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Abstract

While Santayana’s theory of spirituality is recent and structured by categories derived from Western philosophical reflection, spirituality is ancient and in a sense non-Western. The title of the slim volume containing Santayana’s most concentrated account of spirituality, Platonism and the Spiritual Life, dates spirituality back to the time of Plato or earlier. In fact, spirituality could be as much as 3,000 years older. Nor does the title suggest the fact that spirituality was born on the Indian subcontinent. However, the arguments of Platonism and the Spiritual Life show that Santayana understood spirituality by contrast with Plato’s philosophy and Neoplatonism. What he called spirituality was prefigured in the writings of Plato and his followers, but Santayana was getting at what spirituality is by exploring what it is not.

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© 2015 Michael Brodrick

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Brodrick, M. (2015). Santayana and Schopenhauer. In: The Ethics of Detachment in Santayana’s Philosophy. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137472489_6

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