For the last couple of weeks I have been rereading Louis Menand’s The Metaphysical Club, a work of intellectual biography that treats Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., William James, and Charles Sanders Pierce, within their social and intellectual context. It’s a wonderful book that holds up well to a second reading and this time I have been reading primary texts by Holmes, James and Pierce along with the relevant chapters in Menand. If each of us gravitate toward a philosophy congenial to our personality, as James might suggest, then pragmatism is my philosophical home. I’ve long been interested in, even obsessed by, the relationship of words to things and the ways in which human beings make meanings, and while I have read a fair amount of the rationalist modern philosophy descending from Descartes, I have found it dry and mostly unsuited to my purposes )though when reading historical accounts of, say, Spinoza’s life and travails, I can sympathize with the degree of intellectual passion); Holmes and James, on the other hand, with their pluralism and emphasis on experience, actually reflect the way I think. Or the way I experience myself thinking.