Critical Notices/Etudes critiques

Ryle's Last Thoughts on Thinking

Thomas A. Goudgea1

a1 University of Toronto

Ten years ago in a Critical Notice of Ryle's Collected Papers (Dialogue 11/4 [1972], 600) I remarked that among its various essays those on the topic of thinking were the most impressive. There were half a dozen of them, written at intervals between 1951 and 1968. The puzzlement that provoked them went on unabated until the end of his life, as is shown by a posthumous collection of papers on the topic now published under the title On Thinking. They were all written after 1968, and one even appeared in print in 1976, the year of his death. The papers thus continue Ryle's dedicated, multi-faceted attack on what he regarded as an elusive multi-faceted problem. In this critical notice I shall comment on the last phase of a philosophical campaign of more than a quarter of a century and attempt an assessment of its upshot.