During this concise, readable synthesis of Mead's paintings within the social sciences, the breadth, scope and persisted relevance of his pragmatic philosophy is emphasized. Baldwin supplies an outline of the parts of Mead's theoretical process, the philosophical foundations of his unified conception and the functions of his paintings in lots of diversified components of social inquiry.
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Extra resources for George Herbert Mead: A Unifying Theory for Sociology
Practically, of course, the novel is constantly happening and the recognition of this gets its expression in more general terms in the concept of emergence. Emergence involves a reorganization, but the reorganization brings in something that was not there before [Mead, 1934: 198]. Mead gave the example of the emergence of water, which has qualities that cannot be predicted from the qualities of the elements that constitute it. “Water is a combination of hydrogen and oxygen, but water was not there before in the separate elements” (Mead, 1934: 198).
This determining relationship is bilateral. The environment determines the organism as fully as the organism determines the environment” (Mead, 1938: 412). “Since the organism and environment determine each other and are mutually dependent for their existence, it follows that the life-process, to be adequately understood, must be considered in terms of their interrelations” (Mead, 1934: 130). From early in his career, Mead was interested in using biological theories—especially concerning evolution and animal behavior—to understand the life process.
Second, his work contains 36 Mead’s Methods 37 numerous examples of the methods he used for synthesizing material from various levels—on biology, psychology, micro and macro societal phenomena, and broader ecological issues. It is these methods that can help us assemble Mead’s diverse ideas in the same manner that he did, thereby producing a unified theory that should resemble his own. Naturally, our reconstruction11 will be incomplete because we cannot include those thoughts that Mead did not commit to writing or that were not in lectures for which we have reliable student notes.