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Record Type: Review   ID: 830

Creativity in George Herbert Mead

Gunter, Pete A.Y. (Ed.).

 This is the proceedings of a symposium given at the 1969 meeting of the Society of Philosophy of Creativity under the same title as the book. It begins with an introduction to Mead and his ideas. Mead pioneered a form of behaviorism that included introspective method. He is also well known for his views on the social origin of the self. Mead taught that selfhood is not a given but must be achieved. But that is only a stage. The self must find with the common good, in which case a fusion of the "I" and the "me" occurs, accompanied by an experience of exaltation. Mead, and his student David L. Miller who continued his work, have a process view of creativity. Miller points out that to discover causes we do not start with premises. "Our supposed predictions are after-the-fact retrodictions" (p. xii). The open self engages in a continual process of self-transcendence [which, in the view of this website, is engineered by one or more EHEs]. The first paper in the symposium is "Consciousness, the Attitude of the Individual and Perspectives" by David L. Miller. He compares Mead's thinking with that of Alfred North Whitehead. There follow comments on Miller's paper by Charles Morris, Hugh D. Duncan, and Harold N. Lee. Lee holds that when "a scientist verifies a hypothesis or discovers a new principle he has merely found what is the case in a pre-structured reality—something that was there but of which his predecessors were unhappily ignorant. No, Mead holds that the scientist discovers only in the sense that one discovers what is new. The world that is there is a different world for the scientist after his discovery, for it contains what it did not contain before. It is a different world also for others in so far as they are aware of and influenced by the new formulation. Even the grounds for the new formulation were not present in the old world until the scientist reorganized the old world. This is the sense in which Mead holds that the past is not unchangeable. There is a constant reconstructing of the past in order to furnish the grounds for what is new in the present, and the present is the only locus of actuality" (p. 56). From the view of EHEs, this new reality is glimpsed entirely in an EHE, usually a peak experience, but any EHE performs the same function of revealing new orders of reality for mindbodyspirit to grasp. Miller responds to the commentators and then several others comment. A select chronological bibliography of works about Mead since 1969 is appended.
Publisher Information:Lanham, MD: University Press of American, 1990. 110p. Bibl: 85-106; Chap. bibl; Index: 107-110
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