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lectures 9-12

Course Code
Dan Silver

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Lecture 9
1.George Herbert Mead
2.The Act
oHis education and teaching was around philosophy and psychology
oHis biggest contribution was social psychology, next to the point of socio and psych
oAttempt to understand our inner world gets created through interaction of other ppl
oBehaviourism- to study people's behaviour means we have to see the actions of ppl
All we can ever know are the external movements of other pp and how they
relate to people on the outside
oMead denies behaviourist perspective, but he agrees that we have to observe
something in the world for it to exist
oIf the mind is real, it has to be observable, must be able to see and observe the mind,
must be out there
oInstead of looking for the mind inside of ppl's head, look for their actions and deeds so
in order to observe the world
oUnpack the idea of an act
The behaviourist version of an act is a reaction to a stimulus, thirsty= drink
Mead wants to bring together the stimulus and response : aspects of action
Impulse: feeling of some need to do something about the stimulation, feel
thirsty- see water, impulse to drink
Thirst comes from both the environment and the body
Environment stimulates the thirst in you
They intertwine, organism and environment
Seeing glass of water, do you drink it? Select everything from
environment, look what is in the environment to what is relevant to your desire
Humans have richer ability to perceive what is relevant to their
Look out to see what is relevant to your impulse
Not just look at glass of clear liquid and drink, humans can
manipulate objects, experiment with them before you drink it
Experimenting, bringing past into future and how you anticipate
similar events
Activities extended out in past and future
Action that satisfies the original impulse
Humans have perceived, manipulated
By having all these qualities, humans have been able to survive
oAlways a dynamic relationship btw the situations you're in and you're always altering
your situations back and forth
oMost of our actions are directly with other people/organisms
oSituation you're impacting is the reactions of other people
To make gestures (humans and animals)
Movements of the first organism that acts the stimuli to the social
responses of the second organism

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Dogs- act of each dog becomes the stimulus to the other dog to change
of attitude
Any kind of bodily movement, function isn't to do anything to natural
environment but to get other organisms to change their own behaviours
Communicative significance
Conversation of gestures
We're not just making bodily movement but we're actually holding a
conversation of movements
This can go on without fighting, communicating intentions of what
they're going to do, it's observable in gestures
Significant gestures/symbols
Response that it brings out from other organism, is the same meaning
for everyone involved, ability to consciously anticipate to the symbols and
gestures that you make
People could hear, see and anticipate signals
You don't have the same relationship to the others with a facial
expression unless you can hear
oWhat is the significance of these human capabilities?
Allows everyone to adjust to one another in a much more complex and refined
The human mind gives us the ability to think
Thinking- internalized, implicit conversation with himself by means
of symbols
The same as talking to other people
The ability to have a mind is the ability to talk to yourself
When you say thing and do things, you're good at anticipating what
other people are going to respond
Take those ppl away, talk to self, stop talking but still internalize it
Historically, reading in head is new, always read out loud
Mind is an action with the world, talking to world when they're not
How you develop self consciousness
To have a self is to act in a certain relationship with others
Observe how other people react to you
Self conscious jerk (sees the reactions of ppl to what you're doing)
and unconscious jerk (doesn't know he makes ppl mad)
The only way to get a sense of self is by observing how people react to
you like a mirror
What is it about me that creates that response from others? Only way
to do that is to have a prior social ability
Self is actually a product of interaction with the world
Only have self by getting out of ourself
Most strongest self are the ones that are most sensitive to where
people are coming from?
4.Child development
oWhat is the genesis through a child of having a self and mind?
oChild is one thing at one time, one he is at one moment doesn't determine what he is
at another

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o3 stages to organize child's self
Play stage- ability to play, ways of they play have distinctive qualities,
taking on one single role without having complex rules
They get outside of selves, see expectations that they start to adopt
Game stage
Playing a game, there's a complex network of roles the child has to
take in any roles, baseball- play second base, have to understand what first
base and third base does, have to understand all the roles while playing ONE
Takes disorganized child material and organize to definite
expectations that all make reference to one another that makes them see
through multiple lens of others
Ability to understand generalized other
Ability to adopt the attitude towards yourself, of the entire
community to how they would respond to your actions
What would the whole team say if you miss practice- wider reference
point of your actions
How so many people would respond, think in most logical way
Higher level thinking capacities, break out of game stage and to wider
social circles
5.I and me
oMore complex count of self, btw self in social and creative self to respond
oMe self: part of you that is object of others, object not subject
Yourself as object of others, how people see you, the way you see you
through the eyes of others
What one does, what you're supposed to do, appropriate way to act etc
Conformist only has a me self, what others expect of them
How social control is exercised into us
oI self: creative aspect of self
Don't know in advance what your reactions will be in situations
This part is spontaneous
Action of the I cannot be told in advanced
Important because
Creative- great people have more I, innovator
Self realization- when we creatively respond to something, we could actually
do something, realize in action, get definite character in personality
Social evolution- more evolved society moves from me self to I self involved
More room for others to develop and express their own I
6.Science and morality
oWeber: science can't tell how to live
oDurkheim: science can tell you what the purpose and meaning in life
oMead: science starts off to realize what our goal is, most effective way but in the
process of pursuing goals in scientific way, we force ourselves to redefine our goals which
changes our actions
oIn pursuing our goals using science, science forces us to redefine our goals
oTeleology vs mechanism
Traditional, moral picture of the world (teleology, tele- greek for purpose)
Humans should guide their behaviours to the purpose and goals in life are
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