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Philosophy Research Archives

Volume 3, 1977

William O’Meara
Pages 739-770

The Social Nature of Self, Action and Morality in the Philosophy of George Herbert Mead

Part 1 of the paper considers Mead's concept of the self as a social process which is essentially cognitive, necessarily related to the community of all rational beings and potentially free. Part 2 considers how rationality and freedom are so rooted in the evolutionary, social act that pragmatic intelligence and creativity are the evolutionary process become self-conscious. Part 3 considers morality as a social act which is both cognitive and creative. Mead's evaluation of Kant's ethics is judged insufficient; hence Mead's concept of the self cannot serve as the basis for a necessary transition from factual to value judgments. Distinctions made by Sellars, Castañeda and Baier are used.