Santayana on Embodiment, the Art of Living, and Sexual Aesthetics

in Aesthetic Experience and Somaesthetics
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Santayana’s philosophy of the aesthetic life shares many views with contemporary philosophical conceptions of the art of living, including somaesthetics. The aesthetic model of art and beauty represented by Socrates and Plato gave the most important inspiration to Santayana as it did to Foucault, who articulated the genealogy of “desiring man” in his History of Sexuality. Foucault’s ideas are useful for understanding the role of desire in the aesthetic ontology of Santayana’s life-philosophy, while Santayana’s naturalistic appreciation of embodiment is helpful for contextualizing the project of somaesthetics and defending the ideal of an embodied aesthetic way of life, even one that includes sexual desire as a key element and value.

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