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Lecture 16

PPE 3003 Lecture Notes - Lecture 16: George Herbert Mead, Object Relations Theory


Department
Psychology In Personality
Course Code
PPE 3003
Professor
Heesacker Martin
Lecture
16

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Selected Reading 16
42: The Social Self – George Herbert Mead
1. Mead claims that self-consciousness (in the sense of awareness of the self) arises only in
the presence of conflict that causes disintegration of the organization of habit. Does this
imply that, without conflict in social interaction, a person stagnates in his or her existing
state?
Mead’s claim is an implication that without conflict in social interaction, a person remains
stagnant in his or her existing state. After conflict, “a new self arises” – to put it in modern terms,
you must make mistakes in order to learn because, according to Mead, one grows through
“partial disintegration.”
2. To what extent do Mead’s views of “the social self” correspond to the object relations
approach of some neoanalytic theorists? Where are the major differences between these
approaches?
The object relations approach proposes that humans have an innate need to form relationships
with others; Mead’s theory basically implies that humans rely on conflict with others in order to
grow; resolution is reached my harmonizing conflicting interests. Unlike the object relations
approach, Mead’s view emphasizes conflict.
3. Mead’s article appeared in a periodical called The Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and
Scientific Methods. To what extent is it a psychology paper, and in what ways a philosophy
paper?
Mead’s paper discusses the means by which humans, as objects, gain knowledge from
interpersonal conflict; his theory of knowledge and the individual perception as a “social self” in
conjunction with society is philosophical in nature, and psychological in that it analyzes
interpersonal relationships.
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