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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.
The breadth, depth, critical analysis covering history, sociology, ideology is unparalled. For an English professor do this is beyond words. Read morePublished 2 months ago by pep
I loved this book but kept falling asleep while reading. Maybe I needed to reread passages in the light of day instead of the middle of the night. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Roberta S. Bloom
I enjoyed learning how this period of philosophy developed especially the influences of its key figures. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Paul in Denver
It's hard to break down why this book works so well. I started it already knowing a fair amount of US political history, but nothing much on the intellectual side, in spite of... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Jeffrey W. Skinner
This is a very wonderful book, extremely rich intellectually, historically, and emotionally. The copy I received from Amazon as a gift for my boyfriend turned out to be missing... Read morePublished 6 months ago by splacknuck