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Essay on Gilbert Ryle’s The Concept of Mind

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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. Furthermore, Ryle argues that traditional Idealism makes a basic 'category-mistake' by trying to
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There are no mental processes which are distinct from intelligent acts. The operations of the mind are not merely represented by intelligent acts, but are the same as intelligent acts. Thus, an act of remembering, dreaming, knowing, or willing is not merely a clue to some hidden mental process or intellectual operation, it is how that mental process or intellectual operation is defined. A logical proposition is not merely a clue to a particular mode of reasoning, it is that mode of reasoning.

Ryle rejects the doctrine that the will is a faculty within the mind, and the doctrine that volitions are mental processes which the human body transforms into physical acts. Ryle explains that this doctrine is an example of the myth that mental acts are distinct from physical acts, and of the myth that there is a mental world which is distinct from the physical world. This doctrine of separation between mind and body is referred to by Ryle as 'the dogma of the ghost in the machine.' Ryle argues that there is no ghostly, invisible entity called 'the mind' inside a mechanical apparatus called 'the body.' The workings of the mind are not an independent mechanism which governs the workings of the body. The workings of the mind are not distinct from the actions of the body, but are conceptualized as a way of explaining the actions of the body.

Ryle argues that, according to the traditional theory of the mind, mental acts are regarded as causing and
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