. To switch, however, would be to give up the benefits if any of a theory that offers meaning-preserving translations of our mental state terms. The assumption is that adding a transducer layer, that is, an input-output system, to an object should not change whether that object has mental states. But there is an objection, most recently expressed by George Bealer 1997; see also Hill 1993 , that, on this model an introspective belief can only be defined in one of two unsatisfactory ways: either as a belief produced by a second-order functional state specified in part by its tendency to produce that very type of belief — which would be circular — or as a belief about the first-order realization of the functional state, rather than that state itself. This makes it clear that, in the classic formulations of functional theories, mental states are intended to be characterized in terms of their relations to stimulations, behavior, and all the other states that may be permissibly invoked by the theory in question, and thus certain functional theories may have more resources for individuating mental states than suggested by the crude definitions used as examples. Thinking, Fast and Slow, New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux.
And since the capacity to play these roles is merely a matter of having certain causal relations to stimulations, behavior, and one another, the possession of these properties is compatible with a materialistic theory of the mind. If these cases are convincing, then there are differences among types of intentional states that can only be captured by characterizations of these states that make reference to the practices of an individual's linguistic community. Just turn on the news or watch any political debate and you'll see that many groups of society are anything but equal. Among these American functionalist sociologists is Robert K. 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. Sociological Paradigm 1: Functionalism Functionalism, also called structural-functional theory, sees society as a structure with interrelated parts designed to meet the biological and social needs of the individuals in that society. One could counter the charge of chauvinism, of course, by suggesting that all creatures with lower-level states that satisfy a given functional characterization possess a common lower-level disjunctive state or property.
Functionalists have replied to these worries in different ways. Supersizing the Mind: Embodiment, Action, and Cognitive Extension, Oxford: Oxford University Press. If we want to understand the importance of the heart for helping the body function properly, we need to understand how it relates to other parts of the body. Education, for example, has several important functions in a society, such as socialization, learning, and social placement. Further suppose that the people outside of the room are Chinese speakers and are communicating with the person inside via the Chinese symbols. The Organic Analogy — we should see society as a system Talcott Parsons saw society as working like a human body, arguing that that institutions in society were like organs in the body — each performing specific functions that were necessary to the maintenance of the whole. Individuals become more interdependent as people become less self-sufficient and more dependent on a larger number of people that they do not know.
Their theories about what needs societies have come from the following two sources -Sociologists and Anthropologists have studies thousands of different societies and cultures to discover if there are any institutions which appear in all of them. New Perspectives on Type Identity, New York: Cambridge University Press. Two theorists, Herbert Spencer and Robert Merton, were major contributors to this perspective. The symbolic interactionist perspective, also known as symbolic interactionism, directs sociologists to consider the symbols and details of everyday life, what these symbols mean, and how people interact with each other. This is the functional definition of state one; it is its causal role in the overall system. It follows that social stability is more likely if the people at the bottom of society — the majority are tuned out.
Since no one has yet been able to formulate a clear basis or justification for the existence of such a distinction in mental contents, however, this idea has generally been abandoned in favor of externalist causal theories of mental contents also known as. Structural Functionalism in Theory First, let's look at the history of structural functionalism. In a seminal paper Turing 1950 , A. And, on the Humean view of causation as a contingent relation, the causal claim would be false. The Nature of Mind, Brisbane: University of Queensland Press. For instance, individuals in the U. In other words, since you share the same inputs, outputs, and relations between other mental states, you are functional duplicates.
This may seem to be an unmitigated advantage, since psycho-functional theories can avail themselves of all the tools of inquiry available to scientific psychology, and will presumably make all, and only, the distinctions that are scientifically sound. Such a statement is free of any mental state terms. Of course, anything can serve as a symbol as long as it refers to something beyond itself. This view simply entails the modification of functionalism to include within its scope a very broad interpretation of input and outputs to include the objects that are the causes of mental representations in the external world. Social facts are the laws, morals, values, religious beliefs, customs, fashions, rituals, and all of the cultural rules that govern social life Durkheim 1895. A manifest function of college education, for example, includes gaining knowledge, preparing for a career, and finding a good job that utilizes that education. Of course, this only worked as long as everyone was focused.
Therefore, it is not a particular physical-chemical composition responsible for the particular machine or mental state, it is the programming rules which produce the effects that are responsible. Therefore, so the argument goes, since two people can be functionally identical, yet have different mental states, functionalism cannot sufficiently account for all mental states. The same problem, moreover, appears to arise for other sorts of belief as well. Most discussions of the prospects for functionalism focus on its adequacy as an account of familiar experiential states such as sensational and perceptual experiences, and familiar intentional states such as beliefs and desires. A full treatment of this objection involves the more general question of whether second-order properties can have causal efficacy, and is thus beyond the scope of this discussion see section 5. This permits differences and similarities in the contents of intentional states to be construed as differences and similarities in the propositions to which these states are related.
See the entry on Mental Causation, as well as Bennett 2007, and Funkhouser 2007, for further discussion and extensive bibliographies. For example, if believing it will rain is regarded as a machine state, it will not be regarded as a disposition to take one's umbrella after looking at the weather report, but rather as a disposition to take one's umbrella if one looks at the weather report and is in the state of wanting to stay dry. And a new social order, stability, and productivity occur. But, in contrast to behaviorism, functionalism's characterization of mental states in terms of their roles in the production of behavior grants them the causal efficacy that common sense takes them to have. Thus, it of functional mental states: its assumption denies the possibility of functionalism itself, without offering any independent justification for doing so.