more from Gilbert Ryle

Single Idea 2622

[catalogued under 15. Nature of Minds / A. Nature of Mind / 3. Mental Causation]

Full Idea

The dogma of the Ghost in the Machine maintains that there exist both minds and bodies; that there are mechanical causes of corporeal movements, and mental causes of corporeal movements.


The 'Ghost in the Machine' idea is Cartesian dualism about mind and body

Gist of Idea

Can one movement have a mental and physical cause?


Gilbert Ryle (The Concept of Mind [1949], I (3))

Book Reference

Ryle,Gilbert: 'The Concept of Mind' [Penguin 1949], p.23

A Reaction

This nicely identifies the problem of double causation, which can be found in Spinoza (Idea 4862). The dualists have certainly got a problem here, but they can deny a conflict. The initiation of a hand movement is not mechanical at all.

Related Idea

Idea 4862 Can the pineal gland be moved more slowly or quickly by the mind than by animal spirits? [Spinoza on Descartes]