Shaping our action space: A situated perspective on self-control


As part of our research project, we have launched ULTIMA (Utrecht Lectures on Topics In Mind and Action). This is a series of monthly lectures that will host some of the most important researchers in the philosophy of mind, the cognitive sciences, and the philosophy of action.

Our first upcoming talk will be:

What was Ryle’s “concept of mind”?

Speaker: Prof. Michael Kremer (University of Chicago)


Gilbert Ryle’s masterwork, The Concept of Mind, is often characterized as promoting a form of philosophical behaviorism which has been long superseded. I argue that Ryle’s concept of mind is both more interesting, and more alien to contemporary ways of thinking, than this caricature reveals. Fundamentally, Ryle can be said to think of the mind in Aristotelian terms, as the form of the life of a rational animal. Ryle brings into the philosophy of mind a range of phenomena often left to moral philosophers, namely qualities of character; and he treats as peripheral other phenomena taken as central in contemporary philosophy of mind, such as conscious experience, sensation, imagination, and dreams. I lay out some of the distinctive features of Ryle’s way of thinking about mindedness, and then investigate sources of his thinking: philosophical sources (Aristotle, Shaftesbury, Wittgenstein), literary sources (Austen), and sources in his practical experience (teaching in the Oxford tutorial system), arguing that these sources illuminate a distinctively Rylean concept of mind.

When: Tuesday April 23, 2024  (15.30 to 17.00)

Where: Janskerkhof 13, (room 0.06), Utrecht. Attendance is free but space is limited. Please, to attend send an e-mail to

*Online: This is a hybrid event. To attend online, please send an e-mail to