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5 Cards in this Set

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What is functionalism?
The doctrine that what makes something a thought, desire, pain (or an other type of mental state) depends not on its internal constution, but solely on it's FUNCTION...

The identity of a mental state is determined by its causal relations to sensory simutations, other mental states, and behavior.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
What philosophers have held the position of functionalism?
William Lycan
(Source: How is My Mind Connected to My Body? handout)

Wilfrid Sellar, Hilary Putnam
(Source: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
Identify and apply the features of functionalism... Example 1
Let's say a space monster and I both drop hammers on our foot.
-The pain in my foot may be caused by the thalamus in my brain.
-The pain in his foot may be caused by anything... let's say it's called the Googlygook.

All that matters is that we have both jump up and down screaming, not our internal states. Whatever state is caused in either of us, it is PAIN.
Identify and apply the features of functionalism... Example 2
Mental states are individuated much like a valve; a valve can be made of plastic or metal or whatever material, so long as it performs the proper function (say, controlling the flow of liquid through a tube by blocking and unblocking its pathway).
Problem with Functionalism...

A problem is that any approach that ignores the biological stuff of an organism cannot genuinely explain the organism.

Searle says a computer cannot think or have feelings.. The best it can do is behave AS THOUGH it has feelings. Think, Chinese Room Experiment..