Four Concepts Of Physicalism And Functionalism

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Regarding the relationship between the body and the mind, people cannot avoid two important philosophy concepts:, Physicalism, and Functionalism. Physicalism believes that the only substance exist is physical. Functionalism suggests that mental states are the internal cause of behavior.(Braddon-Mitchell&jackson p41). In this paper, I will mainly discuss four perspectives about Physicalism, Functionalism and the argument “ What is it like to be”. First, what’s Physicalism? Second, the problem that“ What is it to be” argument by Thomas Nagel poses on Physicalism. Third, what’s the main idea of Functionalism in the philosophy of mind. Fourth, How functionalists(also Physicalism) response to the Nagel’s argument. First, What’s Physicalism? Physicalism …show more content…
For example, the experience to taste a sweet ice-cream, to fall in love with someone, to see red, and to smell rose. However, Qualia actually poses a problem on Physicalism. Actually, Qualia is the phenomenally consciousness that people feel about their experience. Every person has his/her own way to feel about things. It largely depends on everyone’s life experience, education background, even age, occupation and gender. Moreover, as a phenomenally consciousness, Qualia must contain subjective point of view. By contrast, Physical facts are all objective. As a result, we cannot use physical facts to explain the consciousness. The same for the argument “ What is it to be” by Thomas Nagel. Nagel chose bat as the analyzing subjects. The reason why he chose bats is that bats are mammals, which have both experience and subjective points of view. Nagel argues that human-being can never imagine what is it like to be bat as bats, Although human-beings and bats both have experience and conciseness. First, When a person think about what is it like to be a bat, he/she need to use imagination. Imagination are all base on individual’s subjective experience. As a result, human-beings cannot fully imagine what is it to be like bats when they only have limited resources for …show more content…
Actually, Functionalism is a version of physicalism. Thus, Functionalism also believe that everything in this world is physical. Moreover, mental states are the the internal states that cause behavior. In functionalism, there is a connection between the mind and the body. Subject S has a mental state M if and only if S occupied some internal states or other that caused S to exhibit Behavior B1, B2, B3, etc. If he receive input I1, I2, I3 and etc. In another word, A person receive a input(for example, sensory stimulant), he/she will have a particular mental state. And the mental state causes this person to exhibit certain behaviors. To further illustrate the main idea of functionalism, I want to compare the functionalism with mind-body identity theory. Although functionalism is compatible with the identity theory, they actually have different ways to connect the body and the mind. According to the identity theory, mental states are realized by brain states. In another word, every mental state corresponding brain states. By contrast, the mental states actually play a casual role to connect the input and output in functionalism. For example, to define the pain, a theorist of identity theory will states that pain= C-fibers firing. On the contrast, a functionalist will describe pain in a totally different way. If a person has cut on the finger, the brain will have a mental state of pain, and then the person

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