Ryle, Gilbert (1900–76)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-DD060-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved February 17, 2020, from

List of works

  • Ryle, G. (1971) Collected Papers, London: Hutchinson, 2 vols.

    (These two volumes comprise all the papers, except for a few very minor pieces, such as reviews and obituary notices, which Ryle published before 1971. Of the papers mentioned in the body of this entry (with their original dates of publication in brackets, but given here with the pagination of their most accessible form, in the Collected Papers) - namely ‘Negation’ (1929: 1–11), ‘Are There Propositions?’ (1930: 12–38), ‘Systematically Misleading Expressions’ (1932: 39–62), ‘Imaginary Objects’ (1933a: 63–81), ‘About’ (1933b: 82–4), ‘Internal Relations’ (1935: 85–100), ‘Plato’s Parmenides’ (1939: 1–44), ‘Review of F.M. Cornford: Plato and Parmenides’ (1939: 45–53), ‘Philosophical Arguments’ (1945: 194–211), ‘“If”, “So” and “Because”’ (1950a: 234–49), ‘Heterologicality’ (1950b: 250–7), ‘Thinking and Language’ (1951: 258–71), and ‘Ordinary Language’ (1953: 301–18) - all appear in volume 2, with the exception of the two papers on the Parmenides, which are reprinted in volume 1.)

  • Ryle, G. (1949) The Concept of Mind, London: Hutchinson.

    (In this, his magnum opus, Ryle sets out to dispel ‘The Cartesian Myth’ on account of which both philosophy and psychology since Descartes have been haunted by the distinction between the inner and outer world. Ryle makes explicit the traces of Cartesianism in traditional theories of will, feeling, imagination, perception and thought, and tries to obliterate those traces. In place of the myth, he proposes an alternative behaviouristic account of our mental vocabulary.)

  • Ryle, G. (1954) Dilemmas: The Tarner Lectures 1953, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    (Ryle sets out to resolve certain false dilemmas wherein the ordinary person’s account of the world or of their knowledge of it, in terms of, for example, the concepts of pleasure or motion or perception, is made to look as if it is opposed to and so inferior to some technical or scientific view of the world. These resolutions are a practical demonstration of Ryle’s view that many philosophical problems are just cases of conceptual confusion which can be dissolved by ‘systematic restatement’ through ‘the replacement of category habits by category disciplines’.)

  • Ryle, G. (1966) Plato’s Progress, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    (A provocative intellectual history of Plato, in which Ryle questions the accepted chronology of Plato’s dialogues and suggests that by and large they were composed for public recitation at the great Hellenic festivals. He also disputes whether Aristotle was in any meaningful sense ever a disciple of Plato.)

  • Ryle, G. (1979) On Thinking, ed. K. Kolenda, Oxford: Blackwell.

    (This collection of eight papers on topics of thinking encompasses most of Ryle’s papers which were published after his Collected Papers went to press. It also includes an interesting preface by Geoffrey Warnock as well as a very brief appendix, entitled ‘On Bouwsma’s Wittgenstein’.)

  • Ryle, G. (1993) Aspects of Mind - Gilbert Ryle, ed. R. Meyer, Oxford: Blackwell.

    (Includes some of Ryle’s previously unpublished ‘publishable’ papers, most of which were written between the late 1950s and the late 1960s. Among them is a paper on Plato’s Meno, a short piece tracing the development of Oxford Philosophy in the mid-century, a set of notes of Ryle’s lectures and a seminar taken by Meyer, and two tributes to Ryle. In his ‘Annotations’, Meyer mentions that ‘when he retired as Waynflete Professor of Magdalen College in 1967, Ryle donated his books and some papers to Linacre [College, Oxford]. The collection consists of about 1,100 books, some papers, rough notes and letters’.)

References and further reading

  • Lyons, W. (1980) Gilbert Ryle: An Introduction to His Philosophy, Brighton: Harvester Press, and Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press.

    (This is a critical introduction and guide, written for students, to the central themes in Ryle’s philosophical work. It contains also a short biographical chapter plus a bibliography of works which discuss topics in Ryle’s philosophy.)

  • Magee, B. (1971) ‘Conversation with Gilbert Ryle’, in Modern British Philosophy, London: Secker & Warburg.

    (This transcript of a conversation with Ryle about his own philosophical work is part of a book that originated in a series of conversations with contemporary British philosophers about their own or others’ work which were first broadcast on BBC radio during the winter of 1970–1.)

  • Passmore, J. (1957) A Hundred Years of Philosophy, London: Duckworth, ch. 18.

    (This chapter, entitled ‘Wittgenstein and Ordinary Language Philosophy’, rightly places considerable emphasis on the work of Ryle and in a very scholarly way places his work in context.)

  • Quinton, A.M. (1964) ‘Contemporary British Philosophy’, in A Critical History of Western Philosophy, ed. D.J. O’Connor, New York: The Free Press.

    (This extended essay gives a synoptic account of the period leading up to Ryle and of that in which Ryle flourished.)

  • Rée, J. (1993) ‘English Philosophy in the Fifties’, Radical Philosophy 63.

    (This essay covers much the same ground as Quinton (1964) but puts an interestingly different and more sceptical slant on things.)

  • Wood, O.P. and Pitcher, G. (1970) Ryle, Modern Studies in Philosophy series, ed. A. Rorty, London: Macmillan.

    (This is a large collection of articles and reviews on Ryle’s work and remains the best secondary source.)

Citing this article:
Lyons, William. Bibliography. Ryle, Gilbert (1900–76), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-DD060-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2020 Routledge.

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