DESCARTES MYTH GILBERT RYLE PDF

THERE is a doctrine about the nature and place of minds which is so prevalent among theorists and even among laymen that it deserves to be described as the official theory. Most philosophers, psychologists and religious teachers subscribe, with minor reservations, to its main articles and, although they admit certain theoretical difficulties in it, they tend to assume that these can be overcome without serious modifications being made to the architecture of the theory. It will be argued here that the central principles of the doctrine are unsound and conflict with the whole body of what we know about minds when we are not speculating about them. The official doctrine, which hails chiefly from Descartes, is something like this. With the doubtful exceptions of idiots and infants in arms every human being has both a body and a mind.

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He describes the mind-body distinction as the mind existing apart from the physical world and the body existing in the world, and a person consists of both of these attributes. A mind is sometimes described as being in the head of a person, but this is only used metaphorically; it is not a spatial object. A mind is also private to the individual. The mind can cause a change in the physical world and the world can cause a change in the mind.

And what a person touches, smells, sees, etc, with the body causes an effect on the mind. A categorical mistake can arise when a person does not recognize an entity, and only recognizes the parts.

Ryle gives the example of person being given a tour of a university; and after the person saw the university for the first time he asks the question, I have seen the students, buildings, and different colleges, but where is the university? The person thought the parts of the university were separate from the university. There are also theoretical categorical mistakes. The person makes the mistake of thinking that there is really a particular person being referred as John Dow, instead of recognizing that John Dow is the average people who pay taxes.

The person would consider John Dow as a ghost that is everywhere, but nowhere to be found. This understanding of categorical mistake begins the argument against distinction of the mind and body for Ryle. Ryle believes the categorical mistake of the mind and body arose during maturity of science. From science, people began to understand the world as more mechanical and predictable as they understood there were laws that governed its nature.

As a scientist, Renee Descartes saw this and sought to distinguish physics from mind on religious motivations. Ryle describes the idea having been formed in negatives; The mind is not, matter, mechanical, in space, or is accessible to public observation.

And because it was also assumed the physical world is determined, it was assumed that moral values could no longer be applicable. If there are physical laws that determine everything, the question arose; how can any person be morally responsible for their choices if they are fully mechanical beings? That is, one could no more blame a tree for falling on someone then being slapped by someone in the face.

Ryle thinks it was too quickly assumed that the mind and body were separate. By doing so, it does not allow for the opportunity to consider other ideas of how body and mind are correlated. It does not allow for alternative view of how physical states affect mental states. When considering two conflicting propositions, Ryle thinks that before an entire new category is assumed to mitigate a problem, it should first be attempted to resolve it as is.

If someone wanted to understand the difference between men and women it would be odd to create a new category of existence for men, such as non-humanoid. Rather one should consider how they are related, and would come to the conclusion they both fall in the category of human. Ryle gives the example from a person buying a pair of gloves, and says it would be an error to say that the person bought a right handed glove or a left handed glove, but not both.

Example of things that should be considered in different categories are color, sunset, dogs, and smiles. Although Ryle gives several examples of categorical mistakes, I am left wondering what exactly is the criterion of a categorical mistake.

If the criterion for a categorical mistake is not clear, it is difficult to see if the argument is conclusive.

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Ghost in the machine

Ryle argues that the traditional approach to the relation of mind and body i. Firstly, Descartes sees the mind as an immaterial, non-physical soul. He believes that his thoughts can be altered but he can never be tricked into the thinking that he is thinking when he is not. Ryle describes the separation of the mind and body as the mind existing apart from the physical world and the body existing in the world.

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Descartes Myth-Gilbert Ryle

He describes the mind-body distinction as the mind existing apart from the physical world and the body existing in the world, and a person consists of both of these attributes. A mind is sometimes described as being in the head of a person, but this is only used metaphorically; it is not a spatial object. A mind is also private to the individual. The mind can cause a change in the physical world and the world can cause a change in the mind.

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