Descartes Myth Gilbert Ryle Gilbert Ryle is a professor who challenged the beliefs of Descartes and his theory on mind-body-separation, he organized them into four doctrines, and they are as follows: The Official Doctrine: This part deals with the human body and mind, how they are interconnected but still different at the same time. He displays the physical human body to be a public affair and something that all in this world can visually see; the mind however, is a much more private and personal affair.
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With this belief, humans can have two parts: mind (private) and body (public), these parts play different roles as one can affect the other or completely disguise the other. Ryle states that Descartes may have uncertainties about episodes in the physical world, but does not have any uncertainties when analyzing the state of his mind. For example, say Bob’s mind is expressed, no one but Bob will be able to respond to these expressions (feelings). Changes in both of the worlds can affect one another through the physical and intellectual (mind) aspects and challenges that one may face in their lifetime.
The Absurdity of the Official Doctrine: The idea of mind-body separation seems absurd to Ryle which is why he refers to it as “ The Dogma of the Ghost in the Machine”. He believes that this idea contains categorical mistakes (when one recognizes the parts and not the entity). For example, say Bob is showing his friend around the mall, he shows him the stores, thefoodcourt and the lounge, but his friend still questions Bob into asking him what the mall is?
He sees all the different components to it, but he did not connect the different parts of the mall to collectively create the mall. Theoretical Categorical mistakes can be understood by Ryle’s reference to ‘ John Dowe’ , even though John Dowe really doesn’t exist and is just a normalhuman being, people assimilate it to a certain human who attains these characteristics. Origin of Category Mistake: In relation to the above belief, he believes that the mind and body arise during the maturity ofscience.
Science helped for society to evolve and understand certain things about life without a religious motive. (1) The mind is not matter, in space or under publicobservation(2) Physical world is determined (3) ————————————————- There is no moral values applicable (4) How can one be morally responsible if they are simply mechanical beings Ryle believes that Descartes made the assumption that mind and body are separate too quick, as they seem to be more correlated.
Before a category is assumed, one must tackle and try to solve it first. 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. Historical Note: The implications of ‘ myths’ are explained to show that they do in fact portray theoretical good. Science and moral also deal with Descartes beliefs and teachings. WC: 509