What Is Consciousness? Neurofunctionalism

Jesse J. Prinz

in The Conscious Brain

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780195314595
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979059 | DOI:

Series: Philosophy of Mind Series

What Is Consciousness? Neurofunctionalism

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Physicalists have traditionally offered two different responses to the mind-body problem. Some endorse the psychophysical identity theory, and some endorse functionalism. These two approaches are often thought to be competitors, and they are each backed by well-known arguments. This chapter argues that those arguments are less compelling than often assumed. For example, functionalist claim that mental states are multiply realizable, but the evidence often relies on elaborate though experiments, rather than empirical evidence. Functionalism and the identity theory both have advantages and disadvantages. The optimal form of physicalism would integrate these two approaches by defining mental states as mechanisms that have identity conditions at more than one level—an approach called neurofuncitonalism. This approach is defended and explicated using the AIR theory, which has both a psychological characterization and a neural implementation, which are highly interdependent.

Keywords: functionalism; the psychophysical identity theory; neuofunctionalism; levels of analysis; reduction; physicalism

Chapter.  10557 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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