speaking about Scepticism and Animal Faith (1923). For Lachs, this is one of the most important books of philosophy published during the last century. His comments about it captivated the attendees and the questions generated by Lach’s comments provided the opportunity to go in-depth into several aspects of Santayana’s philosophy.

The main conclusion of the dinner was that the next international congress about Santayana should be organized at Harvard, his “home” and the site of his teaching for so many years.

Professor Kelly closed the event by inviting the participants to visit the Department of Philosophy of Harvard, upon whose walls hang the famous pictures of its first members, including George Santayana.

~ Daniel Moreno
May 2017.  Zaragoza, Spain


Santayana Session in World Congress of Philosophy in China

The George Santayana Society has the opportunity to participate in the World Congress of Philosophy in Beijing, China from August 13–20, 2018. The theme of the conference is “Learning to Be Human.” Santayana certainly had much to say about that topic, so it would be great to have several papers. At this point we don’t have a quorum. If we can gather either three confirmed speakers or five tentative speakers we shall go ahead and request a session. The final deadline for a group to submit an application is June 1. We shall decide on May 15 whether we have sufficient interest to apply for a session. If you think you might consider going, please write me as soon as possible at

Richard Rubin

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