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George Santayana’s Philosophy Views on Historical Memory Essay


George Santayana noted that individuals who do not have the ability to remember the past are likely to repeat the mistakes. Some attribute the views of Santayana to Plato, who discussed extensively the effects of democracy on society. However, Santayana’s views are original because Plato was simply dissatisfied with democracy. To Plato, democracy was the worst form of governance because it was the tyranny of the multitude. Santayana noted that people were still advocating for democracy yet it had caused serious problems in the Greek society. He observed that it would be productive if people considered historical aspects before advocating for something.

Since people did not remember the effects of democracy, they were likely to advocate for it even if its effects were severe. In the world history, many problems have happened, but people are reluctant to learn from the past problems. For instance, people could not learn from the Great Depression of 1920s. In the 1920s economic crisis, people lost properties worth billions of dollars yet corrective measures were not put in place to prevent the occurrence of the problem in future. In 2007, a worst economic crisis happened. The causes of the crisis were similar to those of 1920..

The First World War resulted to loss of life and property in a number of countries. The causes of the war were well known. Furthermore, the effects of the war were hard to take because people lost everything they had. However, the international community could not learn from the mistakes of the First World War to prevent the occurrence of another war. The Second World War could have been prevented because people were aware of the effects of the war. Santayana note that were people were quick to forget what happened because they had little memories. He advised that people should always keep records of great events to enable them prepare amicably in the future.

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1. IvyPanda. "George Santayana's Philosophy Views on Historical Memory." May 19, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/george-santayanas-philosophy-views-on-historical-memory/.


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IvyPanda. "George Santayana's Philosophy Views on Historical Memory." May 19, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/george-santayanas-philosophy-views-on-historical-memory/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "George Santayana's Philosophy Views on Historical Memory." May 19, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/george-santayanas-philosophy-views-on-historical-memory/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'George Santayana's Philosophy Views on Historical Memory'. 19 May.

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