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Philosophy Assignment


Mind-Body problem is an important problem in philosophy. Descartes was philosopher

who said that mind and body are dependent on each other. That is why he is dualist philosopher
and he is one of the noteworthy dualist philosopher also. According to Descartes, there is relation
between mind and body. Whatever minds actions are, these actions are according to actions of
body. In dualism, both mind and material things are part of it. He also said that thinking is not a
physical process. Number of philosophers followed his theory but he also received criticism on
his theory of dualism and his theory is based on his important and famous quote
I think therefore I am,
This emphasize on merger of mind and body. On other hand Ryle criticized the theory of
Descartes by presenting his theory of logical behaviorism. According to Ryle, there are some
categorical mistakes in theory of Descartes.
The dualistic mind theory of Descartes is predominant among modern philosophers as
well as among laymen. According to Ryle, mind theory is an official theory and it has gained
acceptance from philosophers, psychologists and other people but there are some major
difficulties in the theory. These people think that these difficulties can be overcome without
doing any changes or modifications in the basic concept of the theory. He also said that there are
number of errors, conflicts and its principles are not sound. According to Descartes, every human
being has mind and body. But Ryle raised a point by saying, it is doubtful that infant and insane
have mind. According to Descartes no one can observe or know about others mental state or
what is going on his mind. Only the person who is possessing is able to know about his thoughts.
Ryle also criticized Descartes by saying that he had divided a persons life in to two parts
or halves. One of these half is external while the other is internal. The external half contains

things which are physical in nature like human body while internal half contains things which are
not tangible or physical. For example, mind, all the states, activities or processes of mind.
According to Ryle, the dualistic theory of Descartes is a metaphor. He emphasized on difficulties
about the influence of mind on body of a person.
According to Ryle, there are some categorical mistakes in theory of Descartes. Ryles
main aim is to prove the official theory false. He said that the whole theory is based on false
principles. He said that there are not small mistakes which combined but it is one bigger mistake
which he named as Category Mistake and this mistake is special mistake according to his views.
He explained category mistake that these mistakes are made by people who have ability and who
are competent to propose any idea or they can apply concepts. As John Chaffee said,
Everybody "thinks" - Homo sapiens means "thinking man" - but most people don't "think" very
So, Ryle said that they apply their concepts in areas which are irrelevant. He added that this
mistake come or arise when mental life is supposed to be in one category but it in reality belongs
to other. He said that he wants to describe the actual principles of mind and body relationship and
he want to rectify the false statements and principles of dualistic theory of Descartes. Ryle
explained this with number of example. We can elaborate this using a real life example. For
example, if you guide a person to bank and that person never went to any bank before. He is
shown all the departments, ATM room and all other sections but in the last if he ask you where is
bank. According to that person bank is like other institutions but he is wrong. Now this is a
categorical mistake because he is mistakenly trying to fit bank in different category by thinking
that bank is a separate building while it doesnt belong to that category.

Behaviorism belongs to physical behaviors which are also observable while the official theory
includes that both mind and body are separate tings but are dependent on each other. The
behavioral theory focuses on observable behaviors while the official theory emphasized on mind,
inner feelings and thoughts. For example, one while walking hit his foot accidentally and this
will cause pain also. Behaviorist will watch the behaviors that how that person is reacting by
judging his facial expressions and also by judging his behaviors with others. These all
observations can be right and accurate but behaviorist doesnt focus on the actual pain he is
suffering because that pain lies to only that person who has hit himself. They cannot access the
pain, one is suffering with. They can only judge that how one reacts while he or she is in pain.
So, I feel myself apart from the observable behaviors because these behaviors can only reflect
the reaction of a person not what is actually going on his her mind.