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George Mead

George Mead was an American Philosopher who lived from February 27, 1963 until April 26, 1931. He attended Obertin College and Harvard University. He was an instructor at The University of Michigan, teaching philosophy and psycology. Then, he was at the University of Chicago, until his death.

He is best known for his psychological contribution to the idea of the ME and I concept as a way to show how the slef comes into being in humans as a process of social interaction. His idea was that through language, a child can mimic what he sees, hears, and watches his or her parents do or say. As the child grows he or she will learn from other adults and peers, then base his or her sense of self on what he or she feels is the way to behave in society. In short, Mead’s idea was behavioristic in nature.

His contribution to philosophy seemed to be more of an American Pragmatist, or realist, than base his ideas on fanciful ideas with no solid basis for his theories. Most of his work was influenced by the theory of relativity and it seems to mirror the work of Charles Darwin, as evidenced by the systematic way that he viewed the social maturity of children, and Darwin saw the natural selection of animals through the lens of adaptation, so Mede saw the development of children to be based on adaptation as they grew.

He authored and published several papers while he was still alive. After his death, a handful of his students wrote four books, giving Mead full credit for them, from his notes and manuscripts. In addition they used old student notes, recordings of his lectures, and other resources that Mead left for them to find.

Mead’s influence in philosophy and social theory became the foundation for theories used in childhood development that are still taught in the early childhood development courses throughout the university community in North America. His idea is even practiced in many preschools and kindergartens throughout The United States. Part of the theory are focused on how the self is created through social interaction, which creates the self instead of biologically predetermined through DNA. Instead of being born with a specific personality, order of habits, and behaviors, a person behaves in a way that is formed throughout the individual’s lifetime. This would explain why brothers and sisters from the same parents are not identical in personality, as their experiences outside of the home, are all different. Mead may have had a valid theory.

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