Ryle Cogitans

Philosophy 59 (227):39- (1984)
The articles on ‘thinking’ by Gilbert Ryle brought together by Konstantin Kolenda were not very well received, even by those who acknowledge, as awhole generation of philosophers must, a considerable intellectual debt to him. Bernard Williams in his review ‘Ryle Remembered’ ) seemed to capture the general impression created by the book. My suspicion is that this was so because readers approached it with a resistance built up over years of hearingRyle flounder on the topic. They read the book expecting to find nothing init that they had not already assimilated or rejected. To pick up the metaphor G. E. L. Owen employed in the obituary he wrote for the Aristotelian Society, they had come to regard Ryle's work as a philosophical seam which during his own lifetime had already been so extensively and profitably minedthat by the time of his death it was already producing diminishing returns. Although Williams in his review did provide a rationale for Ryle's floundering I suspect that his rationale, like most readers’ expectations, preventedhim from reading the articles in the volume at all closely. Williams's viewwas that towards the end of his life, with whatever he had had in the way of theory collapsing around him, Ryle was left with nothing but his massive common sense together with the resources of a style of writing which had bythen become a caricature of itself. As against this I shall argue that Ryle, puzzled by the notion of thinking, took the problem back to his own philosophical roots where he finally came to think that the solution lay
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DOI 10.1017/S0031819100056473
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