Mead and Husserl on the Self and identification of the subject


Out of many different strategies in the philosophy of the early 20th century the author compares two completely different philosophies: G. H. Mead’s social behaviorism and E. Husserl’s transcendental phenomenology with respect to the self-arising problem. For Mead, the initial point of his theory is the social conduct or person’s behavior, whereas for Husserl, the life of the isolated transcendental Ego is of greatest value. The author emphasizes, though the main ideas of both philosophers have different methodological grounds, one finds, that the matter of primary importance for them. This is the question of who is an executor of the social acts (Mead) and the transcendental phenomenological act (Husserl)? Through an analysis of the main ideas of both philosophers (‘I’ and ‘Me’ as principles of the subject by Mead, and intentionality, time analysis, and intersubjectivity by Husserl) the author demonstrates, firstly, how the question of self-identity is solved in both conceptions, and, secondly, how to argue the advantages of phenomenology. The article leads to the conclusion: methodologically Mead’s social behaviorism is relativistic, as far as his theory of subjectivity depends on the social context. Husserl’s method, despite its complexity, offers a clear subject structure and therefore can be regarded as more productive for the theory of self. Refs 15

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This paper was published in Saint Petersburg State University.

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