Functionalism Essay

Functionalism Essay

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Theories have been composed and exposed by various philosophers to clarify their reasoning about the mind. Dualism, Behaviorism, and Identity Theory, are well-known theories supported by well-written explanations. A modern theory, Functionalism provides ample insight to the main problem philosophers deal with, the mind/body problem.
Functionalism was developed as a combination of the Behaviorist theory and the Identity theory. Behaviorism believes being in a mental state is the same as a physical state, which is a noticeable behavioral characteristic. For instance, if one claims they are unhappy, there physical state could include a frowning display or inappropriate posture. On the other hand, the Identity Theory suggests when one experiences something; there is a corresponding neurological condition. The error with these two theories is Behaviorism fails to incorporate mental states but attempts to by saying the mental state is the observable behavior (Southwell). However, different behaviors can arise from the same stimuli and different stimuli can initiate the same reaction. The Identity Theory is incorrect because it is claims the mental and brain states are identical, however, that claim is presumably false (Garth).
Functionalism includes elements from both theories to explain reasons and builds upon both of there ideas. The view of Functionalism can be defined as mental states that are established by their functional role; meaning the mental states and its relationship to other mental states, sensory inputs and behavioral outputs (Levin). In the article “Functionalism” by Ned Block, he illustrates this concept through a machine by detecting an even or odd number of 1’s. This system has two states, S1 and S2; one input,...


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Works Cited

Levin, Janet, "Functionalism", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2010 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = .

Southwell, Gareth. "Philosophy of Mind - Behaviourism - Introduction." Rescources, Reviews, Discussion, and Books for Students and General Readers Interested in Philosophy - Philosophy Online. 2000. Web. 17 Nov. 2011. .

Chalmers, David. "Absent Qualia, Fading Qualia, Dancing Qualia." David Chalmers. Conscious Experience. Web. 17 Nov. 2011. .

Cole, David, "The Chinese Room Argument", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2009 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = .

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