Analysis Of George Santayana 's ' Intellectual Ambition Essay

1044 Words Mar 11th, 2016 5 Pages
George Santayana, in his essay “Intellectual Ambition,” asserts that humans must work to eliminate bias created by the use of imagination over the use of their senses and understanding in their perceptions of reality; he states that the faculty of understanding is often dulled by that of imagination, which often wastes initially “good” ideas by turning them into unrealistic dreams. Santayana supports his claims by describing the role of the sense of sight in the human mind, then the thought process of understanding as influenced by imagination, making his points through the use of parallelism, imagery, and syntactical methods. His purpose in writing this piece is to motivate his peers to strive for a more objective analysis of human systems and institutions, which, from his perspective, would be a more accurate measure of the truth. (2) Santayana writes in a formal tone for an academic audience, even though his proposals would arguably benefit an average person more than they would a scholar. Much of the piece is extremely “meta”, emphasizing the psychological process of thinking, which makes it somewhat difficult to process at times, and therefore diminishing the accessibility of the work to more casual audiences.
Santayana begins his piece with a paragraph consisting of a single, declarative sentence, which asserts that the human mind is flawed, and therefore, human systems of ideas contain the alliterative plagues of “incoherence and instability,” as well as limited…

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