Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Marx Memorial Library along with # 36 Pragmatism and instrumentalism

So having visited Freud Museum last week decided to make a pilgrimage to Clerkenwell home of the Marx Memorial Library - For your information they're open 1-2 pm for visitors (not groups though). Although links for the building with Karl are unproven his disciple Lenin was there and I got the chance to see the famed Lenin Room which was knocked up to provide some sound insulation from the printing presses before his 1902 visit. The building had been used to print  many left  leaning publications and had housed shops on the ground floor, although it had an impressive façade the building is not deep and curating so many items is not easy as well as being used for research, education and meetings
(Francis) John Hastings 1935 Mural
The building has a fascinating history and strong links with the working class movement in several forms from a school for the Welsh working class in London to its present use as repository of posters books and working class ephemera.  Through the years much has been donated often by those who had little  to spare. The brief tour was brought to life by an animated woman who wore her heart on her sleeve (particularly when talking about Margaret and Dennis Thatcher). The mural by John Hastings later Viscount Hastings showed key figures in the hoped for new dawn (Marx, Lenin and William Morris) as well as war damage.  
No 36 Pragmatism and instrumentalism
As you might expect the schools of thought around Pragmatism and instrumentalism are of American origin and owe more to functionality than a catch all philosophy. First came Pragmatism which was arrived at by CS Pierce   and this was followed by John Dewey's Instrumentalism (by the way he's not the guy who brought us the Dewey Decimal system) . Dewey's Instrumentalism was more concerned with the usefulness of outcomes of theories than their fundamental truths.