Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2008)

Tom Polger
University of Cincinnati
Saying that psychological states are functional states, the functionalist claims more than that psychological states have functions. Rather, functionalism is the theory that psychological states are defined and constituted by their functions. On this view, what it is to be a psychological state of a certain sort just is and consists entirely of having a certain function. Anything that has that function in a suitable system would therefore be that psychological state. If storing information for later use is the essential function of memory, then anything that has that function counts as a memory. Similarly, one might say that anything that traps or kills mice counts as a mouse trap
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Minds, Brains, and Programs.John R. Searle - 1980 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3 (3):417-57.

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