Please Answer the Following Questions
1. Explain the basic idea behind Functionalism. Make sure to highlight how the view differs
from Behaviorism and Identity Theory.
2. Explain Machine Functionalism as Putnam introduces the view in “The nature of mental
states”. Suggestion: it is worth starting with a characterization of the basic approach and
then delving into the details of the particular version of the approach articulated by
3. Explain Lewis’ approach to theoretical identities in general and, in particular, how he
applies it to the case of psycho-physical identities (e.g. “pain = c-fibre-firing”).
4. Explain the two cases that Lewis discusses in “Mad pain and martian pain” and how he
modifies the claim “pain = c-fibre-firing” to accommodate them.
5. Explain the difference between Role-Functionalism and Occupant-Functionalism.
6. In what sense is Lewis a Functionalist and in what sense is he an Identity-Theorist?
7. What is the relationship between Functionalism and Physicalism? Does Functionalism
entail Physicalism? Does Functionalism rule out a commitment to Physicalism? Is there a
more complicated relationship between the two approaches?
Problems with functionalism (and physicalism)
8. What is the basic structure of Block’s Absent Qualia Argument? What are qualia and why
focus on them?
9. Explain the Blockhead example. Is this a successful argument against functionalism?
Explain why or why not.
10. Explain the Chinese Population Experiment in detail and how this is supposed to be an
argument against different forms of functionalism.
11. Is there a version of the Absent Qualia Argument that is successful against functionalism?
If you think there is, explain the argument in detail and why you think it is successful. If
you think there is no such argument, explain why you think arguments of this form do not
12. Explain Jackson’s Knowledge Argument?
13. Explain the difference between knowing-that and knowing-how and how one might use
this to respond to the Knowledge Argument.
14. Explain the idea of a phenomenal concept and how one might use this to respond to the
15. Explain the response to the Knowledge Argument that strikes you as the most plausible.
What worries does this response face? Is it ultimately successful?
Eliminativism and Interpretivism
16. In class we talked about an argument that we labelled, “The Basic Argument For
Psychological Realism”. Explain this argument and what it is an argument for.
17. What is the view that Churchland calls “Eliminative Materialism”? How does Churchland
disagree with The Basic Argument (as discussed in class)?
18. Explain the three criticisms that Churchland makes of Folk Psychology.
19. What can the Functionalist (or any other Realist) about mental states say in response to
Churchland's arguments? Do you think the responses are successful? Explain.
20. Explain Dennett’s appeal to what he calls “stances” and “systems”. What is the
Astrological Stance and what is an Astrological System? What is the Physical Stance and
what is a Physical System? What is the Intentional Stance and what is a Intentional
21. In what sense does Dennett claim that his view is a species of Realism? In what sense does
he claim it is a species of Instrumentalism?
22. In class we talked about a trilemma for Dennett. Explain the trilemma.
23. Do you think an approach like Dennett’s can succeed? Argue for your position one way or
the other. Here is a more specific question that might be easier to address: Is there a view
like Dennett’s that shows that there is an alternative to standard forms of Realism and