Gilbert Ryle's The Concept of Mind Essay

Gilbert Ryle's The Concept of Mind Essay

Length: 2427 words (6.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Gilbert Ryle's The Concept of Mind

In The Concept of Mind Gilbert Ryle attempts, in his own words, to 'explode the myth' of Cartesian dualism. His primary method in this endeavour is to explain why it is a logical error to describe minds and bodies with semantically similar language; while secondarily, he proposes that even to speak of 'minds' as a second-order ontology is to take the first step in the wrong direction towards intellectual clarity. Thus, with the desire to arrive at this hypothetical locale, the following peripatetic discussion will set out with Ryle at his point of departure, viz. Descartes' Myth; it will then survey the "lay-of-the-land" at Ryle's mapped out midway point, viz. Self-Knowledge; and from there, judge whether Ryle himself is headed in the right direction, or, whether despite the ribbons and fan-fare, Ryle's excursion takes place on a circular track.

Ryle begins by seeking to expose the theory of Cartesian Dualism as an absurd logical error. To do this, he accuses it of having an inherently faulty structure; that it exemplifies "one big category-mistake."1 To understand this claim we must first look at what Ryle deems a 'category-mistake.'

A category-mistake is committed when one accounts for a concept by placing it in a certain logical type, or category, when in fact it belongs to a different division altogether. So to describe or qualify two items or ideas of dissimilar constitution within the same linguistic framework is to commit this mistake. Ryle provides numerous examples for the elucidation of this error, only one of which follows: "she came home in a flood of tears and a sedan chair."2 The absurdity of this statement shows the category-mistake for what it is: a failure to use langu...

... middle of paper ...

...ons it is my considered opinion that despite Ryle's attempt at intellectual clarity, this clarity is an illusion.


1 Gilbert Ryle, The Concept of Mind, p. 17.Back to note location in text

2 Ibid., p. 23.Back to note location in text

3 Ibid., p. 15.Back to note location in text

4 Ibid. Back to note location in text

5 Ibid., p.21.Back to note location in text

6 Ibid., p. 23.Back to note location in text

7 I refer to John R. Searle, The Rediscovery of The Mind, in which the author
states: "Mental phenomena are caused by neurophysiological processes in the brain
and are themselves features of the brain." p. 1.Back to note location in text

8 Gilbert Ryle, The Concept of Mind, p. 149.Back to note location in text

9 Ibid., p. 149.Back to note location in text

10 Ibid., p. 162.Back to note location in text

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Gilbert Ryle’s The Concept of Mind Essay

- Gilbert Ryle’s The Concept of Mind Gilbert Ryle’s The Concept of Mind (1949) is a critique of the notion that the mind is distinct from the body, and is a rejection of the philosophical theory that mental states are distinct from physical states. Ryle argues that the traditional approach to the relation of mind and body (i.e., the approach which is taken by the philosophy of Descartes) assumes that there is a basic distinction between Mind and Matter. According to Ryle, this assumption is a basic 'category-mistake,' because it attempts to analyze the relation betwen 'mind' and 'body' as if they were terms of the same logical category....   [tags: Ryle Concept Mind Philosophy Essays]

Powerful Essays
1095 words (3.1 pages)

Cartesian Dualism and Gilbert Ryle Essay

- This essay will define Cartesian dualism, explain and critically evaluate Gilbert Ryle’s response to Cartesian dualism in his article, “Descartes’ Myth” and support Ryle’s argument on Descartes’ substance dualism. Cartesian dualism is a type of mind-body dualism formulated by the infamous Rene Descartes (1596-1650). Descartes’ dualism is about entities: he states there are two distinct kinds of entities, bodies and minds (1). All objects that exist or can exist belong to one of these categories....   [tags: descartes, the concept of mind]

Powerful Essays
1031 words (2.9 pages)

Essay on Cartesian Dualism and Gilbert Ryle

- Gilbert Ryle is well known in the philosophical world specifically as a behaviorist. According to Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy behaviorist are “followers in the ‘ordinary language’ tradition of analytic philosophy, while, for the most part, regarding behavioral scientific hopes as vain, hold views that are, in other respects, strongly behaviorists”(Hauser 1). In the middle of the twentieth century the ordinary language behaviorist movement was strongly covered by Ryle and Wittgenstein. These bright minds established a relationship; “In 1929 Ryle met Wittgenstein and struck up a friendship that profoundly altered the direction of Ryle’s Philosophical thinking”( Stroll 147)....   [tags: Cartesian Dualism, Mind-Body Problem]

Powerful Essays
1900 words (5.4 pages)

Essay on The Concept of Intelligence

- The Concept of Intelligence ABSTRACT: Gilbert Ryle’s dispositional analysis of the concept of intelligence makes the error of assimilating intelligence to the category of dispositional or semi-dispositional concepts. Far from being a dispositional concept, intelligence is an episodic concept that refers neither to dispositions nor to ‘knowing how,’ but to a fashion or style of proceeding whose significance is adverbial. Being derivative from the function of the adverb ‘intelligently,’ the concept of intelligence does not have essential reference to specific verbs but rather to the manner or style of proceeding of nearly any verb that is descriptive of the proceedings of an agent....   [tags: Intelligence Ryle Essays]

Powerful Essays
3430 words (9.8 pages)

The Existence Of Understanding The Mind Body Problem Essay

- Descartes pursuit of understanding the mind-body problem eventually led to the Cartesian theory; build on the principle that mind and body are respectively different. This school of thought is built on the concept that the body occupies space while the mind doesn’t. Material properties are transformed to the imagining, because once things become structured the outcome are properties, which are the elements that make them up. Previously only material, when properties become combined they become emotional, thus a consciousness is formed....   [tags: Mind, Psychology, Philosophy of mind]

Powerful Essays
1093 words (3.1 pages)

Cartesian Dualism, And Logical Behaviorism Essay

- The definition of Philosophy is the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, especially when considered as an academic discipline (Mifflin). It is a group of ideas, worked out by a philosopher. The most common topics or questions asked are, what is a mind. a body. What is reality. What is knowledge. How can we know everything. Philosophers believe that asking philosophical questions is useful because it brings wisdom. Coming from the Greek word Sophy, and love from Philo, (Wordnik)....   [tags: Mind, Philosophy of mind, Psychology, Philosophy]

Powerful Essays
1248 words (3.6 pages)

Cartesian Dualism and Gilbert Ryle Essay

- Over the years, many philosophers have tried to answer the elusive mind-body problem. There has been a wide range of approaches to comprehend this matter, but perhaps none as renowned as Cartesian dualism. This theory, proposed by René Descartes in the early seventeenth century, is still central to modern metaphysical discourse. His teachings through the Meditations have been both revered and scrutinized, and still have withstood many other’s attempts to disprove them. One of his biggest critics of the twentieth century was Gilbert Ryle....   [tags: Cartesian Dualism, Mind-Body Problem]

Powerful Essays
1569 words (4.5 pages)

Analysis Of Rene Descartes 's Meditations On First Philosophy Essay

- Rene Descartes was a French Philosopher who wrote the book, Meditations on First Philosophy. There are six meditations, the last one is named, The essence of material things, and the real distinction between mind and body, in the sixth meditation. In the previous meditations he already conjectured that he had a mind because he is a thing that thinks and to think is to have a mind and to think is to also exist. Descartes believes that physical things exist because they are pure mathematics, and he can see them clearly and distinctly....   [tags: Mind, Ontology, René Descartes, Consciousness]

Powerful Essays
1055 words (3 pages)

Cartesian Dualism vs Logical Behaviorism Essay

- Are minds physical things, or are they nonmaterial. If your beliefs and desires are caused by physical events outside of yourself, how can it be true that you act the way you do of your own free will. Are people genuinely moved by the welfare of others, or is all behavior, in reality, selfish. (Sober 203). These are questions relevant to philosophy of the mind and discussed through a variety of arguments. Two of the most important arguments with this discussion are Cartesian dualism and logical behaviorism, both of which argue the philosophy of the mind in two completely different ways....   [tags: Cartesian Dualism, Mind-Body Problem]

Powerful Essays
1489 words (4.3 pages)

From Mind to Supermind: A Statement of Aurobindonian Approach Essay

- From "Mind" to "Supermind": A Statement of Aurobindonian Approach ABSTRACT: In contrast to Western theories of mind, Aurobindo’s theory is comprehensive and holistic. This theory derives from his ontology. With respect to mind, Aurobindo contends that evolution will not stop with homo sapien. Rather, he posits higher levels of consciousness: Higher Mind, Illumined Mind, Intuitive Mind, Overmind, and Supermind. Higher Mind is an intermediary between the Truth-light above and the human mind. Illumined Mind is Spiritual light....   [tags: Philosophy Philosophical Papers]

Free Essays
3378 words (9.7 pages)