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George Herbert Mead (1863–1931) was one of the classical philosophical pragmatists, along with Charles Sanders Peirce, William James, and John Dewey. Mead’s work has been influential in social psychology, sociology, and social philosophy and is critical for a naturalistic understanding of mind.

Mead did graduate work with Josiah Royce at Harvard, studied briefly with Wilhelm Wundt at Leipzig, and did further work at Berlin. Afterward, he joined John Dewey as a professor at the University of Michigan. When Dewey left for the University of Chicago, he arranged for Mead to go with him, helping create a strong “Chicago school” there. In Chicago, Mead was actively involved with Jane Addams’s Hull House and other social reform efforts.

Mind and Nature

Mead’s central project was to get past the conventional ...

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