Functionalism - FUNCTIONALISM A theory of mental state...

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FUNCTIONALISM A theory of mental state types . Functionalism goes naturally with the token identity theory. MAIN MOTIVATION : To account for the multiple realizability of mental states. Key idea : what makes something going on in my brain a pain or a belief or a desire or a memory etc is the way it functions with respect to the production of behavior, given appropriate physical inputs. Commonsense: mental states lie behind and cause behavior and they are caused by inputs to the body of one sort or another. Each mental state plays a role in mediating between environmental stimuli and behavior. Examples: Pain is normally caused by bodily damage Pain normally causes groaning, withdrawal of the body from the damaging stimulus, etc. A lack of fluids normally causes a feeling of thirst Anger normally causes a frown, impatience, and aggressive behavior Fear often causes its subject to flee The experience of red is normally caused by training the eyes on a red object According to functionalism , we can define what each mental state is by reference to its mediating (causal) role . A Parallel What makes something a mousetrap? Answer :
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Something is a mousetrap if and only if it is designed to take a live mouse as input and deliver a trapped or a dead mouse as output. The concept mousetrap is a functional concept Likewise, the concept PAIN, the concept FEAR, the concept MEMORY, etc are functional concepts A Second Parallel : What makes something a game? What are the necessary and sufficient conditions for something s being a game? Game playing field uses ball, dice, or cards has rules recreational involves competition two or more players score is kept These conditions are not individually necessary for something to be a
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This note was uploaded on 02/19/2012 for the course PSY 303 taught by Professor Lewis during the Fall '08 term at University of Texas at Austin.

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Functionalism - FUNCTIONALISM A theory of mental state...

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