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Despite this potentially forbidding theme, The Metaphysical Club is not a dry tome for academics. Instead, it is a quadruple biography, a wonderfully told story of ideas that advances by turning these thinkers into characters and bringing them to life. Menand links them through the Metaphysical Club, a conversational club formed in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1872. It lasted but a few months, and references to it appear only in Peirce's writings (its real significance seems rather limited), though Holmes and James were both members. (Dewey was much younger than these three, and more an heir than a contemporary.) It is difficult to describe in a sentence or two what they accomplished, though Menand takes a stab at it: "They helped put an end to the idea that the universe is an idea, that beyond the mundane business of making our way as best we can in a world shot through with contingency, there exists some order, invisible to us, whose logic we transgress at our peril." Academic freedom and cultural pluralism are just two of their legacies, and they are linchpins of democracy in a nonideological age, says Menand.
A book like this is necessarily idiosyncratic, yet at the same time this one is sweeping. It presents an accessible survey of intellectual life from roughly the end of the Civil War to the start of the cold war. Dozens of figures receive fascinating thumbnail sketches, from Ralph Waldo Emerson and Charles Darwin to Jane Addams and Eugene Debs. The result is a grand portrait of an age that will appeal to anyone with even a modest interest in the history of philosophy and ideas. --John Miller --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I recommend the book to readers interested in history as well as in history of ideas.
The Metaphysical Club is well written and Menand integrates a remarkably broad swath of knowledge about 19th century America into his book.
For that the reader will need to turn to texts, and the book encourages him or her to do just that.
This is a fascinating and frustrating book. It is rich in biographical and historical detail concerning Holmes, James, Pierce, and Dewey, and it has extended digressions on several... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Sam Adams
This book is a powerful description of events and thinkers of the late 19th century. It discusses Oliver Wendell Holmes, William James, Charles Pierce, and John Dewey and their... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jeremy Tarbush
A terribly boring book. No story-telling worth noting, just the facts. I'm sure academics loved it but I found it tedious to read. Draw me into the story and I will loyally follow. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Mr. Swifty
the metaphysical club is a 5-star perfect work of non-fiction. menand is a perfect author. my favorite books are biographies of ideas or inventions, specifically as opposed to... Read morePublished 3 months ago by jeanette
This was an interesting book partly for its content and partly for a look into the fascinating mind of these American Victorians. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Paul Cassel
We are using the book in our class and have not ready it all. However, it is well written and I would recommend it to be purchased along with others of this type.Published 7 months ago by Benito Vizcaino
I could not put the book down once I started to read it. It's is a Jim Collins moment on "getting the right people on the bus" so to speak. Read morePublished 7 months ago by mark guay
The Metaphysical Club functioned for me in two ways. First, by illustrating the conflicts surrounding certain ideas at their advent, elucidated the vital value differences that... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Jesse Bryant