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    The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America (Paperback) By (author) Louis Menand

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    DescriptionA riveting, original book about the creation of the modern American mind. The Metaphysical Club was an informal group that met in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1872, to talk about ideas. Its members included Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., founder of modern jurisprudence; 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 one thing we know that came out of it was an idea - an idea about ideas. This book is the story of that idea. Holmes, James, and Peirce all believed that ideas are not things "out there" waiting to be discovered but are tools people invent - like knives and forks and microchips - to make their way in the world. They thought that ideas are produced not by individuals, but by groups of individuals - that ideas are social. They do not develop according to some inner logic of their own but are entirely dependent - like germs - on their human carriers and environment. And they thought that the survival of any idea depends not on its immutability but on its adaptability. 'The Metaphysical Club' is written in the spirit of this idea about ideas. It is not a history of philosophy but an absorbing narrative about personalities and social history, a story about America. It begins with the American Civil War and ends with World War I. This is a book about the evolution of the American mind during the crucial period that formed the world we now inhabit.

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  • Full bibliographic data for The Metaphysical Club

    The Metaphysical Club
    A Story of Ideas in America
    Authors and contributors
    By (author) Louis Menand
    Physical properties
    Format: Paperback
    Number of pages: 560
    Width: 124 mm
    Height: 196 mm
    Thickness: 34 mm
    Weight: 381 g
    ISBN 13: 9780007126903
    ISBN 10: 0007126905

    BIC E4L: PHI
    BIC geographical qualifier V2: 1KBB
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    Nielsen BookScan Product Class 3: T8.6
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    BIC subject category V2: JFCX
    LC subject heading: ,
    BIC subject category V2: HPC
    Ingram Theme: CHRN/20CNTY
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    DC21: 191
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    Ingram Subject Code: HS
    BIC subject category V2: HPJ
    Warengruppen-Systematik des deutschen Buchhandels: 25200
    Libri: I-HS
    DC22: 973.9
    BIC subject category V2: 1KBB
    BISAC V2.8: PHI020000, HIS036060
    Thema V1.0: QDTJ, QDH, JBCC9
    Thema geographical qualifier V1.0: 1KBB
    Illustrations note
    With index
    HarperCollins Publishers
    Imprint name
    Publication date
    01 February 2010
    Publication City/Country
    Author Information
    Louis Menand is a professor of English at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, a staff writer at The New Yorker, and has been a contributing editor of The New York Review of Books since 1994.
    Review quote
    'Zestfully good, urbane and original, "The Metaphysical Club" enlivens virtually everything it touches, and on its frequent diversions it touches many things: natural selection and racism; probability distributions and disputed wills; the Dartmouth case and academic freedom. Anybody interested in modern America will find rewards aplenty.' Economist 'Brilliant...Menand brings rare common sense and graceful, witty prose to his richly nuanced reading of American intellectual history - a story that takes in (to name only a few of the other players) Emerson, Hegel, Kant, the second Great Awakening, probability theory, the nebular hypothesis, the Pullman strike, academic freedom and the ever-present issue of race.' New York Review of Books 'A hugely ambitious, unmistakably brilliant intellectual history, nothing less than an explanation of the social historical, economic and spiritual forces that caused American thinking to change radically...A landmark work of scholarship and a popular history of profound sweeping change of enormous worth.' New York Times