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The Timeliness of George Herbert Mead$
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Hans Joas and Daniel R. Huebner

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226376943

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226377131.001.0001

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Pragmatism and Historicism: Mead’s Philosophy of Temporality and the Logic of Historiography

Pragmatism and Historicism: Mead’s Philosophy of Temporality and the Logic of Historiography

Chapter:
(p.62) Chapter Three Pragmatism and Historicism: Mead’s Philosophy of Temporality and the Logic of Historiography
Source:
The Timeliness of George Herbert Mead
Author(s):

Hans Joas

, Alex Skinner
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226377131.003.0004

Hans Joas explores the similarities between American pragmatism and German historicism in the nineteenth century—similarities that were often ignored because of cultural differences between the United States and Germany and the different status of the natural sciences and humanities in the two cultures. But the main claim of this chapter is that American pragmatism developed ideas that allow us to overcome the dichotomy between objectivism and relativism in historiography. Joas identifies conceptual tools in the works of Josiah Royce, Mead, and Dewey that can account for the intersubjective and the temporal nature of human experience as well as for the processes of the formation of ideals. By bringing Ernst Troeltsch, the most sophisticated thinker from the historicist tradition, into the picture, Joas demonstrates that in the 1920s one could almost speak of the beginning of a convergence of Mead’s temporalized pragmatism and Troeltsch’s existential historicism. For contingent reasons, this convergence never took place, but it remains a challenge to which this paper responds.

Keywords:   George Herbert Mead, Ernst Troeltsch, Josiah Royce, John Dewey, pragmatism, historicism, temporality, historiography

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