Is Functionalism Correct Essay

2182 Words9 Pages
Is Functionalism Correct? Functionalism is one of the main theories that offers a solution to the mind/body problem. Unlike Cartesian dualism, which stated that mental states are part of a non-physical substance, and behaviourism, which identified mental states with behavioural dispositions, functionalism argues that mental states are constituted solely by their functional role. This involves their causal relationships to one another with sensory inputs and behavioural outputs. For example, I have an input by touching fire, then I have a mental state of pain, then I output by retracting my hand and screaming out. In this essay I will assess Functionalism and show why it is a strong theory that is backed up by discoveries of the brain through neuroscience, and how it argues that machines could be minded. However I will also argue how it can be questioned by theories such as property dualism and this idea of qualia, arguing that we have a non-physical side to our mind/consciousness, something beyond science. In assessing, I will conclude that it is a question of future knowledge and discoveries to discover whether functionalism is incorrect or not, but that at this moment in time it can be shown that it is the strongest theory of the lot. Functionalism overcomes the defying problem with reductive materialism, in which the mind can be multiply realised, as it does not require us to have a wet slimy brain. Functionalism argues that mental states are identified by a functional role and they can therefore be realised on multiple levels. If we consider clocks, we know that they come in all shapes and sizes, some people own large grandfather clocks other people have modern, digital clocks. It doesn’t matter what form a clock takes as long as it fulfils the function of a clock, telling the time. Therefore, clocks are multiply realised, they all perform the same job. If
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