Functionalism

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2008)

Abstract

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

Download options

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 72,856

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Analytics

Added to PP
2009-01-28

Downloads
205 (#58,408)

6 months
21 (#42,113)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Janet Levin
University of Southern California

References found in this work

Thinking, Fast and Slow.Daniel Kahneman - 2011 - New York: New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Two Dogmas of Empiricism.W. Quine - 1951 - [Longmans, Green].
Brainstorms.Daniel C. Dennett - 1978 - MIT Press.

View all 201 references / Add more references

Citations of this work

Know-How as Competence. A Rylean Responsibilist Account.David Lowenstein - 2017 - Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann.
Extended Cognition and Functionalism.Mark Sprevak - 2009 - Journal of Philosophy 106 (9):503-527.
Mental Action.Antonia Peacocke - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (6):e12741.
What Sort of Imagining Might Remembering Be?Peter Langland-Hassan - 2021 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 7 (2):231-251.

View all 78 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

What is Functionalism?Ned Block - 1996 - In Donald M. Borchert (ed.), [Book Chapter]. MacMillan.
A New Lilliputian Argument Against Machine Functionalism.William G. Lycan - 1979 - Philosophical Studies 35 (April):279-87.
In Defence of Extended Functionalism.Michael Wheeler - 2010 - In Richard Menary (ed.), The Extended Mind. MIT Press. pp. 245--270.
Is Role-Functionalism Committed to Epiphenomenalism?Brian P. McLaughlin - 2006 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 13 (1-2):39-66.
Functionalism and Logical Analysis.Paul Livingston - 2005 - In David Woodruff Smith & Amie L. Thomasson (eds.), Phenomenology and Philosophy of Mind. Oxford: Clarendon Press. pp. 19.
Some Varieties of Functionalism.Sydney Shoemaker - 1981 - Philosophical Topics 12 (1):93-119.