This contribute is about what G. Santayana called “dramatic sympathy”. The main question to put is the following: was this so-called “dramatic” or “intuitive sympathy” only a natural attitude of a lonely man driven by his character to live in imagination or was it rather a philosophical concept which plays an important theoretical role? The aim of this contribute is to show that “dramatic sympathy” is rather the latter, i.e. the way Santayana finds out in order to explain the knowledge in its many areas of history, of external world and of other minds. In pursuing this aim the source of the concept of sympathy in Scottish philosophical thought and in literary tradition at the turn of XX century will be put forward, and analogies will be considered with the concept of sympathy in Santayana, since he states, on his side, that dramatic sympathy is the method of literary psychology. Finally it will be tempted to emphasize how much Santayana’s dramatic sympathy is closed to some nowadays cognitive concept such as “embodied mind” and “empathy” are. This last point is the most important in order to see Santayana’s conception in a new light, which was precluded to the many critics who, in the past, imputed him of a lack of scientific understanding.
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