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Logical behaviorism

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An Honest Ghost?, A. J. Ayer Jan 1970

An Honest Ghost?, A. J. Ayer

Philosophic Exchange

Gilbert Ryle’s The Concept of Mind purports to exorcise “the ghost in the machine” by translating all talk about the mind into talk about behavior, and sometimes Ryle asserts that he has succeeded in this endeavor. However, on closer inspection, there is still a residue of our private, mental lives left in Ryle’s account. So the ghost remains. But perhaps it is a more honest ghost, and that is still quite an achievement.


Professor Ayer’S Honest Ghost, Justus Hartnack Jan 1970

Professor Ayer’S Honest Ghost, Justus Hartnack

Philosophic Exchange

Professor Ayer is right that Ryle’s strongest thesis is incorrect. However, I do not agree with all of Ayer’s arguments for that conclusion. I also wish that Professor Ayer had examined some other mental concepts, which also seem to resist any kind of behaviorist reduction.


Response To Professor A. J. Ayer, Richard Taylor Jan 1970

Response To Professor A. J. Ayer, Richard Taylor

Philosophic Exchange

Professor Ryle does not deny the common distinction between inner and outer, nor that between public and private. What he denies is that either of these distinctions entail a third distinction – between minds and bodies. As far as I can tell, Professor Ayer has not shown that Ryle is mistaken about that.