Course overview

This short course will explore the work of the British philosopher Gilbert Ryle and his highly influential 1949 work The Concept of Mind. Writing within what was known as the Ordinary Language tradition of western philosophy, Ryle develops a fascinating and imaginative attack upon our most cherished assumption about the mind and its relation to the world and our physical bodies. During the course, we will look in detail at both this text and Ryles other writings about the mind.

Course description

There will be a short reading assignment for each session of the course, taken from either The Concept of Mind, or one of Ryle’s other works. The tutor will start the session with a brief exposition and summary of the extract, and the class will then be encouraged to explore, critique and analyse Ryle’s ideas.

The Ordinary language tradition of which Ryle was a part attempted to defuse philosophical problems by showing the various ways in which they were often the result of misunderstandings about how language works and what we mean by what we say. With this is mind, Ryle develops a sustained assault on the assumptions about ourselves which were bequeathed to us by Descartes and all subsequent philosophy. Ryle is often accused of being little more than a Behaviourist about the mind, but his insights are subtle and extremely elegantly expressed, and it is not easy to dismiss him so easily. His work rewards closer study, and this course will be an opportunity for students to explore in depth one of the 20th centuries more interesting British thinkers.

What financial support is available?

We don't want anything to stand in your way when it comes to bringing Adult learning within reach so if you need anything to support you to achieve your goals then speak to one of our education experts during your enrolment journey. Most of our courses are government funded but if you don't qualify or need alternative financial help to access them then let us know.

What other support is available?

All of our digital content, teaching and learning activities and assessments are designed to be accessible so if you need any additional support you can discuss this with the education experts during your enrolment journey and we will do all we can to make sure you have optimal access.

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