18 July, 2008

Gilbert Ryle


Gilbert Ryle was a British philosopher, and a representative of the generation of British ordinary language philosophers influenced by Wittgenstein's insights into language, and is principally known for his critique of Cartesian dualism, for which he coined the phrase "the ghost in the machine". Some of his ideas in the philosophy of mind have been referred to as "behaviorist".

Ryle was born in Brighton, England in 1900. The young Ryle grew up in an environment of learning. His father was a generalist who had interests in philosophy and astronomy, and passed on to his children an impressive library. Ryle was initially educated at Brighton College. In 1919, he went to Queen's College at Oxford, initially to study Classics but was quickly drawn to Philosophy. He would graduate with first class honors in 1924 and was appointed to a lectureship in Philosophy at Christ Church, Oxford. A year later, he was to become a tutor. Ryle remained at Christ Church until World War II.

A capable linguist, he was recruited to intelligence work during World War II, after which he returned to Oxford and was elected Waynflete Professor of Metaphysical Philosophy and Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford. He published his principal work, "The Concept of Mind" in 1949. He was president of the Aristotelian Society from 1945 to 1946, and editor of the philosophical journal Mind from 1947 to 1971. Ryle died on 6 October 1976 at Whitby, North Yorkshire.

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