Behaviourism And Functionalism

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The way we as humans think and behave can be (and has been) traced down to two main ontologies: behaviorism and functionalism. Where behaviorism tends to focus on a being’s reaction to a certain stimulus (the way one would react to a sad movie, for example), functionalism can be defined as the focus on a reaction of the reaction. The consequence of a pain (stimulus) and its relation to other mental states is where functionalists tend to concentrate their theories.
“Where the behaviorist hoped to define each type of mental state solely in terms of environmental input and behavioral output, the functionalist denies that this is possible” (335). Behaviorism’s focus on the single most blatant behavioral response has slowly been outrun in popularity
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We both may be experiencing a multitude of various brain states, but can we as individuals be identical within? Qualia states that there is no way to possibly know how others’ brains are reacting (I cannot be inside your body to feel precisely what you feel and experience just as you cannot be inside mine) and therefore there are holes in the functionalism theory.
Yes, for the most part countless people accept functionalism as a truth and its dominance among current philosophers proves its undeniable popularity. But that does not have any effect on the validity of a functionalist’s ontology. As a result, the concept of eliminative materialism must be brought to attention. Before eliminative materialism is further discussed, however, please note the term “folk psychology” should be defined as the popular common thought among a certain people.
An eliminative materialist would claim folk psychology to be “an incomplete representation of our inner natures, it is an outright misrepresentation of our internal states” (339). Historically, our common sense and group beliefs have been proven false time and time again. Thus, we cannot simply trust our own beliefs and core societal folklore to be innately true. As our folk psychology does not leave much room for common questioning, an eliminative materialist warns us against automatic trust in the communal
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And this is what eliminative materialism wishes to highlight in functionalist or identity theory models. We as a society do not have the understanding yet to know (for fact) why beings need sleep or what mental illness is. We haven’t the faintest concrete clue of how memory works or how to cure the mentally ill. These are all common mysteries of our time and as we are not yet capable of knowing it all our advancement is hindered. But! Once we understand how to understand, our quality of life will improve and we will be able to move forward to a new era of ontology. (341) By revolutionizing a way of thought, eliminative materialism questions the validity of concepts like the identity theory or functionalism.
At the end of the day though, confirmation bias is extreme in humans, meaning: we see what we want. Eliminative materialists’ observations are only as true as their interpretations. (342) This brings a happy medium of sorts to the approach of the inevitable need for a functionalist ontology to be improved upon (or perhaps gone away with completely). Maybe common belief does not need to be completely replaced – merely

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