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
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DOI 10.5840/jpr_1991_29
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