Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Functionalism, philosophy of mind: the thesis that mind states are functional states that can be described by input and output. See also identity theory, mind-body-problem, materialism, physicalism, mental states.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Item Summary Meta data
I 15
Functionalism/Lewis/Armstrong/Chalmers: Lewis and Armstrong tried to explain all mental concepts, not only some.
ChalmersVsLewis/ChalmersVsArmstrong: both authors made the same mistake like Descartes in assimilating the psychological to the phenomenal (see ChalmersVsDescartes).
E.g. When we wonder whether somebody is having a colour experience, we are not wondering whether they are receiving environmental stimulation and processing it in a certain way. It is a conceptually coherent possibility that something could be playing the causal role without there being an associated experience.
I 15
Functionalism/Consciousness/ChalmersVsFunctionalism/ChalmersVsArmstrong/ChalmersVsLewis/Chalmers: There is no mystery about whether any state plays a causal role, at most there are a few technical explanatory problems. Why there is a phenomenological quality of consciousness involved is a completely different question.
Functionalism/Chalmers: he denies that there are two different questions. ((s) Also: ChalmersVsDennett).
I 231
Functionalism/Consciousness/Chalmers: two variants:
Functionalism of the 2nd level: Among these, Rosenthal's approach of thoughts of the second level about conscious experiences and Lycan's (1995) (1) approach about perceptions of the second level. These theories give good explanations for introspection.
Functionalism of the 1st level : thesis: only cognitive states of the 1st level are used. Such theories are better in the explanation of conscious experiences.
Since, however, not all cognitive states correspond to conscious experiences, one still needs a distinguishing feature for them.
Solution/Chalmers: my criterion for this is the accessibility to global control.
I 232
Kirk: (1994) (2): Thesis: "directly active" information is what is needed.
Dretske: (1995) (3): Thesis: Experience is information that is represented for a system.
Tye: (1995) (4): Thesis: Information must be "balanced" for purposes of cognitive processing.
I 250
Functionalism/VsFunctionalism/Chalmers: the authors who argue with inverted Qualia or lacking Qualia present the logical possibility of counter-arguments. This is sufficient in the case of a strong functionalism.
The invariance principle (from which it follows that conscious experiences are possible in a system with identical biochemical organization) is a weaker functionalism. Here the merely logical possibility of counter examples is not sufficient to refute. Instead, we need a natural possibility of missing or inverted Qualia.
Solution: to consider natural possibility, we will accept fading or "dancing" Qualia.
I 275
Functionalism/Chalmers: the arguments in relation to a lacking, inverted and dancing Qualia do not support a strong, but the non-reductive functionalism I represent. Thesis: functional organization is, with natural necessity, sufficient for conscious experiences. This is a strong conclusion that strengthens the chances for > artificial intelligence. See also Strong Artificial Intelligence/Chalmers.

1. W. G. Lycan, A limited defense of phenomenal information. In: T. Metzingwr (ed), Conscious Experience, Paderborn 1995.
2. R. Kirk, Raw Feeling: A Philosophical Account of the Essence of Consciousness. Oxford 1994.
3. F. Dretske, Naturalizing the Mind, Cambridge 1995
4. M. Tye, Ten Problems of Consciousness, Cambridge 1995.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Cha I
D. Chalmers
The Conscious Mind Oxford New York 1996

Cha II
D. Chalmers
Constructing the World Oxford 2014

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2019-07-16
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