The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America

The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America

Louis Menand


The Metaphysical membership is the winner of the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for History.

A riveting, unique booklet concerning the production of contemporary American thought.

The Metaphysical membership was once a casual team that met in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1872, to speak about principles. Its participants incorporated Oliver good Holmes, Jr., destiny affiliate justice of the USA preferrred court docket; William James, the daddy of recent American psychology; and Charles Sanders Peirce, truth seeker, scientist, and the founding father of semiotics. The membership was once most likely in life for roughly 9 months. No files have been saved. the only factor we all know that got here out of it used to be an idea -- an concept approximately rules. This ebook is the tale of that idea.

Holmes, James, and Peirce all believed that principles should not issues "out there" ready to be came across yet are instruments humans invent -- like knives and forks and microchips -- to make their approach on the planet. They suggestion that rules are produced no longer via contributors, yet by means of teams of people -- that rules are social. they don't strengthen in keeping with a few internal common sense in their personal yet are completely depent -- like germs -- on their human providers and atmosphere. and so they notion that the survival of any inspiration deps no longer on its immutability yet on its adaptability.

The Metaphysical Club is written within the spirit of this concept approximately rules. it isn't a heritage of philosophy yet an soaking up narrative approximately personalities and social heritage, a narrative approximately the US. It starts off with the Civil conflict and s in 1919 with Justice Holmes's dissenting opinion in terms of U.S. v. Abrams-the foundation for the constitutional legislations of loose speech. the 1st 4 sections of the e-book specialise in Holmes, James, Peirce, and their highbrow inheritor, John Dewey. The final part discusses the various primary twentieth-century principles they're linked to. this can be a e-book a few frame of mind that modified American life."

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