Study Guide

The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America - Part 2, Chapter 6 Brazil, Section 4 Summary & Analysis

Louis Menand
This Study Guide consists of approximately 79 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Metaphysical Club.
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Part 2, Chapter 6 Brazil, Section 4 Summary

William James' view was very similar to Darwinism and he spent most of his adult life attacking those people he felt misunderstood Darwin. James never considered himself a follower of Darwin's theory of natural selection and evolutionism. Where James differed was the fact that he did not take Darwin's theory as the absolute truth. It was a foundation just like evolution, but it was not authoritative.

James believed society and science were independent of one another. He did not think of Agassiz as a true scientist, because Agassiz used his own beliefs as the starting point for research instead of an objective hypothesis. However, he did acknowledge that science was an activity that was created by the "tastes, values and hope" of the scientist. The difference was that true scientists did not try to find only the...

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