This now-classic work challenges what Ryle calls philosophy's "official theory," the Cartesians "myth" of the separation of mind and matter. Ryle's linguistic analysis remaps the conceptual geography of mind, not so much solving traditional philosophical problems as dissolving them into the mere consequences of misguided language. His plain language and esstentially simple purpose place him in the traditioin of Locke, Berkeley, Mill, and Russell.
First published in 1949, Gilbert Ryle ’s The Concept of Mind is one of the classics of twentieth-century philosophy. Described by Ryle as a ‘sustained piece of analytical hatchet-work’ on Cartesian dualism, The Concept of Mind is a radical and controversial attempt to jettison once and for all what Ryle called ‘the ghost in the machine’: Descartes’ argument that mind and body are two separate entities. This sixtieth anniversary edition includes a substantial commentary by Julia Tanney and is essential reading (...) for new readers interested not only in the history of analytic philosophy but in its power to challenge major currents in philosophy of mind and language today. (shrink)
This is, as from the author of The Concept of Mind it could scarcely fail to be, a bold and rollicking book. It is also one of the most important works about Plato to have appeared since the first volume of Sir Karl Popper's The Open Society. Whereas The Concept of Mind was a general offensive against Cartesian views of man, eschewing any precise references to particular sources, Plato's Progress deals with scholarly questions of datings and developments, showing and demanding (...) familiarity with a wide literature. Yet Professor Ryle is still incapable as ever of the dry-as-dust. (shrink)
Just as there was a vogue at one time for identifying thinking either with mere processions or with more or less organised processions of images, so there is a vogue now for identifying thinking with something oddly called ‘language’, namely with more or less organised processions of bits of French or English, etc.
St. Augustine said “When you do not ask me what Time is, I know perfectly well; but when you do ask me, I cannot think what to say.” What, then, was it that he knew perfectly well, and what was it that he did not know? Obviously he knew perfectly well such things as these, that what happened yesterday is more recent than what happened a month ago; that a traveller who walks four miles in an hour, goes twice as (...) fast as a traveller who takes two hours over the same journey. He knew how to say things and how to understand things said to him which specified dates, durations and times of day; epochs, seasons and moments. He knew when it was midday and he could use the calendar. He could cope efficiently and easily with concrete chronological and chronometrical tasks. He could use and understand tensed verbs. (shrink)
There is a certain emotion of repugnance which I, and I hope a good many would-be philosophers, feel when asked the conventional question, “If you are a philosopher, to what school of thought do you belong? Are you an Idealist or a Realist, a Platonist or a Hobbist, a Monist or a Pluralist?”.