Phylogenesis of norms – George Herbert Mead revisited

Sociologist Franz Ofner, GSIS Member, was invited to a conference on Anthropology and Sociology of Normativities at the Institute of Sociology of the University of Innsbruck. This event – taking place from 20 to 21 September 2019 – was organised in cooperation with the Sektion Soziologische Theorie of Österreichische Gesellschaft für Soziologie (ÖGS), the Arbeitskreis Philosophische Anthropologie und Soziologie, Sektion Kultursoziologie of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Soziologie (DGS), and the Forschungszentrum Social Theory, Innsbruck.

Ofner, expert in American philosopher and sociologist George Herbert Mead (1863-1931), held a lecture on the genesis of normativity after Mead (in German). Mead, actually, took an ontogenetic stance in the question of norms, that is, how new generations are socially integrated into existing social orders, whereas he took a phylogenetic point of view when it comes to the emergence of human language and human consciousness. Ofner showed that the missing links in Mead’s phylogenetic deliberations can be overcome on the basis of his own theoretical assumptions and the inclusion of current theories like the one of Michael Tomasello: The process of solving cooperation problems is the process of the formation of social norms.

Abstract

Programme

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