The Ghost in the Machine

Front Cover
Arkana, 1989 - Philosophy - 384 pages
The phrase 'the ghost in the machine' was coined by Gilbert Ryle in his 1949 book The Concept of Mind, and was intended to point out the absurdity of traditional Cartesian mind-body dualism; presumably there was also an attempt to echo the phrase deus ex machina, or "god from the machine", i.e. an artificial solution to a complex problem. Koestler, in writing The Ghost in the Machine in 1967, appropriated Ryle's phrase, although he had a pretty low opinion of Ryle himself -- he dismissed him as a 'snickering' Oxford don with no knowledge of any of the sciences that would have given his ideas more weight. Ryle nevertheless had the philosopher's gift for analogy, and used a number of metaphors for the mind-body problem, all of which could have supplied titles: they included 'the sealed signal box', 'the two parallel theatres' and 'the horse in the locomotive'.

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mickeycat - LibraryThing

The Lay-Person’s: this book is incredible. It is fascinating, thought provoking, intriguing, and – from a perspective at the end of 2015 – the most frightening thing I have ever read. I will admit ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - br77rino - LibraryThing

Koestler begins by disparaging the idiocy of Behaviorist psychology, which views humans as nothing more than large rats or pigeons, condemned to mechanically responding to stimuli unthinkingly. He ... Read full review

Other editions - View all

About the author (1989)

Arthur Koestler was born on September 5, 1905 in Budapest, Hungary and studied at the University of Vienna. Koestler was a Middle East correspondent for several German newspapers, wrote for the Manchester Guardian, the London Times and the New York Herald Tribune. Koestler wrote Darkness at Noon, which centers on the destructiveness of politics, The Act of Creation, a book about creativity, and The Ghost in the Machine, which bravely attacks behaviorism. Arthur Koestler died in London on March 3, 1983.

Bibliographic information