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The Metaphysical Club
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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bentley | 44128 comments Mod

For those of you who have completed the book and/or who want to discuss aspects of the book which are beyond our weekly assignments in the non spoiler threads, this thread is a spoiler thread where you can discuss those points. We know that some folks like to color outside the lines - so this a place for them.

If you have completed the book and would like to tell us what you thought about this selection, please feel free to discuss your opinions in a respectful way here.

However, please no links to personal reviews because we consider that self promotion. Simply post your thoughts here without the links.

Many folks read ahead of the weekly assignment and that is OK too; however, you must make sure that your posted comments on the other weekly non spoiler threads do not reflect reading ahead of the posted weekly assignment. If you would like to discuss aspects of the book further along, this is a spoiler thread where you can do just that.

We try to move along the discussion slowly on the weekly non spoiler threads but realize that some folks like to move along swiftly. So we have options for both groups of folks.

This is also the thread where you write your review of the book after completing it.

The Metaphysical Club by Louis Menand by Louis Menand Louis Menand

message 2: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Aug 20, 2013 05:24PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bentley | 44128 comments Mod
Folks, if some of you have completed the book and would like to tell us what you thought about the book; you can post your review here - we would very much appreciate it. No links to review elsewhere.

Just let us know how you liked the book or not.

Katy (kathy_h) This book is very well written and intellectually engaging. I have to admit that I had little background in philosophy and had to do some background reading to get up to date on some topics. I am intrigued enough to continue the research. The book gives insight into how American thought in religion, science, and law developed during this time period and why it is relevant today.

Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1217 comments I have an old friend who is a kind of philosophy buff. He really looked forward to reading this book and was profoundly disappointed in what he found. I had to explain to him that this is NOT a philosophy book but a HISTORY book. Menand explained that in the Preface - page xii:

"This book is not a book of philosophical argument though it is a work of historical interpretation."

That's probably one reason I truly enjoyed the book - not only is it a work of "historical interpretation" in terms of the narrative, but also in the structure where he brilliantly used the lives and ideas of the 4 subjects, in addition to the effects the Civil War had on the ideas of the age, as background to present and develop his own ideas. Very effective, imo.

message 5: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Thanks for reading Kathy and Becky.

message 6: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Everyone, Bentley has some personal things he is dealing with, but keep posting your final thoughts for us and he will be back.


message 7: by Virginia (new)

Virginia (va-BBoomer) | 210 comments I enjoyed this book a lot. It was a book of historical interpretation, not pure philosophy, and therefore the narrative was from a different angle than I'm used to. As such, I would like to spend more time on this; how long will the book chapter sections be open and available? I would like more time to review various topics, especially before future books coming up.

Katy (kathy_h) I think the threads stay open indefinitely .

Patricrk patrick | 435 comments I would have liked a comparison with the philosophical schools presented here with the current philosophical thoughts. Enjoyed the historical part but don't have enough philosophical background to know how influential these people were.

FrankH | 76 comments I believe the main appeal of the book is the way Menand deftly interweaves the varied perspectives of the historian, philosopher and biographer into a seamless, compelling narrative -- no easy task. Especially enjoyed, the chapter on the Pierces, probability, and the Law of Errors, as well as 'Chicago'. Along the lines of Patricrk's thought, the author might have done more to expand his idea of where Pragmatism was most vulnerable -- the absence of ideas worth dying for -- by citing more latter-day viewpoints opposed to this philosophy.

Sherry (directorsherry) | 129 comments This was a difficult read for me because of the sheer density of material. However it was also very rewarding. I came away a fan of all the major characters in the book; Oliver Wendell Holmes, jr. , William James, Charles Pierce, Chauncy Wright, and John Dewey. I found a lot of the thoughts of the people before me in my family, specifically my father who was a pragmatist and an agnostic, and my father in Law who was a big fan of Oliver Wendell Holmes, jr. and actually performed a one man show on him. I was embarrassed by the narrow-minded racial thinking of the generations following the civil war. He points out in the epilogue, as he discusses the eclipse of Pragmatism, "Martin Luther King, Jr., was not a pragmatist, a relativist, or a pluralist, and it is a question whether the movement he led could have accomplished what it did if its inspirations had come from Dewey and Holmes rather than Reinhold Niebuhr and Mahatma Gandhi. "

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