George Herbert Mead

George Herbert Mead (mēd), 1863–1931, American philosopher and psychologist, b. South Hadley, Mass., grad. Oberlin, 1883, and Harvard, 1888, and studied in Leipzig and Berlin. He taught at the Univ. of Chicago from 1894 until his death. The work of John Dewey and of Mead may be regarded as complementary. Mead, studying the development of the mind and the self, regarded mind as the natural emergent from the interaction of the human organism and its social environment. Within this biosocial structure the gap between impulse and reason is bridged by the use of language. Mastering language, humans set up assumptions as to their roles in life, and self and consciousness-of-self emerge, giving intelligence a historical development that is both natural and moral. Mead called his position social behaviorism, using conduct—both social and biological—as an approach to all experience. Mead's work, collected posthumously, includes The Philosophy of the Present (1932), Mind, Self, and Society (1934), and The Philosophy of the Act (1938).

See P. Pfuetze, The Social Self (1954, repr. 1973 under the title Self, Society, Existence); see W. R. Corti, ed., The Philosophy of George Herbert Mead (1977); D. L. Miller, George Herbert Mead: Self, Language, and the World (1980).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

The Philosophy of the Act
George Herbert Mead; Charles W. Morris; John M. Brewster; Albert M. Dunham; David L. Miller.
University of Chicago Press, 1938
The Philosophy of the Present
George Herbert Mead; Arthur E. Murphy.
Open Court, 1932
Classical American Philosophy: Essential Readings and Interpretive Essays
John J. Stuhr.
Oxford University Press, 1987
Librarian’s tip: "George Herbert Mead" begins on p. 419
Signifying Acts: Structure and Meaning in Everyday Life
R. S. Perinbanayagam.
Southern Illinois University Press, 1985
Librarian’s tip: Includes discussion of George Herbert Mead in multiple chapters
The Concordance of George Herbert Mead's "Social Self" and John R. Commons's 'Will."(The Social Psychological Underpinnings of Commons's Institutional Economics, Part 2)
Albert, Alexa; Ramstad, Yngve.
Journal of Economic Issues, Vol. 32, No. 1, March 1998
Pragmatism: From Progressivism to Postmodernism
Robert Hollinger; David Depew.
Praeger, 1995
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "Community without Fusion: Dewey, Mead, Tufts"
The Chicago Pragmatists and American Progressivism
Andrew Feffer.
Cornell University Press, 1993
Librarian’s tip: "George Herbert Mead" begins on p. 40
Men and Movements in American Philosophy
Arthur E. Murphy.
Prentice Hall, 1952
Librarian’s tip: "Social Behaviorism: George Herbert Mead" begins on p. 262
Leaving the Cave: Evolutionary Naturalism in Social-Scientific Thought
Pat Duffy Hutcheon.
Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1996
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Fifteen "The Process of Cultural Evolution: George Herbert Mead"
Four Sociological Traditions
Randall Collins.
Oxford University Press, 1994 (Revised edition)
Librarian’s tip: "George Herbert Mead's Sociology of Thinking" begins on p. 256
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