Life as Insinuation

George Santayana's Hermeneutics of Finite Life and Human Self

By Katarzyna Kremplewska

Subjects: American Philosophy, Philosophy, Hermeneutics, Comparative Philosophy
Series: SUNY series in American Philosophy and Cultural Thought
Hardcover : 9781438473932, 290 pages, May 2019
Paperback : 9781438473949, 290 pages, January 2020

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Table of contents


1. Guises of the Self

2. The Conception of the Self and Some Basic Concepts of Santayana’s Philosophy

3. The Hermeneutics of Human Self

4. Life as Insinuation

5. Coping with Finitude: Santayana Reading Heidegger

6. The Tragic Aspect of Existence

7. Beyond the Self (into the Political Realm): The Essential Negativity of Human Being and Rational (Self-)Government


A holistic reinterpretation of Santayana’s thought in terms of a dramatic philosophy of life.


In this book, Katarzyna Kremplewska offers a thorough analysis of Santayana's conception of human self, viewed as part of his larger philosophy of life. Santayana emerges as an author of a provocative philosophy of drama, in which human life is acted out. Kremplewska demonstrates how his thought addresses the dynamics of human self in this context and the possibility of sustaining self-integrity while coping with the limitations of finite life. Focusing on particular aspects of Santayana's thought such as his conception of the tragic aspect of existence, and the role of the doctrine of spirit in his philosophical anthropology and critique of culture, this book also sets Santayana's thought in substantial dialogue with other thinkers, such as Heidegger, Bergson, and Nietzsche. Like Santayana's philosophy, this book seeks to build passages between theoretical reflection and practical life with the possibility of a good life in view.

Katarzyna Kremplewska is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences in Poland.


"A luminous and learned account of Santayana's relation to important twentieth-century philosophers by a leading European interpreter of his thought. " — John Lachs, author of Freedom and Limits