Lives of the Philosophers

Joe Epstein has some great lines in his insightful set of biographical essays.  Sandwiched between his consideration of the two Henrys (James and Adams) and Adlai Stevenson, he considers the philosopher George Santayana.  In an otherwise positive account, he writes of his disappointment with Santayana’s antisemitism.  After a quick review of some unappealing aspects of other twentieth century philosophers (namely, Wittgenstein, Russell, Sartre, and Heidegger), Epstein writes:  “Contemplation of the lives of the philosophers is enough to drive one to the study of sociology.”

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