What is functionalism?

In Donald M. Borchert (ed.), [Book Chapter]. MacMillan (1996)

Authors
Ned Block
New York University
Abstract
What is Functionalism? Functionalism is one of the major proposals that have been offered as solutions to the mind/body problem. Solutions to the mind/body problem usually try to answer questions such as: What is the ultimate nature of the mental? At the most general level, what makes a mental state mental? Or more specifically, What do thoughts have in common 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 found in a special mental substance. Behaviorism identified mental states with behavioral dispositions; physicalism in its most influential version identifies mental states with brain states. Functionalism says that mental states are constituted by their causal relations 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 much work in cognitive science
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On a Confusion About a Function of Consciousness.Ned Block - 1995 - Brain and Behavioral Sciences 18 (2):227-–247.
Being Perfect is Not Necessary for Being God.Jeanine Diller - 2019 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 11 (2):43-64.
Anti-Reductionism Slaps Back.Ned Block - 1997 - Noûs 31 (s11):107-132.

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