Philosophical Analysis in the Twentieth Century, Volume 1: The Dawn of Analysis and Volume 2: The Age of Meaning, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003). Together with many glowing reviews, these volumes are advertised by the publisher as (A) Winner of the 2003 Award for Best Professional/Scholarly Book in Philosophy, Association of American Publishers, and (B) as One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2004.
Scott Soames on Gilbert Ryle
Article first published online: 31 MAY 2013
© 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Volume 37, Issue 2, pages 113–129, April 2014
How to Cite
McDougall, D. A. (2014), Scott Soames on Gilbert Ryle. Philosophical Investigations, 37: 113–129. doi: 10.1111/phin.12022
Philosophical Analysis, p. 114.
- Issue published online: 10 MAR 2014
- Article first published online: 31 MAY 2013
In his exceptionally well-received history of analytic philosophy,1 Scott Soames presents accounts of the work of Wittgenstein and Ryle that rest on his acceptance of metaphysical preconceptions that these philosophers implicitly question in their writings. Their shared expressive third-person treatments of the mind, for example, serve to emphasise the inadequacy of Soames's distinction between private mental states and physical states/behaviour, which he regularly employs in assessing their views. His treatment of Gilbert Ryle in particular, reflects the radically different conceptions held by Ryle and Soames of the nature of philosophical investigation. Soames charges Ryle with a failure to recognise the distinction between the necessary and the analytic. He also harbours a clear understanding that philosophical problems arise naturally and directly from “our ordinary ways of thinking,”2 where these ways of thinking, the reader discovers, involve metaphysical preconceptions. This is at odds with Ryle's claim that certain category mistakes, playing the role, roughly, of Wittgenstein's misleading pictures, underlie some of the main problems of philosophy. The purpose of this paper is to assess how well Ryle, occasionally aided by Wittgenstein, can be seen to parry Soames's direct onslaught on his work in parts of Dilemmas and in The Concept of Mind.