Narrow taxonomy and wide functionalism

Philosophy of Science 52 (March):78-97 (1985)
Three recent, influential critiques (Stich 1978; Fodor 1981c; Block 1980) have argued that various tasks on the agenda for computational psychology put conflicting pressures on its theoretical constructs. Unless something is done, the inevitable result will be confusion or outright incoherence. Stich, Fodor, and Block present different versions of this worry and each proposes a different remedy. Stich wants the central notion of belief to be jettisoned if it cannot be shown to be sound. Fodor tries to reduce confusion in computational psychology by dismissing some putative tasks as impossible. Block argues that the widespread faith in functionalism is just not warranted. I argue that all these critiques are misguided because they depend on holding cognitive psychology to taxonomic standards that other sciences routinely rise above
Keywords Computational Complexity  Mental States  Psychology  Science  Taxonomy  Block, N
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DOI 10.1086/289223
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Gary Hatfield (1988). Representation and Content in Some (Actual) Theories of Perception. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 19 (2):175-214.
Lynne Rudder Baker (1985). A Farewell to Functionalism. Philosophical Studies 48 (July):1-14.

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