Since I am getting into anniversaries of pragmatists from the 1st and 2nd generations, today is the 149th birthday of George Herbert Mead (1863 – 1931). Being one of the prominent scholars of Dewey’s “Chicago School,”  he was regarded in his lifetime on a par with Harvard professor William James (see post on James’s 170th anniversary). He is considered (co-)founder of social psychology and sociology.

The ecosonic aspect of Mead’s philosophy is that he saw everything socially, e.g. even theorizing the sociality of electrons (!!!). [Not unlike Peirce’s seeing regularities in nature (a.k.a., physical laws) as “habits,” such as a stream wearing a riverbed.] At a time of vigorous social (not so much “reform” as literal) invention, which is what post-Civil War America was, he envisioned a society of (oversimplifying) everyone accommodating everyone else.

Quoting from George Cronk’s article in the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “[d]uring his more-than-40-year career, Mead thought deeply, wrote almost constantly, and published numerous articles and book reviews in philosophy and psychology. However, he never published a book. After his death, several of his students edited four volumes from stenographic records of his social psychology course at the University of Chicago, from Mead’s lecture notes, and from Mead’s numerous unpublished papers. The four books are The Philosophy of the Present (1932), edited by Arthur E. Murphy; Mind, Self, and Society (1934), edited by Charles W. Morris; Movements of Thought in the Nineteenth Century (1936), edited by Merritt H. Moore; and The Philosophy of the Act (1938), Mead’s Carus Lectures of 1930, edited by Charles W. Morris.” More…

A curious bibliographic fact I came up with today:
A search on yielded a book of his, George Herbert Mead: Critical Assessments (ed. Peter Hamilton, Routledge 1993), @ 1,600 pages, which costs between just under $1,000 and over $2, 000 CAD, for used or new copies.


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