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The Concept of Mind (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 3 Aug 2000


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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (3 Aug. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141182172
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141182179
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 59,648 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Gilbert Ryle was Waynflete Professor of Metaphysical Philosophy at the University of Oxford between 1945 and 1968 and editor of 'Mind' from 1947 to 1971. He died in 1976.

Eminent philosopher and cognitive scientist Daniel C. Dennett is the authorof Darwin's Dangerous Idea.


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First Sentence
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. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Peter Reeve VINE VOICE on 26 Jan. 2004
Format: Paperback
"The Concept of Mind" is one of the essential works of philosophy and one of the great books of the twentieth century. Western thought took a horrendous wrong turn with Cartesian dualism and it was not until Ryle's book in 1949 that we got back on track. Or at least should have done, for the idea that we are two separate entities - mind and body - still pervades, and muddies, our thinking, whether philosophical, theological or everyday.
Some of Ryle's followers have extended his ideas to the point of distortion, and would have us believe that mind and consciousness actually do not exist. Don't let such behaviourist extremism put you off. Ryle's feet were always more firmly on the ground. He defines the concept of mind, not invalidates it.
He has a lively, readable style (of how many philosophers can you say that?) and although a lot of his ideas do not have the novelty that they would have had half a century ago, this is still the best book with which to begin an investigation of the nature of mind and consciousness.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 21 Jan. 2003
Format: Paperback
The Concept of Mind is more than its "on the cover" description. The writing gives much more than the core subject matter of a philosophy contradicting the "ghost in the machine" philosophy. Whilst the subject matter is very interesting it is embellished by glorious vocabulary with deep definitions allowing a reader to learn as much about the meaning of words as the subject matter of the book. One word becomes a plethora of senses and the author carefully distinguishes the senses which are being applied to the explanation and theory against those which are not. This is an enlightening text.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. Adams on 1 Sept. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'd forgetten the signifcance of this work on the dualism of Western thought. It covers not only brain/intellect, but also body/soul and, flesh/ spirit. The English equivalent of Heigegger of the time
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By W. Thomas on 22 Oct. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ryle teaches us how to talk about mind, brain and behaviour without misunderstanding what we're talking about. This was a revelation to me when studying psychology, and continues to provide a means of clarity when discussing other subjects - nature and mythology for instance, or religion vs spirituality. Any student of science or philosophy will benefit from "getting" Ryle.
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By Mr W H Kitchen on 26 Sept. 2014
Format: Paperback
A very intelligent book by a very intelligent philosopher. But his ideas were founded in Wittgenstein's philosophy, so this book is a furthering of that doctrine. No doubt Wittgenstein began the defeat of Cartesian dualism before Ryle did, by this text carries on along similar Wittgensteinian lines. Ryle flirts with behaviourism perhaps a little more than he should, and his disdain for dualism sometimes leads him to the ontological denial of the inner, or, less harmfully the semantic unimportance of it; nevertheless, setting aside some flirtations with these errors, this book is a must read for philosophy students, as well as psychologists and neuroscientists/neurophilsophers.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By DAVID BRYSON TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 8 Mar. 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There is no getting away from the noun 'mind'. It is perfectly intelligible and sensible to say that Newton, Hume and Richard Bentley had fine minds. However we soon get into a muddle when we misunderstand what kind of noun 'mind' is. People possess certain capacities that we call 'mental' by way of distinguishing them from capacities of the senses such as eyesight, or from capacities of the physique like weight-lifting, and anything that is ‘mental’ is of the mind. And immediately we have to watch our step if we want to think clearly. Bentley, Bentley's eyes and Bentley's eyesight can each be said to have had the capacity to read the text of Manilius. Bentley and Bentley's eyes (but not Bentley's eyesight) can each be said to have read Manilius. However what enabled Bentley to correct and edit the text of Manilius was his mind, but Bentley's mind didn't edit Manilius, Bentley did.
There is no such thing as a mind, Ryle argues if I don't misrepresent him, as distinct from things that are of the mind. There is an intelligible entity called a body that we recognise as distinct from any and all of its attributes. The mind is nothing except certain capacities, and the noun 'mind' is the convenient way of referring to these. It is not the same sort of thing as eyesight or hearing, but belongs in the same category of noun as ‘character’ or ‘personality’. Epistemology like this is often described as the study of knowledge, but it would be better described as the study of understanding. Its aim is to clarify what we think and how we think, and it takes as its basis the way we use language in ordinary day-to-day utterance.
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