American Sociology and Pragmatism: Mead, Chicago Sociology, by J. David Lewis

By J. David Lewis

Lewis and Smith reconstruct the highbrow histories of either American pragmatism and sociology as they constructed from 1892 to 1935 on the collage of Chicago. In doing so, the authors problem a lot present considering in philosophy and sociology. opposite to the normal account of the background of yank pragmatism, which depicts the philosophies of Charles Peirce, William James, John Dewey, and George Herbert Mead as forming a unified culture, the authors argue that there have been specified kinds of American pragmatism. One was once the individualist pragmatism of James's and Dewey's practical psychology; the opposite was once the extra socially orientated pragmatism of Peirce and Mead.

The authors current a reinterpretation of the highbrow impact of the pragmatists, particularly Mead, upon the early Chicago sociologists and the next culture of symbolic interactionism. via an research of proper texts, they express that major sociologists of the interval, Small, Ellwood, Thomas, and Blumer, between others, approximate the philosophical culture of James and Dewey extra heavily than that of Mead and Peirce.

The convergence of textual, archival, and survey-based proof accumulated by means of Lewis and Smith reopens the talk in regards to the highbrow roots of yank sociology. Their examine issues towards the necessity for a greatly revised historical past of symbolic interactionism, American pragmatism, Chicago sociology, and American sociology itself from 1890 to 1935.

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There was no quantum theory until someone thought it, and the same is true of all theories and theoreti­ cal entities. Particles of matter were colliding long before any humans lived, but the conception of an “ atomic particle” is clearly dependent 18 One upon the mind of a scientist. Nominalists and realists agree, but they differ in what they infer from this fact. The nominalist concludes that, because theoretical entities do not exist and come into consciousness through the conceptualizing activity of the mind, they are merely psy­ chological phenomena—that is, unreal.

One of the best ways to grasp the idea is to imagine someone with such an affliction that the only sensation he / she is ever capable of feeling is the drone of a single tone that never changes in any respect. That person would truly feel the firstness of that tone because the feeling would never be related to anything else. This mental experiment illustrates an important characteristic of firstness: the quality of feeling cannot be decomposed into parts. Weiss (1965:133) has challenged this alleged characteristic by pointing out that any quality can exhibit endless nuances, variations, and intensities.

With the realists’ criterion of reality now established, we can distin­ guish the realist and instrumentalist positions on the question of the reality of theoretical entities in scientific theories. The realist contends that, although such entities do not exist and are mind-relative, they are, nevertheless, real because the processes they signify are real in the sense explicated above, assuming that the theory is true. The instrumentalists predicate their argument on the fact that the scientist invents the theory.

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