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Classical Readings: Gilbert Ryle (with tutorials)


Admission requirements

Admission to this course is restricted to first-year BA students in Philosophy who have been enrolled in the BA Plus-traject.
h3. Description

The course consists in a continuous reading of Gilbert Ryle’s (1949) The Concept of Mind with specific emphasis on key passages and particular emphasis on the origins and legacy of Ryle’s argumentation.
h3. Course objectives

This course aims to introduce the students to Gilbert Ryle’s logical behaviourism by a thorough analysis of his 1949 classical text in analytic philosophy The Concept of Mind.

Students who successfully complete the course will have a good understanding of:

  • The ideas behind logical behaviourist movement against classical cognitivist movements in philosophy;

  • the details of Gilbert Ryle’s approach to analyzing aspects of mind such as knowing-how, self-knowledge, emotion and imagination;

  • Rylean methodology based on conceptual analysis of everyday use of language;
    the notion of a ‘category mistake’ and the dispositional account of the mind;

  • the relation between Ryle and some major figures of the history of Philosophy (Descartes, Hume, Wittgenstein).

    Students who successfully complete the course will be able to: - critically engage with and thoroughly examine Ryle’s ideas by discussing the chapters in the seminars;

  • compare and evaluate Ryle’s ideas to modern approaches to understanding mind in the student presentations during the tutorials;

  • defend well-reasoned positions on the questions covered in the course in writing.


See Collegeroosters Wijsbegeerte 2015-2016 BA Wijsbegeerte (Plustraject), first year (propedeuse), semester 2.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminars: 2 hours

  • Tutorials: 2 hours

Class attendance on both seminars and tutorials is required to pass the course. No more than two seminar and two tutorial sessions can be missed to pass the course. Should you miss more, consult with the instructor on how to compensate for the missed sessions.

Course Load

Total course load: 5 EC x 28 hrs = 140 hours

  • Attending seminars: (14 weeks x 2 hrs): 28 hours

  • Attending tutorials: (12 weeks x 2 hrs): 24 hours

  • Reading (14 weeks x ca. 20 pages): 60 hours

  • Time to write three papers: 24 hours

  • Time to prepare group presentation: 4 hours

Assessment method

  • Two short (1000 word) papers during the semester, worth 25% each (50%)

  • One longer (1500 word) paper during final exam period (35%)

  • One group presentation during tutorial (15%)


The resit consists of a revision of all three papers. The resit covers the entire course content and the mark will replace previously earned marks for subtests. Students who have obtained a satisfactory grade for the first examinations cannot take the resit.


We will use Blackboard for posting texts, general information documents (syllabus etc), assignments and updates.

Reading list


  • Gilbert Ryle, The Concept of Mind. 60th Anniversary Edition. Routledge, 1949/2009. PDF copy available for free at

  • Additional reading material will be available via Blackboard.

Useful reading

  • Gilbert Ryle. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Posted by Tanney, 2015.

  • Lyons, William E. Gilbert Ryle: An Introduction to His Philosophy. (1980).

  • Wittgenstein, Ludwig. Philosophical Investigations. John Wiley & Sons, 2010.


Please register for this course via Study administration system uSis
See also Inschrijven voor cursussen en tentamens

Students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the timetable in the column under the heading “”.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Mw. Dr. Z. Rucinska