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The Metaphysical Club / Louis Menand.

By: Menand, Louis.
Material type: TextTextPublisher: New York : Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2001Edition: 1st ed.Description: xii, 546 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.ISBN: 0374199639 (hardcover : alk. paper); 9780374199630 (hardcover : alk. paper); 9780374528492 (pbk.); 0374528497 (pbk.).Subject(s): United States -- Intellectual life | Metaphysics -- History | National characteristics, American | United States -- Social conditions | Cambridge (Mass.) -- Intellectual life | Intellectuals -- United States -- History | Holmes, Oliver Wendell, 1841-1935 | James, William, 1842-1910 | Peirce, Charles S. (Charles Sanders), 1839-1914 | Dewey, John, 1859-1952DDC classification: 973.9 Other classification: 08.24
Contents:
The politics of slavery -- The abolitionist -- The wilderness and after -- The man of two minds -- Agassiz -- Brazil -- The Peirces -- The law of errors -- The metaphysical club -- Burlington -- Baltimore -- Chicago -- Pragmatisms -- Pluralisms -- Freedoms.
Awards: Pulitzer Prize, History, 2002.Review: "The Civil War made America a modern nation, unleashing forces of industrialism and expansion that had been kept in check for decades by the quarrel over slavery. But the war also discredited the ideas and beliefs of the era that preceded it. The Civil War swept away the slave civilization of the South, but almost the whole intellectual culture of the North went with it. It took nearly half a century for Americans to develop a set of ideas, a way of thinking, that would help them cope with the conditions of modern life. That struggle is the subject of this book." "The story told in The Metaphysical Club runs through the lives of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., a Civil War hero who became the dominant legal thinker of his time; his best friend as a young man, William James, son of an eccentric moral philosopher, brother of a great novelist, and the father of modern psychology in America; and the brilliant and troubled logician, scientist, and founder of semiotics, Charles Sanders Peirce. Together they belonged to an informal discussion group that met in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1872 and called itself the Metaphysical Club. The club was probably in existence for only nine months, and no records were kept. The one thing we know that came out of it was an idea - an idea about ideas, about the role beliefs play in people's lives. This idea informs the writings of these three thinkers, and the work of the fourth figure in the book, John Dewey - student of Peirce, friend and ally of James, admirer of Holmes." "The Metaphysical Club begins with the Civil War and ends in 1919 with the Supreme Court's decision in U.S. v. Abrams, the basis for the modern law of free speech. It tells the story of the creation of ideas and values that changed the way Americans think and the way they live."--BOOK JACKET.
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Item type Current location Call number Status Date due Barcode
Book University of Texas At Tyler
Stacks - 3rd Floor
E169.1 .M546 2001 (Browse shelf) Available 0000001638998

Includes bibliographical references (p. 499-520) and index.

The politics of slavery -- The abolitionist -- The wilderness and after -- The man of two minds -- Agassiz -- Brazil -- The Peirces -- The law of errors -- The metaphysical club -- Burlington -- Baltimore -- Chicago -- Pragmatisms -- Pluralisms -- Freedoms.

"The Civil War made America a modern nation, unleashing forces of industrialism and expansion that had been kept in check for decades by the quarrel over slavery. But the war also discredited the ideas and beliefs of the era that preceded it. The Civil War swept away the slave civilization of the South, but almost the whole intellectual culture of the North went with it. It took nearly half a century for Americans to develop a set of ideas, a way of thinking, that would help them cope with the conditions of modern life. That struggle is the subject of this book." "The story told in The Metaphysical Club runs through the lives of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., a Civil War hero who became the dominant legal thinker of his time; his best friend as a young man, William James, son of an eccentric moral philosopher, brother of a great novelist, and the father of modern psychology in America; and the brilliant and troubled logician, scientist, and founder of semiotics, Charles Sanders Peirce. Together they belonged to an informal discussion group that met in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1872 and called itself the Metaphysical Club. The club was probably in existence for only nine months, and no records were kept. The one thing we know that came out of it was an idea - an idea about ideas, about the role beliefs play in people's lives. This idea informs the writings of these three thinkers, and the work of the fourth figure in the book, John Dewey - student of Peirce, friend and ally of James, admirer of Holmes." "The Metaphysical Club begins with the Civil War and ends in 1919 with the Supreme Court's decision in U.S. v. Abrams, the basis for the modern law of free speech. It tells the story of the creation of ideas and values that changed the way Americans think and the way they live."--BOOK JACKET.

Pulitzer Prize, History, 2002.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

Menand (English, CUNY) acknowledges at the outset the ephemeral nature of the informal discussion group known as "the metaphysical club," stating that it "was probably in existence for only nine months, and no records were kept." Yet he sees in the work of its principals Oliver Wendell Holmes, William James, and Charles Sanders Peirce a momentous change in the conditions of modern life, brought about in large part because of their thought and work. The three men met informally in Cambridge, MA, in 1872, and out of these meetings a new philosophy was born a uniquely American way of looking at the world, known as pragmatism. To tell this fascinating story, Menand produces a seamless narrative line that moves from the Civil War to the Supreme Court case in 1919 that became the basis for the constitutional doctrine of free speech. Along the way, the reader is introduced to myriad pertinent players and events that bring the era and the thinking vividly to life. Highly recommended for academic and public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/01.] Leon H. Brody, U.S. Office of Personnel Mgt. Lib., Washington, DC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

CHOICE Review

The lives of Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Charles Sanders Peirce, William James, and John Dewey are chronicled in this collective portrait by Menand (English, City Univ. of New York, and staff writer at The New Yorker.) Thanks to a front-page review in the New York Times Book Review, this scholarly study is already in its fifth printing. The book is an unlikely best seller--though quite deserving--and Menand writes as a master stylist. The odd title is derived from a casual discussion group that met in 1872. Their meetings lasted less than a year, and no records were kept. Abolitionism and the Civil War play important roles in this study as the author shows how they shaped subsequent ideas of the men, most notably the philosophy of pragmatism. Many other topics are also broached, including social Darwinism and the professionalization of higher education. Although all four men are fully fleshed out, Holmes seems to draw the most attention from the author. The great justice died with two blood-stained uniforms hanging in his closet. In short, a terrific book; highly recommended for all general, undergraduate, and graduate collections. S. G. Weisner Springfield Technical Community College

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Louis Menand is Professor of English at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

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