Functionalism a viable materialist philosophy essay

For example, early identity theorists e. Clearly, the issues here mirror the issues regarding the individuation of intentional states discussed in the previous section. See also Bird,and Latham,for further discussion. These states are not mere behavioral dispositions, since they are specified in terms of their relations not only to inputs and outputs, but also to the state of the machine at the time.

But as many psychologists and others, e. There is one final strategy for defending a functionalist account of qualitative states against all of these objections, namely, eliminativism Dennett ; ReyFrankish, See Gendler,and Schwitzgebel, Putnam take the proper model for the mind to be that of a probabilistic automaton: See Staffel,and the many contributions to Huber and Schmidt-Petri,and Ebert and Smith,for further discussion.

However, if there are differences in the physical states that satisfy the functional definitions in different actual or hypothetical creatures, such theories—like most versions of the identity theory—would violate a key motivation for functionalism, namely, that creatures with states that play the same role in the production of other mental states and behavior possess, literally, the same mental states.

This is not to say, these theorists stress, that there are no causes, or empirical laws of, behavior. Pain is the Functionalism a viable materialist philosophy essay that tends to be caused by bodily injury, to produce the belief that something is wrong with the body and the desire to be out of that state, to produce anxiety, and, in the absence of any stronger, conflicting desires, to cause wincing or moaning.

In dependently of these questions, functionalists need to say more outright or not about what makes a state a particular belief outright or not or desire, for example, the belief — or desire — that it will snow tomorrow.

See ChalmersHolman, for criticism of this view, but see the responses of Loarand Hill and McLaughlinBalog,Levin,forthcoming, Diaz-Leon,; see also see Levin, and Shroer,for the presentation, if not endorsement, of a hybrid view.

In terms of schooling in the US, educational institutions serve as the primary educating sector for the population.

Functionalism in Philosophy of the Mind

Another account of introspection, identified most closely with Shoemaker a,b,c,dis that the immediacy of introspective belief follows from the fact that occurrent mental states and our introspective beliefs about them are functionally interdefined.

It can be argued that the functionalist theory has made a significant contribution to the study of society. Just as the form of an axe is whatever enables it to cut, and the form of an eye is whatever enables it to see, the human soul is to be identified with whichever powers and capacities enable a natural, organized human body to fulfill its defining function, which, according to Aristotle, is to survive and flourish as a living, acting, perceiving, and reasoning being.

Similarly, it is assumed that humans, in analogous experimental situations, want to cooperate with the experimenters, and understand and know how to follow the instructions.

There are limits to this strategy, however see Section 5. However, this problem may not be as dire as it seems. QuineRey Similar conclusions, they contend, can be drawn for all cases of belief and other intentional states regarding natural kinds.

Computer functionalism, which is the moniker by which functionalist theories based on computation are known, is quite appealing because it provides a basis for modeling the mind and brain activity as a kind of computation and it allows the substantial theoretical framework of computer science to be applied to cognitive neuroscience and cognitive psychology.


In contemporary Australian society, a good understanding of this is needed in order to make better social changes to meet social needs. Analogous characterizations, of course, will have to be given of these other color experiences.

And similarly for all mental states and processes invoked by cognitive psychological theories. Perhaps there is a way to specify sensory stimulations that abstracts from the specifics of human neural structure enough to include any possible creature that intuitively seems to share our mental states, but is sufficiently concrete to rule out entities that are clearly not cognitive systems such as the economy of Bolivia; see Block b.

See Tyefor a summary of the pros and cons of this position; for further discussion, see the essays in Ludlow, Nagasawa, and Stoljar Such claims could be affirmed, however, if as seems likely the most plausible functional theories define sensations such as pain in terms of a small subset of their distinctive psychological, rather than behavioral, effects see section 4.

One could counter the charge of chauvinism, of course, by suggesting that all creatures with lower-level states that satisfy a given functional characterization possess a common lower-level disjunctive state or property. Nonetheless, although many functionalists argue that the considerations discussed above show that there is no in principle bar to a functionalist theory that has empirical force, these worries about the normativity of intentional ascription continue to fuel skepticism about functionalism and, for that matter, any scientific theory of the mind that uses intentional notions.

Following Marx and Weber were three midth century conflict theorists: The main function of schooling is to promote the total… Philosophy of Mind Since centuries, our philosophers have been trying to unravel mysteries of our memory, thought processes, different emotions, will power and imaginations culminating into what is known as different intellectual and conscious part of our personality.

Smart argued that it makes perfect sense and may well be true to identify pain with C-fiber stimulation. Broadly speaking, there are two dominant views of the matter but see PeacockeCh. There has been significant skepticism, however, about whether any functionalist theory — analytic or scientific — can capture what seems to be the distinctive qualitative character of experiential states such as color perceptions, pains, and other bodily sensations; these questions will be addressed in section 5.

A different line of response to this worry Shoemaker d, is to deny the Humean account of causation altogether, and contend that causal relations are themselves metaphysically necessary, but this remains a minority view.

An important — and enduring — objection to this argument, however, was raised early on by Max Black reported in Smart This may seem to be an unmitigated advantage, since psycho-functional theories can avail themselves of all the tools of inquiry available to scientific psychology, and will presumably make all, and only, the distinctions that are scientifically sound.

Philosophy Functionalism - Essay Example

Antony and Levine have responded by suggesting that, though mental states may be defined in terms of some of their effects, they have other effects that do not follow from those definitions which can figure into causal generalizations that are contingent, informative, and true.

Readers may be interested to read a little more about the idea of functionalism.Mind Philosophy Philosophy of mind. Amy Tan and Functionalism.

Functionalism Essay Examples

This essay will explore the real life of Amy Tan and the translation of her life through her large body of work. The research will not only involve biographical information but quotes from her books as they relate to her life and the influence of Asian culture on those works as well.

The theory of functionalism is the oldest, and may also be the most dominant theoretical perspective of sociology. Functionalism agrees that brain states are responsible for mental states, but disagrees that they tend to be identical to each other.

Functionalism is a materialist stance in the philosophy of mind that argues that mental states are purely functional, and thus categorized by their input and output associations and causes, rather than by the physical makeup that constitutes its parts. Functionalism in the philosophy of mind is the doctrine that what makes something a mental state of a particular type does not depend on its internal constitution, but rather on the way it functions, or the role it plays, in the system of which it is a part.

Functionalism has divided philosophers, and presented below are three of the main arguments against the validity of Functionalism, and these will demonstrate that as a theory of mind, although compelling and thought provoking, Functionalism is ultimately not viable.

With the eclipse of behaviorism and identity theory in philosophy of the mind, functionalism has become perhaps the dominant perspective in philosophy of the mind for philosophers and neuroscientists with a materialist perspective.

Functionalism a viable materialist philosophy essay
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