In today’s post, I am looking at the idea of ‘category mistake’ by the eminent British philosopher Gilbert Ryle. Ryle was an ardent opponent of Rene Descartes’ view of mind-body dualism. Ryle also came up with the phrase ‘the ghost in the machine’ to mock the idea of dualism. Cartesian dualism is the idea that mind and body are two separate entities. Descartes was perhaps influenced by his religious beliefs. Our bodies are physical entities that will wither away when we die. But our minds, Descartes concluded are immaterial and can “live on” after we die. Descartes noted:
There is a great difference between mind and body, inasmuch as body is by nature always divisible, and the mind is entirely indivisible… the mind or soul of man is entirely different from the body.
Ryle called this idea the official doctrine:
The official doctrine, which hails chiefly from…
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