The Oxford Biblical Studies Online and Oxford Islamic Studies Online have retired. Content you previously purchased on Oxford Biblical Studies Online or Oxford Islamic Studies Online has now moved to Oxford Reference, Oxford Handbooks Online, Oxford Scholarship Online, or What Everyone Needs to Know®. For information on how to continue to view articles visit the subscriber services page.

Related Content

Related Overviews


Gilbert Ryle (1900—1976) philosopher




More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Science and technology
  • Psychology


Show Summary Details


category mistake

Quick Reference

A statement about something that belongs to one category but is intelligible only of something belonging to another category, as when the mind is referred to as if it were a physical entity. The concept was introduced by the English philosopher Gilbert Ryle (1900–76) on page 17 of his book The Concept of Mind (1949), where he used the example of someone who can see a university library, lecture halls, and other university buildings but wonders where the university is. Ryle described Cartesian dualism as the dogma of ‘the ghost in the machine’.

Reference entries