History and Social Progress

European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy 8 (2) (2016)
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Abstract

Although not known as a philosopher of history, George Herbert Mead wrote and taught seriously about the nature of the past and about historical investigation throughout his career. The paper identifies the major documentary sources and interpretive literature with which to reconstruct Mead’s radically social and dynamic conceptualization of history and extends beyond the existing literature to develop striking implications of Mead’s approach in response to possible criticisms and challenges. By connecting Mead’s writings on history with his broader social theory of action, democracy, and consciousness, the paper shows how Mead provides a novel grounding of our understandings of history in ongoing social processes and suggests that better historical knowledge may be related to participatory, inclusive social practices. As a result, historians have a responsibility to social reconstruction and society’s self-reflection, in Mead’s view. Because of the novel ways in which Mead’s approach explores the relationship between history and social progress he warrants renewed attention and scrutiny from researchers and theorists of history.

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References found in this work

Mead's Interpretation of Relativity Theory.Jake E. Stone - 2013 - Journal of Speculative Philosophy 27 (2):153-171.
Natural rights and the theory of the political institution.George H. Mead - 1915 - Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods 12 (6):141-155.
The Argument for Realism.Donald C. Williams - 1934 - The Monist 44 (2):186-209.
Present standpoints and past history.Arthur O. Lovejoy - 1939 - Journal of Philosophy 36 (18):477-489.

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