The Ghost in the Machine

The Ghost In The Machine by Arthur Koestler is a non-fiction work in philosophical psychology published in 1967.


The title is a phrase coined by the Oxford philosopher Gilbert Ryle to describe the Cartesian dualist account of the mind/body relationship.

Koestler shares with Ryle the view that the mind of a person is not an independent non-material entity, temporarily inhabiting and governing the body. One of the book’s central concepts is that as the human brain evolved, it retained and built upon earlier, more primitive brain structures.

The work attempts to explain man’s tendency towards self-destruction in terms of brain structure, philosophies, and its overarching, cyclical political-historical dynamics, reaching the height of its potential in the nuclear arms arena.