Gilbert Ryle

British philosopher

Gilbert Ryle (19 August 1900 – 6 October 1976) was a British philosopher.[7] Today, he is mostly known for his critique of Cartesian dualism, which he called "ghost in the machine." He was a f British ordinary language philosophers who shared Ludwig Wittgenstein's approach to philosophical problems.[8]

Gilbert Ryle
Portrait by Rex Whistler
Born19 August 1900
Brighton, England
Died6 October 1976 (aged 76)
Whitby, England
Alma materThe Queen's College, Oxford
Era20th-century philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
Doctoral students
Other notable students
Main interests
Notable ideas

Some of Ryle's ideas in philosophy of mind have been called behaviourist. In his best-known book, The Concept of Mind (1949), he writes that the "general trend of this book will undoubtedly, and harmlessly, be stigmatised as 'behaviourist'."[9] Having studied the philosophers Bernard Bolzano, Franz Brentano, Alexius Meinong, Edmund Husserl, and Martin Heidegger, Ryle suggested that the book instead "could be described as a sustained essay in phenomenology, if you are at home with that label."[10]


  1. Gilbert Ryle entry in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  2. Neil Tennant, Introducing Philosophy: God, Mind, World, and Logic, Routledge, 2015, p. 299.
  3. Logical Constants (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
  4. Stuart Brown, Diane Collinson, Robert Wilkinson (eds), Biographical Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Philosophers, Routledge, 2012: "Paton, Herbert James."
  5. Edmund Husserl, Logical Investigations, Volume 1, Routledge & Keegan Paul, 2001: Introduction by Dermot Moran, p. lxiv: "Husserl... visited England in 1922 intent on establishing relations with English philosopherss.... He delivered a number of lectures which were attended by Gilbert Ryle...."
  6. Michael Dummett, Origins of Analytical Philosophy, Bloombury, 2014, p. xiii; Anat Biletzki, Anat Matarp (eds.), The Story of Analytic Philosophy: Plot and Heroes, Routledge, 2002, p. 57: "It was Gilbert Ryle who, [Dummett] says, opened his eyes to this fact in his lectures on Bolzano, Brentano, Meinong, and Husserl."
  7. "Gilbert Ryle | British philosopher". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2018-09-03.
  8. A. C. Grayling (Wittgenstein: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press, (Oxford), 1988, p.114) is certain that, despite the fact that Wittgenstein's work might have possibly played some "second or third-hand [part in the promotion of] the philosophical concern for language which was dominant in the mid-century", neither Gilbert Ryle nor any of those in the so-called "ordinary language philosophy" school that is chiefly associated with J. L. Austin (and, according to Grayling, G. E. Moore, C. D. Broad, Bertrand Russell and A. J. Ayer) were Wittgensteinians. Grayling asserts that "most of them were largely unaffected by Wittgenstein's later ideas, and some were actively hostile to them"
  9. Ryle, Gilbert. [1949] 2002. The Concept of Mind. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 327.
  10. Ryle, Gilbert. 1971. "Phenomenology versus 'The Concept of Mind'." In Collected Papers. London: Hutchinson. p. 188.