GeorgeHerbertMead's early lectures at the University of Chicago are more important to understanding the genesis of his views in social psychology than some commentators, such as Hans Joas, have emphasized. Mead's lecture series "The Evolution of the Psychical Element," preserved through the notes of student H. HeathBawden, demonstrate his devotion to Hegelianism as a method of thinking and how this influenced his non-reductionistic approach to functional psychology. In addition, Mead's breadth (...) of historical knowledge as well as his commitments in the natural and social sciences are on display here, culminating in the Darwinian observation that human animals only achieve the degree of control they have over their environment by the achievement of social organization. (shrink)
GeorgeHerbertMead's lectures at the University of Chicago are more important to understanding Mead's views on social psychology than some commentators, such as Hans Joas, have emphasized. Mead's 1898-99 lecture series, preserved through the notes of his student H. HeathBawden, demonstrate his devotion to Hegelianism as a method of thinking and how this influenced his non-reductive approach to functionalist psychology. In addition, Mead's breadth of historical knowledge and his commitments in (...) the natural and social sciences are on display here, culminating in the Darwinian observation that human animals only achieve the degree of control they have over their environment by the achievement of social organization. (shrink)
In this essay, I reconstruct H. Richard Niebuhr's interpretation of GeorgeHerbertMead's account of the social constitution of the self. Specifically, I correct Niebuhr's interpretation, because it mischaracterizes Mead's understanding of social constitution as more dialogical than ecological. I also argue that Niebuhr's interpretation needs completing because it fails to engage one of Mead's more significant notions, the I/me distinction within the self. By reconstructing Niebuhr's account of faith and responsibility as theologically self-constitutive through (...)Mead's I/me distinction, I demonstrate Niebuhr's deep yet unacknowledged agreement with Mead: the self is constituted by its participation in multiple communities, but responds to them creatively by enduring the moral perplexity of competing communal claims. I conclude by initiating a constructive account of conscience that follows from this agreement. Conscience is more ecological than dialogical because it regards our creative participation in multiple ecologies of social roles oriented by patterns of responsive relations. (shrink)
This article focuses on GeorgeHerbertMead's life and his philosophy of the act. Mead divides the act into four stages: impulse, perception, manipulation, and consummation. The impulse sets the organism in motion, whereas consummation marks the satisfaction of the desire that initiated the act. Hence, consummation brings the act to a close. This should not be taken as a linear chain of responses to neatly self-contained problematic situations. Organisms often multitask, and problematic situations are typically (...) nested, as when an animal in its search for food is being attacked by a predator. (shrink)
A threat to humanity portending the end of our species lurks in the cold recesses of space. Our only hope is an eleven-year-old boy. Celebrating the long-awaited release of the movie adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s novel about highly trained child geniuses fighting a race of invading aliens, this collection of original essays probes key philosophical questions raised in the narrative, including the ethics of child soldiers, politics on the internet, and the morality of war and genocide. Original essays dissect (...) the diverse philosophical questions raised in Card’s best-selling sci-fi classic, winner of the Nebula and Hugo Awards and which has been translated in 29 languages Publication coincides with planned release of major motion picture adaptation of _Ender’s Game_ starring Asa Butterfield and Harrison Ford Treats a wealth of core contemporary issues in morality and ethics, including child soldiers, the best kind of education and the use and misuse of global communications for political purposes A stand-out addition to the Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture series. (shrink)
George H. Mead and Alfred Schutz proposed foundations for an interpretative sociology from opposite standpoints. Mead accepted the objective meaning structure a priori. His problem became therefore the explanation of the individuality and creativity of human actors in his social behavioristic approach. In contrast, Schutz started from the subjective consciousness of an isolated actor as a result of a phenomenological reduction. He was concerned with the problem of explaining the possibility of this isolated actor’s perceiving other actors (...) in their existence, their concreteness, and the motives for their behavior. I treat these two approaches and their associated problems as equally relevant. My evaluation is based on their success in solving their specific problems. The aim is to decide which of the two approaches provides the more adequate foundation for an interpretative sociology. (shrink)
This book brings together some of the finest recent critical and expository work on Mead, written by American and European thinkers from diverse traditions. For English-speaking audiences it provides an introduction to recent European work on Mead. The essays reveal the richness of Mead’s thought, and will stimulate those who have thought about him from very specific vantage points to consider him in new ways.
GeorgeHerbertMead (1863-1931), American philosopher and social theorist, is often classed with William James, Charles Sanders Peirce, and John Dewey as one of the most significant figures in classical American pragmatism. Dewey referred to Mead as “a seminal mind of the very first order” (Dewey, 1932, xl). Yet by the middle of the twentieth-century, Mead's prestige was greatest outside of professional philosophical circles. He is considered by many to be the father of the school (...) of Symbolic Interactionism in sociology and social psychology, although he did not use this nomenclature. Perhaps Mead's principal influence in philosophical circles occurred as a result of his friendship with John Dewey. There is little question that Mead and Dewey had an enduring influence on each other, with Mead contributing an original theory of the development of the self through communication. This theory has in recent years played a central role in the work of Jürgen Habermas. While Mead is best known for his work on the nature of the self and intersubjectivity, he also developed a theory of action, and a metaphysics that emphasizes emergence and temporality, in which the past and future are viewed through the lens of the present. Although the extent of Mead's reach is considerable, he never published a monograph. His most famous work, Mind, Self, and Society from the Standpoint of a Social Behaviorist, was published after his death and is a compilation of student notes and selections from unpublished manuscripts. (shrink)
GeorgeHerbertMead was a dedicated progressive and internationalist who strove to realize his political convictions through participation in numerous civic organizations in Chicago. These convictions informed and were informed by his approach to philosophy. This article addresses the bonds between Mead's philosophy, social psychology, and his support of women's rights through an analysis of a letter he wrote to his daughter-in-law regarding her plans for a career.
Focusing on Mind, Self and Society, I contend that GeorgeHerbertMead's theory is incapable of explaining the interactions in a song by Oscar Brown Jr., "The Snake," and that a satisfactory explanation of these actions, which illuminate everyday conduct familiar to us all, requires the conceptualization of personality systems grounded in affect and cultural systems understood as symbolic logics that make intelligible certain activities. My argument is important not primarily as a critique of Mead, but (...) of rational-choice and other cognitive theories that reduce emotions to cognitions, and of the currently dominant sociological and anthropological conceptualizations that reduce culture to forms of social practice. (shrink)
Although a number of commentators have remarked upon the simi larities between aspects of GeorgeHerbertMead's social psychology and Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments, there has been no sys tematic attempt to document the connection. This article attempts to do precisely that. First, the legitimacy of the connection is established by showing the likelihood that Mead knew this particular work by Smith, and by bringing together the various treatments of the matter made by commentators. (...) Since Mead himself does not reference Smith's theory, however, the continuity can be demonstrated only on the level of ideas. Second, then, the movement of Mead's thought is recon structed through the terms 'individual' and 'social epistemology'. An account based upon the former posits self-consciousness as the pre condition for knowledge about others, while the latter makes the development of self dependent on a concept of community. Mead's div ision of the self into the 'I' and the 'me' is central in forcing the shift from the one to the other. Smith's account of moral action, it is then argued, rests upon the same logic. His ideas of 'changing roles in the fancy', the 'impartial spectator', and division of the self, parallel Mead's 'taking the role of the other' and discussion of the self. The 'ideal' spec tator corresponds to Mead's 'generalized other'. The article concludes by drawing a parallel between Mead and Smith on the universal facts of human nature and the moral community. (shrink)
GeorgeHerbertMead was born at the height of America's bloody Civil War in 1863, the year of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and the Gettysburg Address. He was born in New England, in the small town of South Hadley, Massachusetts; but when he was seven years old his family moved to Oberlin, Ohio, so that his father, Hiram Mead, a Protestant minister, could assume a chair in homiletics at the Oberlin Theological Seminary. After his father's death in (...) 1881, Mead's mother, Elizabeth Storrs Billings Mead, briefly taught at Oberlin College. Mead grew to self-consciousness in this educational atmosphere, amidst the conflict between science and religion over the primacy of efficient or final explanations; and he offers us, in some autobiographical comments, a sense of the difficulties felt by one who saw values on either side: We wished to be free to follow our individual thinking and feeling into an intelligent and sympathetic world without having to bow before incomprehensible dogma or to anticipate the shipwreck of our individual ends and values. We wanted full intellectual freedom and yet the conservation of the values for which had stood Church, State, Science, and Art. (shrink)
The Foundations of Pragmatism in American Thought Series offers two sets of volumes containing the most significant defenses and critiques of pragmatism written before World War I: the Early Defenders of Pragmatism and Early Critics of Pragmatism . This, the first collection, Early Defenders , provides key texts for understanding the context of pragmatism’s years of greatest vitality. The early defenders were products of pragmatism’s three cradles. H. HeathBawden was a graduate of the Chicago philosophy department, having (...) studied with John Dewey and GeorgeMead. John E. Boodin and Horace M. Kallen earned their Ph.Ds with William James and Josiah Royce at Harvard. D. L. Murray and Howard V. Knox were independent scholars and writers inspired by F. C. S. Schiller’s humanistic pragmatism at Oxford. This collection brings together the central texts of the movement along with a representative selection of the secondary texts, reviews and responses, they elicited. Each volume features a newly-commissioned introduction by a leading scholar of American pragmatism. --five central texts reproduced in facsimile, accompanied by the main responses and replies, reset in new typography --scattered and scarce works available together for the first time --new introductions to each volume by leading scholars of American pragmatism. (shrink)
While rooted in careful study of Mead’s original writings and transcribed lectures and the historical context in which that work was carried out, the papers in this volume have brought Mead’s work to bear on contemporary issues in metaphysics, epistemology, cognitive science, and social and political philosophy.