The Social Self in Jane Addams’s Prefaces and Introductions
- Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society: A Quarterly Journal in American Philosophy
- Indiana University Press
- Volume 49, Number 2, Spring 2013
- pp. 127-156
- Additional Information
Jane Addams’s prefaces and introductions are isolated from their texts and examined in chronological order. This throws into sharp focus her basic commitments and methodology and shows how they evolved over time. Her basic premise is that only gradually and with concerted effort can cultural and social barriers be dismantled, thus enabling genuine understanding and mutual, constructive action. Her experimental efforts to construct a social self develop in tandem with a social morality. Both require recognition of the ties that bind us to one another and the corollary that this creates obligations of mutual respect and support. She defined scientific methodology as engaged, perspectival, and value-laden at the very time it was portraying itself as detached, indifferent to context, and value-free. She showed how lived experience and scientific approaches to knowledge were mutually reinforcing and argued that gathering data and testing it were enhanced, not diminished, by directing it towards social good.