Role Functionalism and Epiphenomenalism

Philosophia 39 (3):511-525 (2011)
The type-type reductive identity of the mental to the physical was once the dominant position in the mental causation debate. In time this consensus was overturned, largely due to its inability to handle the problem of multiple realizability. In its place a nonreductive position emerged which often included an adherence to functionalism. Functionalism construes mental properties as functional states of an organism, which in turn have specific physical realizers. This nonreductive form of functionalism, henceforth called role functionalism, has faced a number of criticisms itself. Chief among these is the concern that the realizer of the functional role is causally sufficient, so the role property does not make a contribution of its own. In this paper I argue that there is a way for unreduced functional properties to play a role after all. This is done by conceiving of functional properties as higher level functional properties of a macro system which determine that its realizers will play the roles that they play
Keywords Functionalism  Epiphenomenalism  Nonreductive physicalism  Causal exclusion  Mental causation
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References found in this work BETA
Karen Bennett (2007). Mental Causation. Philosophy Compass 2 (2):316–337.
Tyler Burge (1993). Mind-Body Causation and Explanatory Practice. In John Heil & Alfred R. Mele (eds.), Mental Causation. Oxford University Press
Tim Crane (1995). The Mental Causation Debate. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 69:211-36.

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