The place of essence in the epistemology of George Santayana
Flynn, John Christian
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The purpose of this thesis is to determine the place of essences in the epistemology of Santayana and by doing so to make some judgment as to the adequacy of his view. The place of essences is considered within the framework of certain established epistemological problems, viz., the origin and nature of knowledge, the structure of the knowing situation, and the possibility of knowledge. Finally the theory of essences is summarized and criticized but only after setting Santayana within the perspective of critical realism. As a critical realist Santayana believes that knowledge is mediated and he is therefore concerned with the nature of the mediating vehicle. The problem of error presents a serfous obstacle to the assertion that the data of experience are constituent elements of their objects. And yet not all of our experience is erroneously interpreted, hence the object must be considered as independent of appearances and yet somehow appearance must be considered as relevant to its object. Essences, then, cannot be physical and as relevant neither can they be considered as subjective mental products, therefore they must be considered as neutral [TRUNCATED]
Thesis (M.A.)--Boston University
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