Gilbert Ryle

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Ryle, Gilbert,

1900–1976, British philosopher. A graduate of Oxford, he became a tutor at Christ Church, Oxford, and later was Waynflete professor of metaphysical philosophy (1945–68) there. From 1947 to 1971 he was editor of the philosophical journal Mind. Like Ludwig WittgensteinWittgenstein, Ludwig Josef Johann
, 1889–1951, Austrian philosopher, b. Vienna. Life

Originally trained as an engineer, Wittgenstein turned to philosophy, went to Cambridge, where he studied (1912–13) with Bertrand Russell, and further developed his
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, Ryle was concerned with problems caused by the confusion of grammatical with logical distinctions. He pointed out the so-called category mistake, in which, usually because of a grammatical equivalence, two things are mistakenly treated as belonging to equivalent logical categories. In his Concept of Mind (1949), Ryle argued that the mind is not a nonphysical substance residing in the body, "a ghost in a machine," but a set of capacities and abilities belonging to the body. All references to the mental must be understood, at least theoretically, in terms of witnessable activities. His other works include Dilemmas (1954), Plato's Progress (1966), and Collected Papers (2 vol., 1971).


See G. Pitcher and O. Wood, ed., Ryle (1971).