Studies of How the Mind Publicly Enfolds Into Being

Author: Smythe, William and Angelina Baydala, editors
Although there are many published treatments of the mind in public spaces, none of these reflexively focus on how the self, mind and psyche publicly unfold. The notion of mind in public spaces is a very topical issue, but there are currently no available books that consider in depth the theoretical basis on which public claims of mind are being made.

This pioneering volume is a collection of papers all of which consider how the mind publicly produces and enfolds itself into being. Refusing to characterize the mind in terms of its dissimilarity with society, yet not accepting the strictly critical project of deconstructing the individual/society split, the authors in this volume are mutually inspired by the awareness that mind, psyche, and self are the interpretations in a dialogue that publicly unfolds.

This book will be of interest to scholars and researcher who decentralize the self into a multiplicity of voices as a way of accounting for mind’s inherently cultural and historical fabric. This book could be used as a primary text in graduate courses in Cultural Studies, Psychology of Personality, History of Psychology, Philosophy of Mind, and Philosophy of Psychology. It would be appropriate for any course that deals with subjectivities and in-depth treatment of the psychosocial. It would also be useful as a supplementary text in advanced undergraduate courses on personality and social psychology to introduce alternatives to the notion of a private self.


“For some of the contributors to this volume the project began with an earlier volume entitled Toward a Psychology of Persons (1998). The essays in that volume did more to assert the case for restoring persons as such to the attention of psychology than it did to theorize about them, although the seeds of the present volume are clearly visible there. Though the project has remained at the periphery of academic psychology, the threoretical restoration of the concreteness of living selves in social, psychological, or philosophical theory has had historically recent precedents in the work of people like Mead, Vygotsky, Habermas, and Charles Taylor. With globalization and other recent historical developments, however, the problem of the socially and historically situated person has become increasingly urgent, and it is specifically this problem that the authors of Public Mind tackle. They are agreed that a better understanding of the person will be had only by shifting attention from the private and isolated to the public and shared, from the analytic units in which people do not participate to the cultures, languages, and social practices in which they do. But given agreement on the broad picture, there remains much to be resolved theoretically. How is culture to be characterized as constitutive of the person? What is the function of “the other” vis-a-vis the self? What is the role of language? What does it mean to be discursively, dialogically, or even conversationally constituted? How is language related to non-linguistic social practices? Do we end up with a cultural relativism? Or even a new version of mind-body dualism? And speaking of the body, does it matter that we are embodied, natural beings? What about Nature as such? And if we are constituted by our cultural relations, are we inviting a new form of social-historical determinism? What about moral responsibility? What about spirituality? Indeed, are questions like this answerable at all? These issues and more, both substantive and methodological, are addressed by the contributors to this timely volume. Significant steps are taken here away from the accustomed but unwarranted objectification of self, from the person as a thing like all other things, toward a conception of the self or person as self-constituting subject of experience and action, as an “I” that is also a “thou,” and not merely an “it.” As such, the book makes a vital and important contribution to the advance of psychological understanding.” - Prof. Charles W. Tolman, University of Victoria

"This volume contains the fruit of the a symposium of the Western Canadian Theoretical Psychologists devoted to the topic contained in the title, though the original idea was expressed ny considering 'psyche and polis' (p. vii), the two greek terms from which our conceptions of self and public largely derive. Most of the reflection does not return all the way to Ancient Greece, but the essays draw deeply on historical sources, retracing the influences of contemporary thought and reminding the audience of some roads not taken." -- Matthew H. Stephens

Table of Contents

Part I: Hermeneutics of Self
1. The Dialogical Self, Meaning and Theory: Making the Subject (Henderikus J. Stam)
2. History Making of Self and Identity: A Hermeneutical Account of Psyche and Polis (Randal G. Tonks)
3. Of the Historical Self (Leendert P. Mos)
4. On Having to Rescue the Mind from the Mob Before Stopping It (Anand C. Paranjpe)
Part II: Emancipatory Possibilities
5. Exploring Nature of the Third Kind(Tim B.Rogers)
6. The Polis, Emancipation and Subjectivity: On the Social Uses of Psychoanalysis(Angelina Baydala and Henderikus J. Stam) 7. The Political Disposition of Self as a Kind of Understanding (Jack Martin and Jeff Sugarman)
8. Negotiating Justice in Psychology: Situating Psychology among Rival Moral Orders (Marvin J. McDonald)
9. The Psyche in the Work Place: A Habermasian Analysis (Jeffrey N. Langer and John A. Mills)
Part III: Cultural Perspectives
10. Is Nothing Sacred: The Culture of Psychology in a Spiritual World (Theresa Zolner)
11. Scientific Transpersonal Psychology and Cultural Diversity: Focus on Measurement in Research and Clinical Practice (James Pappas and Harris Friedman)
12. Myth as a Psychological Concept (William E. Smythe)
13. On the Place of Mind: A Philosophical Epilogue (Robert Burch)
Name Index
Subject Index