A Darwinian approach to functionalism

I argue against the claim of certain functionalists, like Jerry Fodor, that theories of psychological states ought to abstract from the physiology of the systems that exhibit such states. Taking seriously Darwin’s claim that living organisms struggle to survive, and that their “mental powers” are adaptations that assist them in this struggle, I argue that not only emotions but also paradigm cognitive states like beliefs are intimately bound up with the physiology of the organism and its efforts to maintain its own well-being. I defend the definitional aspirations of functionalism but reject its attempt at ontological neutrality
Keywords Cognition  Darwinism  Functionalism  Metaphysics  Physiology
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.5840/jpr_1991_29
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 22,720
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Paul M. Livingston (2005). Functionalism and Logical Analysis. In David Woodruff Smith & Amie L. Thomasson (eds.), Phenomenology and Philosophy of Mind. Oxford: Clarendon Press 19.
Hanoch Ben-Yami (1999). An Argument Against Functionalism. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 77 (3):320-324.
Alan Weir (2001). More Trouble for Functionalism. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 101 (3):267-293.
Gualtiero Piccinini (2004). Functionalism, Computationalism, & Mental States. Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science 35 (4):811-833.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

25 ( #168,362 of 1,937,259 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

9 ( #61,972 of 1,937,259 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.