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This Hegel Club was in many ways a continuation of the St.
Louis Hegelian Society from the late 1850s and 1860s, as Harris, Howison, Davidson, and their Hegelian students had moved east.
The Metaphysical Club was an informal discussion group of scholarly friends, close from their associations with Harvard University, that started in 1871 and continued until spring 1879.
This Club had two primary phases, distinguished from each other by the most active participants and the topics pursued.
They were also acquainted with James Stephen's , which also pragmatically declared that people believe because they must act.
At the time of the Metaphysical Club, Green and Holmes were primarily concerned with special problems in determining criminal states of mind and general problems of defining the nature of law in a culturally evolutionary way.
Activities of the "Pragmatist" Metaphysical Club were recorded only by Peirce, William James, and William's brother Henry James, who all describe intense and productive debates on many philosophical problems.
Both Peirce and James recalled that the name of the club was the "Metaphysical" Club.
John Green and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., who were also advocating pragmatic views of human conduct and law.Chauncey Wright and Charles Sanders Peirce shared the same scientific interests and outlook, having adopted a positivistic and evolutionary stance, and their common love for philosophical discussion sparked the club's beginnings. John Green was glad to be included, as was Peirce's good friend William James who had also gone down the road towards empiricism and evolutionism.William James brought along his best friend, the lawyer Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., who like Green was mounting a resistance to the legal formalism dominating that era.This Club met for four years until mid-1875, when their diverse career demands, extended travels to Europe, and early deaths began to disperse them.The heart of the club was the close bonds between five very unusual thinkers on the American intellectual scene.
The "idealist" second phase of the Metaphysical Club was organized and led by idealists who showed no interest in pragmatism: Thomas Davidson (independent scholar), George Holmes Howison (professor of philosophy at nearby Massachusetts Institute of Technology), and James Elliot Cabot (Harvard graduate and Emerson scholar). Although Peirce had departed in April 1875 for a year in Europe, and Wright died in September 1875, most of the original members from the first phase were available for a renewed second phase.