Cover for ABOULAFIA: The Cosmopolitan Self: George Herbert Mead and Continental Philosophy. Click for larger image

The Cosmopolitan Self

George Herbert Mead and Continental Philosophy

In this incisive commentary, Mitchell Aboulafia examines the relevance of the American pragmatist philosopher George Herbert Mead to current debates on pluralism, universalism, and the fostering of a democratic temper. Addressing the relationship between Mead's notions of self and society and those of important continental thinkers, The Cosmopolitan Self demonstrates that Mead's ideas not only speak to resolving the tension between universalism and pluralism, they do so in a manner that challenges and advances the positions of these continental theoreticians.

Aboulafia examines how Mead's insights illuminate Hannah Arendt's reading of Immanual Kant's third Critique and Jürgen Habermas's understanding of the relationship among communicative action, universality, and individuation. Teasing out strands of agreement and disagreement among Mead and these theorists on topics such as impartiality and good judgment, Aboulafia develops a conception of universalism that is compatible with contemporary notions of pluralism. He also addresses the serious challenge presented to Mead's approach to pluralism by Emmanuel Levinas, who holds that true pluralism, presupposing an irreducible individualism, is fundamentally irreconcilable with universalism.

The Cosmopolitan Self offers a model of the democratically inclined individual who embodies both a capacity to establish common ground with others and a sensitivity to their uniqueness. This important volume appreciably advances the dialogue between continental thought and classical American philosophy.

Mitchell Aboulafia, professor and chair of philosophy at the University of Colorado at Denver, is the author of The Mediating Self: Mead, Sartre, and Self-Determination and The Self-Winding Circle: A Study of Hegel's System and the editor of Philosophy, Social Theory, and the Thought of George Herbert Mead.

To order online:

To order by phone:
(800) 621-2736 (USA/Canada)
(773) 702-7000 (International)

Related Titles

previous book next book
Journal of Animal Ethics

Edited by Andrew Linzey and Priscilla N. Cohn

Pay for Play

A History of Big-Time College Athletic Reform

Ronald A. Smith

Journal of Aesthetic Education

Edited by Pradeep Dhillon

Recommended Principles to Guide Academy-Industry Relationships

American Association of University Professors

Working for Justice

A Handbook of Prison Education and Activism

Edited by Stephen John Hartnett, Eleanor Novek, and Jennifer K. Wood

Black Power on Campus

The University of Illinois, 1965-75

Joy Ann Williamson

Jane Addams in the Classroom

Edited by David Schaafsma

An Illinois Sampler

Teaching and Research on the Prairie

Edited by Mary-Ann Winkelmes and Antoinette Burton with Kyle Mays


Critiques of Contemporary Architecture and Education

A. Richard Williams, FAIA

Aesthetics and Arts Education

Edited by Ralph A. Smith and Alan Simpson

Journal of Education Finance

Edited by Kern Alexander

Citizens in the Present

Youth Civic Engagement in the Americas

Maria de los Angeles Torres, Irene Rizzini, and Norma Del Río

John Dewey and the Philosophy and Practice of Hope

Stephen M. Fishman and Lucille McCarthy