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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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Presentation and Re-Presentation: Language, Content, and the Reconstruction of Experience

Presentation and Re-Presentation: Language, Content, and the Reconstruction of Experience

(p.296) Chapter Fourteen Presentation and Re-Presentation: Language, Content, and the Reconstruction of Experience
The Timeliness of George Herbert Mead

Roman Madzia

University of Chicago Press

Roman Madzia focuses on Mead’s embodied and situated concept of the mind in order to examine a central problem for modern thought—specifically, the relationship between experience and language. Madzia argues that modern philosophies—including so-called neo-pragmatists—view language as a necessary mediation through which humans experience the world, but this common view has resulted in fundamental problems. Mead, in contrast, developed a theory in which our primary relation with the world is absorbed skillful coping with an engrossing and unproblematized realm of objects, not an objective world mediated for an actor by propositional content. On this basis, Mead develops a theory of the emergence of linguistic communication in which symbols enable humans to systematically reconstruct their habits in response to practical problems. Thus, Madzia argues, the linguistic mediation of the world is a second-order attitude situated within a larger theory of direct, unmediated action. The apparently problematic features of linguistic representation of the world are resolved into transitory but necessary phases in the action of the body as it attempts to restore the direct unity of experience—to re-present a unified field of action.

Keywords:   George Herbert Mead, language, experience, action theory, epistemology

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