category mistake

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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’.

Subjects: Psychology — Philosophy.

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