Mind, Self, and Society The Definitive Edition
by George Herbert Mead, notes by Hans Joas and Daniel R. Huebner, edited by Charles W. Morris
University of Chicago Press, 2015
Paper: 978-0-226-11273-2 | Electronic: 978-0-226-11287-9
DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226112879.001.0001


George Herbert Mead is widely recognized as one of the most brilliantly original American pragmatists. Although he had a profound influence on the development of social philosophy, he published no books in his lifetime. This makes the lectures collected in Mind, Self, and Society all the more remarkable, as they offer a rare synthesis of his ideas.

This collection gets to the heart of Mead’s meditations on social psychology and social philosophy. Its penetrating, conversational tone transports the reader directly into Mead’s classroom as he teases out the genesis of the self and the nature of the mind. The book captures his wry humor and shrewd reasoning, showing a man comfortable quoting Aristotle alongside Alice in Wonderland.

Included in this edition are an insightful foreword from leading Mead scholar Hans Joas, a revealing set of textual notes by Dan Huebner that detail the text’s origins, and a comprehensive bibliography of Mead’s other published writings. While Mead’s lectures inspired hundreds of students, much of his brilliance has been lost to time. This new edition ensures that Mead’s ideas will carry on, inspiring a new generation of thinkers.


George Herbert Mead (1863–1931) was an American philosopher, sociologist, and psychologist, who spent much of his career teaching at the University of Chicago. He is regarded as one of the founders of social psychology and the American sociological tradition in general.


Foreword by Hans Joas



1. Social Psychology and Behaviorism

2. The Behavioristic Significance of Attitudes

3. The Behavioristic Significance of Gestures

4. Rise of Parallelism in Psychology

5. Parallelism and the Ambiguity of “Consciousness"

6. The Program of Behaviorism

7. Wundt and the Concept of the Gesture

8. Imitation and the Origin of Language

9. The Vocal Gesture and the Significant Symbol

10. Thought, Communication, and the Significant Symbol

11. Meaning

12. Universality

13. The Nature of Reflective Intelligence

14. Behaviorism, Watsonism, and Reflection

15. Behaviorism and Psychological Parallelism

16. Mind and the Symbol

17. The Relation of Mind to Response and Environment

18. The Self and the Organism

19. The Background of the Genesis of the Self

20. Play, the Game, and the Generalized Other

21. The Self and the Subjective

22. The “I” and the “Me”

23. Social Attitudes and the Physical World

24. Mind as the Individual Importation of the Social Process

25. The “I” and the “Me” as Phases of the Self

26. The Realization of the Self in the Social Situation

27. The Contributions of the “Me” and the “I”

28. The Social Creativity of the Emergent Self

29. A Contrast of Individualistic and Social Theories of the Self

30. The Basis of Human Society: Man and the Insects

31. The Basis of Human Society: Man and the Vertebrates

32. Organism, Community, and Environment

33. The Social Foundations and Functions of Thought and Communication

34. The Community and the Institution

35. The Fusion of the “I” and the “Me” in Social Activities

36. Democracy and Universality in Society

37. Further Consideration of Religious and Economic Attitudes

38. The Nature of Sympathy

39. Conflict and Integration

40. The Functions of Personality and Reason in Social Organization

41. Obstacles and Promises in the Development of the Ideal Society

42. Summary and Conclusion

I. The Function of Imagery in Conduct

II. The Biologic Individual

III. The Self and the Process of Reflection

IV. Fragments on Ethics

Appendix: The Sources of Mind, Self, and Society by Daniel R. Huebner

Bibliography of George Herbert Mead’s Published Works