Since Cooley was unable to fight back when Mead wrote his highly negative obituary, this is a defense of Cooley. Mead accused Cooley of solipsism, which I show to be a misreading. Mead also criticized Cooley for defining the self as self-feeling, as opposed to Mead's reflexivity, two ideas which actually imply each other. Cooley scooped Mead by a good decade with the ideas of role-taking and inner speech, debts which Mead did not mention. I also show that Mead did not really explain the origin of the self, either phylogenetically (in the species) or ontogenetically (in the infant). I speculate about these two issues. Mead was a great genius, but, like everyone, he had his limits. And fairness requires that Cooley be rehabilitated. The ideas of the two thinkers are actually remarkably alike, so much so that a merger seems a reasonable idea.
- Charles Horton Cooley
- Charles Sanders Peirce
- George Herbert Mead
- inner speech
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Sociology and Political Science