Gilbert Ryle’s Understanding of Method

Gilbert Ryle’s Understanding of Method

June 27, 2021 Off By Felso

Although Ryle initially wrote articles on phenomenology under the influence of Husserl and Heidegger, he turned to analytical philosophy after meeting the philosophy of Wittgenstein. He had the chance to closely follow the emergence and development of the logical atomism movement, but the philosophy method of the representatives of the movement did not attract him much.

As is known, logical positivism, which is a branch of analytical philosophy, tried to create a factual philosophy, a logical positivism, based on Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico Philosophicus. Here, the philosophy method, based on the discussion of painting theory and special language, appears as a movement to reduce philosophy to the analysis of this special language by making the analysis of propositions in terms of this special language. However, Ryle adopts the use of daily language as a method against private language and attempts a language analysis based on this daily language usage. Metaphysics, which the logical positivists try to distance from philosophy on the grounds that it does not correspond to the phenomenon, will be accepted as a field of disposition or tendency for Ryle. The philosopher, who is also a professor of metaphysics, distanced himself from the monopolistic ideas of anti-metaphysical philosophers and tried to adopt a unique philosophical method. Ryle sought to philosophize through conceptual analysis, as opposed to the logical analysis of the logical positivists. Demonstrating the differences between concepts is very important to Ryle.

The philosopher, who does not hesitate to criticize the modern logic, which he finds very abstract and formal, argues that this logic approaches the propositions with a dry point of view detached from the content, whereas what is called the logical form of the proposition is what is determined through the content. Two propositions with the same logical structure do not have the same logical form unless the concepts they link are in the same category. So the determination of the categories will be possible by making an a priori list of them. Although he always felt the influence of the Tractatus, Ryle, who never accepted private language, never accepted some of the ideas this book put forward. In particular, the fact that the facts determined the limits of the language and reduced the world to the facts was a situation that showed the dominance of the private language, which the philosopher objected from the very beginning. Ryle’s philosophy, which shows a progression from phenomenology to language analysis, was originally shaped by the views put forward by Wittgenstein in his second period, that is, by a method that allows the application of everyday language to philosophy. According to the philosopher, the task of philosophy is to reveal the errors of expression in false philosophical systems and absurd theories and to correct them.

Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook