David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophical Psychology 2 (3):271-82 (1990)
Functionalism, the philosophical theory that defines mental states in terms of their causal relations to stimuli, overt behaviour, and other inner mental states, has often been accused of being unable to account for the qualitative character of our experimential states. Many times such objections to functionalism take the form of conceivability arguments. One is asked to imagine situations where organisms who are in a functional state that is claimed to be a particular experience either have the qualitative character of that experience altered or absent altogether. Many of these arguments are surprisingly advanced by materialist philosophers. I argue that if the conceivability arguments were successful against functionalism, then they would be successful against their alternative materialist views as well. So the conceivability arguments alone do not provide a good reason for materialists to abandon functionalism. I further argue that functionalism is best understood to be an empirical theory, and if it is so understood then the conceivability arguments have no force against it at all. A further consequence that emerges is that on an empirical functionalist view, qualia, if real, are properties in the domain of psychology
|Keywords||Functionalism Materialism Mental States Metaphysics|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
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
Ned Block & Jerry A. Fodor (1972). What Psychological States Are Not. Philosophical Review 81 (April):159-81.
Paul M. Churchland (1981). Eliminative Materialism and the Propositional Attitudes. Journal of Philosophy 78 (February):67-90.
George Graham & G. Lynn Stephens (1985). Are Qualia a Pain in the Neck for Functionalists? American Philosophical Quarterly 22 (January):73-80.
Christopher S. Hill (1984). In Defense of Type Materialism. Synthese 59 (June):295-320.
H. Jacoby (1985). Eliminativism, Meaning, and Qualitative States. Philosophical Studies 47 (March):257-70.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Brian P. Mclaughlin (2006). Is Role-Functionalism Committed to Epiphenomenalism? Journal of Consciousness Studies 13 (1-2):39-66.
Alan Weir (2001). More Trouble for Functionalism. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 101 (3):267-293.
Sydney Shoemaker (1981). Some Varieties of Functionalism. Philosophical Topics 12 (1):93-119.
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.
Gualtiero Piccinini (2004). Functionalism, Computationalism, & Mental States. Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science 35 (4):811-833.
Janet Levin (1985). Functionalism and the Argument From Conceivability. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 11:85-104.
Irwin Goldstein (1994). Identifying Mental States: A Celebrated Hypothesis Refuted. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 72 (1):46-62.
Janet Levin (1991). Analytic Functionalism and the Reduction of Phenomenal States. Philosophical Studies 61 (March):211-38.
Stephen L. White (1986). Curse of the Qualia. Synthese 68 (August):333-68.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads38 ( #53,010 of 1,410,079 )
Recent downloads (6 months)8 ( #28,555 of 1,410,079 )
How can I increase my downloads?