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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Broad, Ryle, and Dennett : a discussion of important changes in twentieth-century philosophy of mind Fort, Kevin


In my thesis I discuss and criticize the work of three important philosophers: CD. Broad, Gilbert Ryle, and D.C. Dennett. These three figures serve as reference points, allowing me to frame the discussion of my view that there is an emerging tradition in contemporary philosophy of mind, a tradition which has its roots in the philosophical views of Gilbert Ryle. I'll show that CD. Broad belongs to an older school of thought, one which Ryle opposes both explicitly and implicitly. Daniel Dennett, a contemporary philosopher, was deeply influenced by Ryle, and I believe that he is the most important flag bearer for this new way of thinking about the mind. He has also made some substantive contributions and amendments to this emerging paradigm. Upon examination, we can see that proponents of this new view oppose any form of Cartesianism and deny that we have an pre-linguistic intuitions. These philosophers are apt to give accounts of the mind and mental terms which not only deny the mind status as a substance, but also claim that mental terms don't refer to events and processes at all. A view called Emergentism, endorsed by Broad, is rejected by thinkers such as Ryle and Dennett, but I'll show that there is a distinct form of emergentism (one which is less philosophically problematic) which forms a vital part of the new tradition.

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