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GeorgeHerbert Mead Discussion
GeorgeHerbert Mead was an American philosopher whose views transformedsocial philosophy. He accepted many of the tenets of behaviorismincluding the fact that rewards and costs are involved in behavior.However, Mead, had various objections to the tenets of behaviorism.First, he thought that behaviorism did not go far enough by excludingconsciousness from behavior (Ritzer, 2011). Most sociologists did notdid not address consciousness in relation to an actor’s behavior.They argued that consciousness could not be studied scientificallyand, therefore, ought to be disregarded when studying the tenets ofbehaviorism.
Accordingto Ritzer (2011), “Mead vehemently disagreed and sought to extendthe principles of behaviorism to an analysis of the “mind” (p.15). In so doing, he brought forward a scientific idea ofconsciousness and its relation to psychological behaviorism.Therefore, he broadened the approach to the study of behaviorismmaking it possible to relate private mental experiences of a personwith the person’s behavior through introspection. Mead’s concernswere based on the premise that stimuli and social objects had richmeanings as opposed to the bare meanings given to them by manypsychological behaviorists.
Meadproposed self-examination as a means to study the internal attitudesignored by most behaviorists. Introspection through reflectivethinking could unearth some of the hidden attributes aboutconsciousness (Ritzer, 2011). As a result, decisions and actionsagainst instinct and normal physiology could be discovered unearthingthe important role of the mind in affecting behavior. The Meadpivotal book took the standpoint of a social behaviorist. He citedthat all human actions are symbolic, therefore making the society anetwork of endless interactions where humans have to interpretbehavior. In conclusion, it is evident that behaviorism is affectedby many integrated factors. These factors include conditioning,rewards and punishments. In addition to these, behaviorism is alsoaffected by consciousness as proposed by Mead. The only way to studythis effect is through introspection.
Ritzer,George. (2011). Classical Sociological Theory, (6th Ed). Boston:McGraw Hill.