Daily Archives: June 26, 2012

WE ARE COMMITTING A CATEGORY ERROR

The philosopher Gilbert Ryle talks about the basic problem in human understanding.
He calls it the Category Error.
“When things of one kind are presented as if they belong to another.”
He blames this confusion on semantics.
He gives two examples to explain what he means.
In the first, imagine a student at Oxford being visited by her aunt.
The aunt asks to see the university.
The student shows her around the campus and the various buildings.
At the end of the tour, the aunt looks confused.
She says “I’ve seen the science building, the history building, the language building, the classics building, and the arts building. But where’s the university?”
Gilbert Ryle says the aunt is making a category error.
Confusing the physical with the conceptual.
He gives another example.

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