Functionalism

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2008)

Authors
Tom Polger
University of Cincinnati
Abstract
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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References found in this work BETA

Minds, Brains, and Programs.John R. Searle - 1980 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3 (3):417-57.
Epiphenomenal Qualia.Frank Jackson - 1982 - Philosophical Quarterly 32 (April):127-136.
Eliminative Materialism and the Propositional Attitudes.Paul M. Churchland - 1981 - Journal of Philosophy 78 (February):67-90.

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