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The self as the locus of morality: A comparison between Charles Taylor and George Herbert Mead's theories of the moral constitution of the self

Abbott, Owen 2020. The self as the locus of morality: A comparison between Charles Taylor and George Herbert Mead's theories of the moral constitution of the self. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 50 (4) , pp. 516-533. 10.1111/jtsb.12258

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Abstract

This paper provides a critical comparison of two leading exponents of the relationship between morality and selfhood: Charles Taylor and George Herbert Mead. Specifically, it seeks to provide an assessment of the contribution each approach is able to make to a social theory of morality that has the self at its heart. Ultimately, it is argued that Taylor's phenomenological account neglects the significance of interaction and social relations in his conceptualisation of the relationship between morality and self, which undermines the capacity of his framework to explain how moral understandings and dialogic moral subjectivity develop in a world of shared meaning. I then argue that Mead's pragmatist interactionist approach overcomes many of the flaws in Taylor's framework, and offers a grounded conceptualisation of the relationship between self and morality that is able to provide a basis for a properly social account of moral subjectivity.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Additional Information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0021-8308
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 14 February 2022
Last Modified: 14 Feb 2022 11:30
URI: https://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/147333

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