G.H.Mead's 'Mind Self & Society' Places the Person Center Stage Essay

G.H.Mead's 'Mind Self & Society' Places the Person Center Stage Essay

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As a Psychologist it may be expected that Mead’s conception of mind would place the person centre stage, however his interpretation of Behaviourist theory allows for the actions, and certainly the physiology of the individual to become a matter of external interpretation. Mead speaks of Qualia and experience (Mead, 1967: 5) in a way that seemingly looks purely at individual phenomenology. However whilst Mead initially seems to explore what the individual is directly acquainted with in the mental faculties the reasons may be wrapped up in a somewhat more objectively universalised study (Mead, 1969: 65) i.e. through behaviour. A single definitive answer to this question may initially seem to be difficult to defend as the question lends its self to a variety of interpretations. A further complication to this debate may come about as a result of the fact that “Mind, Self and Society” was produced posthumously. This work, as an assimilation of his students lecture notes, was assembled based on the ideas he conveyed during his lifetime. In order to achieve true accuracy and depth in our understanding it is important to cross reference this book with other works by Mead.

In many ways it may be argued that both Mead and Wundt saw individual psychology as a flawed system of discourse and as such a social psychology should be pursued (Joas, 1980: 95). Mead was not arguing that there isn’t individual psychology; he simply argued that there are individual minds taking part in social interactions as “no self is complete in itself apart from the community” (Miller, 1975: 69). In effect Mead’s whole concept of an individual is contingent upon the community. Whilst this may be contested it may appear that Mead simply ignores the individual ph...


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...lf & Society from the Standpoint of a Social Behaviourist, London, University of Chicago Press.

Mead, G.H. (1969) ed Strauss, A. On Social Psychology Selected Papers. Third Edition. London, University of Chicago Press.

Mead, G.H. (1972) ed Morris, C.W, The philosophy of the Act, London, University of Chicago Press.

Mead, G.H. (1981) ed Reck, A.J. Selected Writings George Herbert Mead. London, University of Chicago Press.

Miller, D.L. (1975) Josiah Royce and George H. Mead on the Nature of the Self, Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society, 11, (2) pp. 67-89, http://www.jstor.org/stable/40319730. Accessed 24/11/2011.

Pinchin, C, (1990) Issues in Philosophy, Hampshire, Macmillan Education LTD. Pp 97-99.

Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy (2008) George Herbert Mead [Online] http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/mead/#IMe. [Accessed 24/11/2011]

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