The Metaphysical Club

A Story of Ideas in America

Recommended by Franklin Foer, and 1 others. See all reviews

Ranked #23 in Utilitarianism, Ranked #67 in Philosophersee more rankings.

Winner of the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for History

A riveting, original book about the creation of modern American thought.

The Metaphysical Club was an informal group that met in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1872, to talk about ideas. Its members included Oliver Well Holmes, Jr., future associate justice of the United States Supreme Court; William James, the father of modern American psychology; and Charles Sanders Peirce, logician, scientist, and the founder of semiotics. The Club was probably in existence for about nine months. No records were kept. The...

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Franklin Foer It’s a beautifully crafted group biography about the birth of the first American school of philosophy – pragmatism. Pragmatism is an idea about ideas. The gist is to assess theories based on their efficacy. Menand describes ideas as being like microchips or screwdrivers, tools that help us achieve results. That concept sprung from this generation. So, the four figures it tells this birth story through are Oliver Wendell Holmes, who became the legal embodiment of pragmatism, William James, who is the philosopher of pragmatism, Charles Pierce, who was James’s mentor, and John Dewey, who made... (Source)

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