Levin (Janet)
Source: Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract1

  1. Functionalism in the philosophy of mind is the doctrine that what makes something a mental state of a particular type does not depend on its internal constitution, but rather on the way it functions, or the role it plays, in the system of which it is a part. This doctrine is rooted in Aristotle's conception of the soul, and has antecedents in Hobbes's conception of the mind as a “calculating machine”, but it has become fully articulated (and popularly endorsed) only in the last third of the 20th century. Though the term ‘functionalism’ is used to designate a variety of positions in a variety of other disciplines, including psychology, sociology, economics, and architecture, this entry focuses exclusively on functionalism as a philosophical thesis about the nature of mental states.
  2. The following sections will trace the intellectual antecedents of contemporary functionalism, sketch the different types of functionalist theories, and discuss the most serious objections to them.

  1. What is Functionalism?
  2. Antecedents of Functionalism
    • 2.1 Early Antecedents
    • 2.2 Thinking Machines and the “Turing Test”
    • 2.3 Behaviorism
  3. Varieties of Functionalism
    • 3.1 Machine State Functionalism
    • 3.2 Psycho-Functionalism
    • 3.3 Analytic Functionalism
    • 3.4 Role-functionalism and Realizer-functionalism
  4. Constructing Plausible Functional Theories
    • 4.1 Functional Definitions and Ramsey-sentences
    • 4.2 Characterizing Experiential States
    • 4.3 Characterizing Intentional States
    • 4.4 Characterizing the Inputs and Outputs of a System
  5. Objections to Functionalism
    • 5.1 Functionalism and Holism
    • 5.2 Functionalism and Mental Causation2
    • 5.3 Functionalism and Introspective Belief
    • 5.4 Functionalism and the Norms of Reason
    • 5.5 Functionalism and the Problem of Qualia
      • 5.5.1 Inverted and Absent Qualia
      • 5.5.2 Functionalism, Zombies, and the “Explanatory Gap”
      • 5.5.3 Functionalism and the Knowledge Argument
  6. The Future of Functionalism
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In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1: Taken from the 2009 edition.

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2019
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)

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