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4.3d. Functionalism, Misc (Functionalism, Misc on PhilPapers)

See also:
Adams, Frederick R. (1979). Properties, functionalism, and the identity theory. Eidos 1 (December):153-79.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Aydede, Murat (ms). Syntax, content and functionalism: What is wrong with the syntactic theory of mind.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: I argue that Stich's Syntactic Theory of Mind (STM) and a naturalistic narrow content functionalism run on a Language of Though story have the same exact structure. I elaborate on the argument that narrow content functionalism is either irremediably holistic in a rather destructive sense, or else doesn't have the resources for individuating contents interpersonally. So I show that, contrary to his own advertisement, Stich's STM has exactly the same problems (like holism, vagueness, observer-relativity, etc.) that he claims plague content-based psychologies. So STM can't be any better than the Representational Theory of Mind (RTM) in its prospects for forming the foundations of a scientifically respectable psychology, whether or not RTM has the problems that Stich claims it does
Batitsky, Vadim (1998). A formal rebuttal of the central argument for functionalism. Erkenntnis 49 (2):201-20.   (Google | More links)
Abstract:   The central argument for functionalism is the so-called argument from multiple realizations. According to this argument, because a functionally characterized system admits a potential infinity of structurally diverse physical realizations, the functional organization of such systems cannot be captured in a law-like manner at the level of physical description (and, thus, must be treated as a principally autonomous domain of inquiry). I offer a rebuttal of this argument based on formal modeling of its premises in the framework of automata theory. In this formal model I exploit the so-called minimal (universal) realizations of automata behaviors to show that the argument from multiple realizations is not just invalid but is refutable, in the sense that its premises (when made formally precise) entail the very opposite of the functionalist's conclusion
Bealer, George (1978). An inconsistency in functionalism. Synthese 38 (July):333-372.   (Cited by 2 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Bealer, George (2000). Fregean equivocation and ramsification on sparse theories: Response to McCullagh. Mind and Language 15 (5):500-510.   (Google | More links)
Bealer, George (1985). Mind and anti-mind: Why thinking has no functional definition. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 9:283-328.   (Cited by 5 | Google)
Bealer, George (1997). Self-consciousness. Philosophical Review 106 (1):69-117.   (Cited by 11 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Self-consciousness constitutes an insurmountable obstacle to functionalism. Either the standard functional definitions of mental relations wrongly require the contents of self-consciousness to be propositions involving
Bealer, George (2001). The self-consciousness argument: Why Tooley's criticisms fail. Philosophical Studies 105 (3):281-307.   (Google | More links)
Abstract:   Ontological functionalism's defining tenet is that mental properties canbe defined wholly in terms of the general pattern of interaction ofontologically prior realizations. Ideological (or nonreductive)functionalism's defining tenet is that mental properties can only bedefined nonreductively, in terms of the general pattern of theirinteraction with one another. My Self-consciousness Argumentestablishes: (1) ontological functionalism is mistaken because itsproposed definitions wrongly admit realizations (vs. mentalproperties) into the contents of self-consciousness; (2)ideological (nonreductive) functionalism is the only viable alternativefor functionalists. Michael Tooley's critique misses the target:he offers no criticism of (1) – except for an incidental, andincorrect, attack on certain self-intimation principles – and,since he himself proposes a certain form of nonreductive definition, hetacitly accepts (2). Finally, as with all other nonreductivedefinitions, Tooley's proposal can be shown to undermine functionalism'sultimate goal: its celebrated materialist solution to theMind-Body Problem. The explanation of these points will require adiscussion of: Frege-Russell disagreements regarding intensionalcontexts; the relationship between self-consciousness and thetraditional doctrine of acquaintance; the role of self-intimationprinciples in functionalist psychology; and the Kripke-Lewiscontroversy over the nature of theoretical terms
Bechtel, William P. (1984). Autonomous psychology: What it should and should not entail. Philosophy of Science Association 1984.   (Annotation | Google | More links)
Ben-Yami, Hanoch (1999). An argument against functionalism. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 77 (3):320-324.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Biro, John I. & Shahan, Robert W. (eds.) (1982). Mind, Brain and Function. Oklahoma University Press.   (Cited by 1 | Annotation | Google)
Block, Ned (1980). Functionalism. In Ned Block (ed.), Readings in the Philosophy of Psychology.   (Annotation | Google)
Abstract: What is Functionalism? Functionalism is one of the major proposals that have been offered as solutions to the mind/body problem. Solutions to the mind/body problem usually try to answer questions such as: What is the ultimate nature of the mental? At the most general level, what makes a mental state mental? Or more specifically, What do thoughts have in common in virtue of which they are thoughts? That is, what makes a thought a thought? What makes a pain a pain? Cartesian Dualism said the ultimate nature of the mental was to be found in a special mental substance. Behaviorism identified mental states with behavioral dispositions; physicalism in its most influential version identifies mental states with brain states. Functionalism says that mental states are constituted by their causal relations to one another and to sensory inputs and behavioral outputs. Functionalism is one of the major theoretical developments of Twentieth Century analytic philosophy, and provides the conceptual underpinnings of much work in cognitive science
Block, Ned (1978). Troubles with functionalism. Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 9:261-325.   (Cited by 440 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Abstract: The functionalist view of the nature of the mind is now widely accepted. Like behaviorism and physicalism, functionalism seeks to answer the question "What are mental states?" I shall be concerned with identity thesis formulations of functionalism. They say, for example, that pain is a functional state, just as identity thesis formulations of physicalism say that pain is a physical state
Block, Ned (1996). What is functionalism? In Donald M. Borchert (ed.), [Book Chapter]. MacMillan.   (Cited by 89 | Google | More links)
Abstract: What is Functionalism? Functionalism is one of the major proposals that have been offered as solutions to the mind/body problem. Solutions to the mind/body problem usually try to answer questions such as: What is the ultimate nature of the mental? At the most general level, what makes a mental state mental? Or more specifically, What do thoughts have in common in virtue of which they are thoughts? That is, what makes a thought a thought? What makes a pain a pain? Cartesian Dualism said the ultimate nature of the mental was to be found in a special mental substance. Behaviorism identified mental states with behavioral dispositions; physicalism in its most influential version identifies mental states with brain states. Functionalism says that mental states are constituted by their causal relations to one another and to sensory inputs and behavioral outputs. Functionalism is one of the major theoretical developments of Twentieth Century analytic philosophy, and provides the conceptual underpinnings of much work in cognitive science
Block, Ned & Fodor, Jerry A. (1972). What psychological states are not. Philosophical Review 81 (April):159-81.   (Cited by 121 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Churchland, Paul M. (2005). Functionalism at forty: A critical retrospective. Journal of Philosophy 102 (1):33-50.   (Cited by 3 | Google | More links)
Cohen, S. Marc (1992). Hylomorphism and Functionalism. In Martha Nussbaum (ed.), Essays on Aristotle’s De Anima.   (Google)
Cummins, Robert E. (1975). Functional analysis. Journal of Philosophy 72 (November):741-64.   (Cited by 375 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Cunningham, Suzanne (1991). A Darwinian approach to functionalism. Journal of Philosophical Research 16:145-157.   (Google)
David, Marian (1997). Kim's functionalism. Philosophical Perspectives 11:133-48.   (Cited by 4 | Google | More links)
Abstract: In some recent articles, Jaegwon Kim has argued that non-reductive physicalism is a myth: when it comes to the mind-body problem, the only serious options are reductionism, eliminativism, and dualism.[1] And when it comes to reductionism, Kim is inclined to regard a functionalist theory of the mind as the best available option—mostly because it offers the best explanation of mind-body supervenience. In this paper, I will discuss Kim’s views about functionalism. They may be contended on two general grounds. First, some functionalists will object to being classified as reductionists. Second, Kim argues for a version (or a reading) of functionalism, conceptualized functionalism, that makes it rather similar to the “old” mind-body identity theory it was designed to replace. Moreover, Kim’s conceptualized functionalism turns out to be a somewhat surprising brand of reductionism—a reductionism with some eliminativist cut-outs and, possibly, some dualist leftovers. At the end of the paper I propose a construal of the more standard version of functionalism that obviates Kim’s argument for switching-over to his conceptualized version
Double, Richard (1989). Reply to ward's philosophical functionalism. Behaviorism 17 (2):159-160.   (Google)
Esfeld, Michael & Sachse, Christian (2007). Theory reduction by means of functional sub-types. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 21 (1):1 – 17.   (Cited by 3 | Google | More links)
Abstract: The paper sets out a new strategy for theory reduction by means of functional sub-types. This strategy is intended to get around the multiple realization objection. We use Kim's argument for token identity (ontological reductionism) based on the causal exclusion problem as starting point. We then extend ontological reductionism to epistemological reductionism (theory reduction). We show how one can distinguish within any functional type between functional sub-types. Each of these sub-types is coextensive with one type of realizer. By this means, a conservative theory reduction is in principle possible, despite multiple realization. We link this account with Nagelian reduction, as well as with Kim's functional reduction
Fischer, John Martin (1985). Functionalism and propositions. Philosophical Studies 48 (November):295-311.   (Google | More links)
Fodor, Jerry A. (1968). Materialism. In Psychological Explanation. Random House.   (Cited by 2 | Annotation | Google)
Gendron, Bernard (1970). On the relation of neurological and psychological theories: A critique of the hardware thesis. Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science 8:483-95.   (Cited by 1 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Gertler, Brie (2000). Functionalism's methodological predicament. Southern Journal of Philosophy 38 (1):77-94.   (Google)
Gleeson, Andrew (2001). Animal animation. Philosophia 28 (1-4):137-169.   (Google | More links)
Godfrey-Smith, Peter (2009). Triviality arguments against functionalism. Philosophical Studies 145 (2).   (Google)
Abstract: “Triviality arguments” against functionalism in the philosophy of mind hold that the claim that some complex physical system exhibits a given functional organization is either trivial or has much less content than is usually supposed. I survey several earlier arguments of this kind, and present a new one that overcomes some limitations in the earlier arguments. Resisting triviality arguments is possible, but requires functionalists to revise popular views about the “autonomy” of functional description
Heil, John (2002). Functionalism, realism and levels of being. In Pragmatism and Realism. New York: Routledge.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Hornsby, Jennifer (1986). Physicalist thinking and conceptions of behaviour. In Philip Pettit & John McDowell (eds.), Subject, Thought, and Context. Oxford University Press.   (Cited by 9 | Google)
Hoy, Ronald C. (1980). Dispositions, logical states, and mental occurrents. Synthese 44 (June):207-40.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Johnson, Gregory (2009). Mechanisms and functional brain areas. Minds and Machines 19 (2).   (Google)
Abstract: Explanations of how psychological capacities are carried out often invoke functional brain areas. I argue that such explanations cannot succeed. Psychological capacities are carried out by identifiable entities and their activities in the brain, but functional brain areas are not the relevant entities. I proceed by assuming that if functional brain areas did carry out psychological capacities, then these brain areas could be included in descriptions of mechanisms. And if functional brain areas participate in mechanisms, then they must engage in activities. A number of ways in which we might understand the claim that functional brain areas engage in activities are examined. None are successful, and so one conclusion is that functional brain areas do not participate in mechanisms. Consequently, they are not the entities that carry out psychological capacities
Kalke, William (1969). What's wrong with Fodor's and Putnam's functionalism. Noûs 3 (February):83-93.   (Annotation | Google | More links)
Khalidi, Muhammad Ali (2005). Against functional reductionism in cognitive science. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 19 (3):319 – 333.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Functional reductionism concerning mental properties has recently been advocated by Jaegwon Kim in order to solve the problem of the 'causal exclusion' of the mental. Adopting a reductionist strategy first proposed by David Lewis, he regards psychological properties as being 'higher-order' properties functionally defined over 'lower-order' properties, which are causally efficacious. Though functional reductionism is compatible with the multiple realizability of psychological properties, it is blocked if psychological properties are subdivided or crosscut by neurophysiological properties. I argue that there is recent evidence from cognitive neuroscience that shows that this is the case for the psychological property of fear. Though this may suggest that some psychological properties should be revised in order to conform to those of neurophysiology, the history of science demonstrates that this is not always the outcome, particularly with properties that play an important role in our folk theories and are central to human concerns
Klein, Colin (ms). Aristotle on functionalism.   (Google)
Koons, Robert C. (2003). Functionalism without physicalism: Outline of an emergentist program. Progress in Complexity, Information, and Design 2 (3-3).   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Abstract: The historical association between functionalism and physicalism is not an unbreakable one. There are reasons for finding some version of a functional account of the mental attractive that are independent of the plausibility of physicalism. I develop a non-physicalist version of func- tionalism and explain how this model is able to secure genuine emergence of the mental, despite Kim’s arguments that such emergence theories are incoherent. The kind of teleological emergence of the mental required by this model is in fact fully compatible with the best available interpre- tations of physics and does not simply repeat the mistakes of vitalism. In addition, this model of teleological, emergent causation provides an attractive account of free/libertarian agency
Livingston, Paul M. (2005). Functionalism and logical analysis. In David Woodruff Smith & Amie L. Thomasson (eds.), Phenomenology and Philosophy of Mind. Oxford: Clarendon Press.   (Google | More links)
Ludwig, Kirk A. (1998). Functionalism, causation and causal relevance. Psyche 4 (3).   (Cited by 5 | Google)
Abstract: causal relevance, a three-place relation between event types, and circumstances, and argue for a logical independence condition on properties standing in the causal relevance relation relative to circumstances. In section 3, I apply these results to show that functionally defined states are not causally relevant to the output or state transitions in terms of which they are defined. In section 4, I extend this result to what that output in turn causes and to intervening mechanisms. In section 5, I examine the implications of this result for functional theories of mental states. In section 6, I distinguish between functional descriptions of properties and functional definitions of properties, and argue the former present no obstacle to mental states being causally relevant to behavior, but that this is so because they do not treat mental states as functional states. In section 7, I examine the nature of explanations that appeal to functional states or properties. section 8 identifies some difficulties that arise in thinking about specifically conscious mental states as functional states. section 9 is a brief conclusion
Lycan, William G. (2003). Chomsky on the mind - body problem. In Chomsky and His Critics. Malden MA: Blackwell Publishing.   (Cited by 4 | Google | More links)
Lycan, William G. (1981). Form, function and feel. Journal of Philosophy 78 (January):24-50.   (Cited by 32 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Mackenzie, J. D. (1984). Functionalism and psychologism. Dialogue 23 (June):239-248.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Malcolm, Norman (1980). `Functionalism' in philosophical psychology. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 80:211-30.   (Google)
Mandik, Pete (ms). Fine-grained supervenience, cognitive neuroscience, and the future of functionalism.   (Google | More links)
McCullagh, Mark (2000). Functionalism and self-consciousness. Mind and Language 15 (5):481-499.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Abstract: I offer a philosophically well-motivated solution to a problem that George Bealer has identified, which he claims is fatal to functionalism. The problem is that there seems to be no way to generate a satisfactory Ramsey sentence of a psychological theory in which mental-state predicates occur within the scopes of mental-state predicates. My central claim is that the functional roles in terms of which a creature capable of self-consciousness identifies her own mental states must be roles that items could play within creatures whose psychology is less complex than hers. (Bealer’s reply to this paper appears in the same issue of Mind & Language.)
Mclaughlin, Brian P. (2006). Is role-functionalism committed to epiphenomenalism? Journal of Consciousness Studies 13 (1-2):39-66.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Role-functionalism for mental events attempts to avoid epiphenomenalism without psychophysical identities. The paper addresses the question of whether it can succeed. It is argued that there is considerable reason to believe it cannot avoid epiphenomenalism, and that if it cannot, then it is untenable. It is pointed out, however, that even if role- functionalism is indeed an untenable theory of mental events, a role-functionalism account of mental dispositions has some intuitive plausibility
Moffett, Marc A. (2010). Against a posteriori functionalism. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 40 (1):pp. 83-106.   (Google | More links)
Pereboom, Derk (1991). Why a scientific realist cannot be a functionalist. Synthese 88 (September):341-58.   (Cited by 3 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Abstract:   According to functionalism, mental state types consist solely in relations to inputs, outputs, and other mental states. I argue that two central claims of a prominent and plausible type of scientific realism conflict with the functionalist position. These claims are that natural kinds in a mature science are not reducible to natural kinds in any other, and that all dispositional features of natural kinds can be explained at the type-level. These claims, when applied to psychology, have the consequence that at least some mental state types consist not merely in relations to inputs, outputs, and other mental states, but also in nonrelational properties that play a role in explaining functional relations. Consequently, a scientific realist of the sort I describe must reject functionalism
Piccinini, Gualtiero (2004). Functionalism, Computationalism, & Mental States. Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science 35:811-833.   (Google)
Abstract: Some philosophers have conflated functionalism and computationalism. I reconstruct how this came about and uncover two assumptions that made the conflation possible. They are the assumptions that (i) psychological functional analyses are computational descriptions and (ii) everything may be described as performing computations. I argue that, if we want to improve our understanding of both the metaphysics of mental states and the functional relations between them, we should reject these assumptions.
Pineda, David (2001). Functionalism and nonreductive physicalism. Theoria 16 (40):43-63.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Most philosophers of mind nowadays espouse two metaphysical views: Nonreductive Physicalism and the causal efficacy of the mental. Throughout this work I will refer to the conjunction of both claims as the Causal Autonomy of the Mental. Nevertheless, this position is threatened by a number of difficulties which are far more serious than one would imagine given the broad consensus that it has generated during the last decades. This paper purports to offer a careful examination of some of these difficulties and show the considerable efforts that one has to undertake in order to try to overcome them. The difficulties examined will concern only metaphysical problems common to all special science properties but not specific of mental properties. So, in proposing a functionalist version of Nonreductive Physicalism in what follows, I will not attempt to answer to well known objections such as the absent qualia argument and the like. This should not be interpreted as a limitation! in the scope of this work. On the contrary, in dealing with more general objections we will try to evaluate a position which entails (under common assumptions) the Causal Autonomy of the Mental, namely: Nonreductive Physicalism plus the causal efficacy of special science properties
Polger, Thomas W. (online). Against the argument from functional explanation.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: There is an argument for functionalism—and _ipso facto_ against identity theory—that can be sketched as follows: We are, or want to be, or should be dedicated to functional explanations in the sciences, or at least the special sciences. Therefore—according to the principle that what exists is what our ideal theories say exists—we are, or want to be, or should be committed to metaphysical functionalism. Let us call this the _argument from functional_ _explanation_. I will try to reveal the motivation for making such an argument, and sketch the kind of response that should be made by critics of functionalism
Polger, Thomas W. (1998). Escaping the epiphenomenal trap. Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Abstract: I describe a feature of the debate between Functionalists and Anti-Functionalists in philosophy of mind that I call The Epiphenomenal Trap. I argue that the dialectic is a trap because neither side can resolve the central metaphysical issue as it has been put. That is because the debate typically trades in possible explanations. So long as Functionalists and Anti-Functionalists continue to debate whether functionalist explanations are possible, the central metaphysical issue cannot be resolved
Richardson, Robert C. (1979). Functionalism and reductionism. Philosophy of Science 46 (4):533-58.   (Cited by 23 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Ross, Don (1995). Minimal strong functionalism. Journal of Philosophical Research 20:237-268.   (Google)
Scheutz, Matthias (2001). Ethology and functionalism: Behavioral descriptions as the link between physical and functional descriptions. Evolution and Cognition 7 (2):164-171.   (Cited by 5 | Google)
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Tooley, Michael (2001). Functional concepts, referentially opaque contexts, causal relations, and the definition of theoretical terms. Philosophical Studies 105 (3):251-79.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Abstract:   In his recent article, ``Self-Consciousness', George Bealer has set outa novel and interesting argument against functionalism in the philosophyof mind. I shall attempt to show, however, that Bealer's argument cannotbe sustained.In arguing for this conclusion, I shall be defending three main theses.The first is connected with the problem of defining theoreticalpredicates that occur in theories where the following two features arepresent: first, the theoretical predicate in question occurswithin both extensional and non-extensional contexts; secondly, thetheory in question asserts that the relevant theoretical states enterinto causal relations. What I shall argue is that a Ramsey-styleapproach to the definition of such theoretical terms requires twodistinct quantifiers: one which ranges over concepts, and theother which ranges over properties in the world
van Gulick, Robert (1982). Functionalism as a theory of mind. Philosophy Research Archives 185.   (Cited by 5 | Annotation | Google)
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Weir, Alan (2001). More trouble for functionalism. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 101 (3):267-293.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Wilkes, Kathleen V. (1981). Functionalism, psychology and the philosophy of mind. Philosophical Topics 12:147-67.   (Cited by 15 | Annotation | Google)
Zangwill, Nick (1992). Variable realization: Not proven. Philosophical Quarterly 42 (167):214-19.   (Cited by 8 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Zhu, Jing (2006). In defence of functionalism. Philosophia 34 (1).   (Google | More links)