Department of Philosophy

Julia Tanney: Ryle on Thinking - A Peg for Some Thoughts

Dr Julia Tanney, Reader in Philosophy of Mind and Head of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Kent will visit the Department of Philosophy in Bergen the last week of September. She will give two guest lectures during her stay, on the 23rd and 25th.

Julia Tanney
University of Kent

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This is the title of her lecture:

"Ryle on Thinking:  A Peg for Some Thoughts"


In a 1970s BBC radio series featuring discussions with influential philosophers of the day, the host, Bryan Magee asked Gilbert Ryle if his work on thinking, which he had begun in earnest the year after the publication of The Concept of Mind and was still in train twenty years later, would reveal its fruits in a forthcoming book.  Ryle’s response was that though he had collected various items – a hat, a cap, a mackintosh, a scarf, and a few other things – he had not yet found a peg on which to hang them.  Ryle died in 1976 without a book-length treatment and, indeed, without a particular peg which would tie together the several nuanced and detailed observations that his survey of the landscape occupied by the concept of thought and thinking reveals. In what follows, motivated by my own interests in bringing Ryle’s arguments to bear on contemporary theorizing, I have forged my own peg upon which to hang some of the items he collected, and in a way, incidentally, which reveals their similarity with those assembled by the later Wittgenstein.