Monday, April 8, 2013

What is functionalism? Critically assess its main advantages and disadvantages.

Functionalism is one of the major proposals that have been offered as solutions to the mind/ dust problem. Solutions to the mind/body problem usu exclusivelyy try to do questions such as: What is the ultimate nature of the psychical? At the most general level, what makes a psychic state mental? Or more specifically, What do thoughts have in coarse in virtue of which they are thoughts? That is, what makes a thought a thought? What makes a pain a pain? Cartesian Dualism said the ultimate nature of the mental was to be base in a special mental substance. Behaviorism identify mental states with behavioral dispositions. Functionalism holds most simply, that mental states are learning ability states: that mental states are constituted by their causal dealings to one another and to sensory inputs and behavioral outputs. Functionalism is one of the major theoretical developments of Twentieth Century analytic philosophy, and provides the conceptual underpinnings of often work in cognitive science.

In more detail, functionalism is the view that the corporal realization of a functional component is not, in somewhat sense, its essence. Rather, what makes a functional component the type it is, is characterized in legal injury of its role in relating inputs to outputs and its relations to other functional components.

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Functionalism says that mental states are understood by their relations to (a) their sensory stimulant drug or input, (b) other inner states, and (c) their behavior effects. It is not a meterialistic theory, but can be seen as compatible with the tint of materialism. In Heils view, although immaterial substances like spirits, are conceiveable, in all probability, both substance is a material substance. So every property posesses by a substance is posesses by a material substance (1998 p.89). Although functionalists associate themselves with this idea of materialistic monoism, there is a dualism lurking beneath...

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