Premium Essay

The Flaws of with Functionalism

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By marcus96
Words 1233
Pages 5
Functionalism states it the function of something which defines something as what it is. Whatever it may be, everything is defined by its function. In terms of it inputs and outputs for a given function is what defines something as being itself. It is the function that is absolutely important. For example a kidney has a function and its function is what makes it a kidney. The kidney receives blood as an input and produces urea with filtered blood as an output. This is its function. In the same way an artificial kidney has the same function and so can still be regarded as a kidney. It has different properties; it is larger, made of plastic and metal. It has completely different “engineering” but its function remains the same. This defines it as a kidney. Because of this view from functionalism it allows this theory to overcome problems of many other materialist theories, hard behaviourism in particular.
Functionalism is an advance on hard behaviourism as behaviourism states there is only objective behaviour; this is all there is to behaviour. It is actions as that is all we can empirically observe. For example hard behaviourists would state if we can see someone crying, all we can observe is their behaviour of crying, the tears leaving the eye and running down this person’s miserable face. There are no mental states and nothing happening in-between the thing that makes the person cry and saline tears being secreted from the tear duct.
Behaviourism does not explain the place between a person’s mental states or “beliefs” before a behaviour is exacted. Behaviour is simply the way in which we act. Behaviour therefore is just simply the way we act. Returning to our tear example, it is merely production of saline liquid from a tear duct that implicates sadness. This is a problem as it does not acknowledge any interactions between how we feel or our “mental states” before…...

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

The Flaws of Functionalism

...Functionalism states it the function of something which defines something as what it is. Whatever it may be, everything is defined by its function. In terms of it inputs and outputs for a given function is what defines something as being itself. It is the function that is absolutely important. For example a kidney has a function and its function is what makes it a kidney. The kidney receives blood as an input and produces urea with filtered blood as an output. This is its function. In the same way an artificial kidney has the same function and so can still be regarded as a kidney. It has different properties; it is larger, made of plastic and metal. It has completely different “engineering” but its function remains the same. This defines it as a kidney. Because of this view from functionalism it allows this theory to overcome problems of many other materialist theories, hard behaviourism in particular. Functionalism is an advance on hard behaviourism as behaviourism states there is only objective behaviour; this is all there is to behaviour. It is actions as that is all we can empirically observe. For example hard behaviourists would state if we can see someone crying, all we can observe is their behaviour of crying, the tears leaving the eye and running down this person’s miserable face. There are no mental states and nothing happening in-between the thing that makes the person cry and saline tears being secreted from the tear duct. Behaviourism does not explain the place......

Words: 1232 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

Psychology Perspective

...paper I will be discussing the similarities and differences between the three different Psychology Perspectives or specific theories of early Psychology. One theory used will be Structuralism. Another theory used in this paper will be the Functionalism. And lastly the Evolutionary theory will be used. This paper will explain three to four differences between each of the three theories listed and reviewed facts and see how one of these theories is superior to the others or that all three are comparable or equal. The thesis for this essay is “No matter how careful evolution, structuralism, and functionalism are examined, there is no evidence that these will not change in the future” Psychology Perspectives Structuralism, Functionalism, and Evolutionary theories each have similarities and differences among them. Both Structuralism and functionalism reflect the fact that consciousness is the subject matter, but both differ in how each should be studied. Evolutionary theory has potential to integrate conceptual approaches to study behavioral development for human adaption in both humans and animals which Structuralism and Functionalism stem form. Structuralism has many mental processes that are broken down into basic components. Functionalism forms a reaction to Structuralism which focuses on the purpose of both consciousness and behavior and emphasizes individual differences. Influenced by Darwin’s evolutionary theory, William James, John Dewey, James Rowland Angell, and......

Words: 948 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Merlons Strain Theory

...Assess the strengths and weaknesses of the functionalist approach to society (33 marks) Functionalism is seen as a macro-scale approach to society; it sees society as a whole rather than looking at parts of it. Due to this, functionalism sees society as a body (organic analogy), all the institutions work together to make society. This is particularly useful when observing society in order to understand the way in which it functions and the way in which all the institutions (organic analogy: organs within the body) work together to sustain society as a whole. Functionalism being a macro-scale approach is therefore seen as a strength as it allows functionalist sociologists to observe society, and its institutions, as a whole. Functionalism is also seen as a consensus theory, it sees society as fair and just, and it acknowledges that many societies, including the majority of western ones, have democracy and all individuals within a particular society share the same or similar norms and values. This could therefore be seen as a strength as it acknowledges that democracy does exist in many societies. However, as functionalism is a macro-scale approach and sees society as a whole, it could miss crucial factors/ groups which contribute to the functioning of society; these include small groups and tribes, such as gipsies. Not acknowledging these minority groups within society could lead to functionalist sociologists lacking crucial information about how society functions and......

Words: 1163 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

Theoretical Perspective Sociology Gcu

...Micah Chrisman SOC-102 April 24, 2016 Ieisha Jones Theoretical Perspective Essay Structural functionalism is based on the idea that societies are made up of structures and functions. Structures include things like education, politics, family and economics. Functions are the what are produced by the structures; education provides learning and advancement within a society, politics provide social order, etc. These structures act like parts of a machine, each accomplishing a function to achieve harmony. However, because there are functions, there must also be dysfunctions. Dysfunctions are anything that go against the harmony of a society. The theory can be thought of like a car. Many different parts are needed for a car to function, but a number of things can go wrong before the car stops working. A car must have tires to move. If it gets a flat, it can still run, but it hurts the car and is less efficient. Dysfunctions hurt society, but unless there is a major problem, the society will continue to function. Conflict theory, as the name suggests, is a struggle for power. Karl Marx is the father of this theory. He believed that those in power will constantly oppress everyone else in order to keep their power. This theory explains discrimination within a society. At one point, white males gained power. In order to maintain this power, they oppressed the other races and women. This would allow them to keep power. Marx took this theory to all aspects of life. He saw......

Words: 995 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Cognitive Psychology Definition Paper

...suggestive to an experience encountered (Galotti, 2014). A later milestone argued by empiricist such as David Hume, James Mill, and John Stuart Mill contended the minds abilities to become more active in learning from an experience was feasible. A compromise was soon to take precedence and combined the theories of nativism and empiricism. The existence of perception, memory, nature, and nurture processed in the brain developed during a stage of life, no person had disputed this but finding the true origin was baffling in many ways. William Wundt believed structuralism was significantly important in understanding the structures that make up the thought process. William James focused on the mental processes purpose, which he called functionalism. James’ functionalism was contrary to Wundt’s structuralism; although Wundt and James’ theories did not become schools of psychology; psychologist, theorists, philosophers, and researchers used these teachings to as sources of ideas that have played a significant role in cognitive and experimental psychology today. Behavioral Observation in Cognitive Psychology Behavioral observation is important in cognitive psychology just as it is in behaviorism. Behavioral observation helps researchers test cognitive theories. Behaviorists study observable behavior and cognitive psychologists study the mental processes. When studying these processes, researchers attempt to explain how unobservable processes interact with the observable world......

Words: 823 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Sociology Perspectives

...What is Functionalism? Functionalism is one of the major proposals that have been offered as solutions to the mind/body problem. Solutions to the mind/body problem usually try to answer questions such as: What is the ultimate nature of the mental? At the most general level, what makes a mental state mental? Or more specifically, What do thoughts have in common in virtue of which they are thoughts? That is, what makes a thought a thought? What makes a pain a pain? Cartesian Dualism said the ultimate nature of the mental was to be found in a special mental substance. Behaviorism identified mental states with behavioral dispositions; physicalism in its most influential version identifies mental states with brain states. Functionalism says that mental states are constituted by their causal relations to one another and to sensory inputs and behavioral outputs. Functionalism is one of the major theoretical developments of Twentieth Century analytic philosophy, and provides the conceptual underpinnings of much work in cognitive science. Functionalism has three distinct sources. First, Putnam and Fodor saw mental states in terms of an empirical computational theory of the mind. Second, Smart’s "topic neutral" analyses led Armstrong and Lewis to a functionalist analysis of mental concepts. Third, Wittgenstein’s idea of meaning as use led to a version of functionalism as a theory of meaning, further developed by Sellars and later Harman. One motivation behind functionalism can be......

Words: 4824 - Pages: 20

Premium Essay

Socio Essay

...H/W Tania Begum 6.13 23rd March 2016 Assess the hypodermic syringe model of the relationship between the mass media and the audience. (18 marks) There are a variety of sociological theories and evidence that suggests that the hypodermic syringe model has a relationship between the mass media and the audience however there also some flaws to these ideas. The hypodermic syringe model assumes ideas/ideologies transmitted in mass media products are automatically ‘injected’ into the minds of the audience for example a newspaper telling its readers who to vote for. The audience is seen as passive recipients. The hypodermic syringe model shows that we are a passive homogenous audience. The hypodermic Syringe Model (HSM) is an early theory model, which believes that there is a direct correlation between the violence and anti-social behavior portrayed in different media types (e.g. Television, computer games and films). Sociologists found that the most venerable audience to the HSM is children and teenagers. This is because they are still in the early stages of socialization so are therefore very impressionable. A prime example to support this theory is the case of Jamie Bugler. Jamie was a 2 year old boy that was abducted and murdered by two 10 year old boys. The boys had apparently watched 'Childs Play 3' before they murdered the toddler, and as the murder was very similar...

Words: 2001 - Pages: 9

Free Essay

Health and Social Care

...Functionalism The functionalist perspective is a very important perspective as it focuses on describing each part of society and how they all add to the overall society. The different parts all depend on one another and include the government, which provides children with the education they need, this will then lead on to them being more likely to get a higher paid job which means that there are more taxes paid which helps to keep the government running. With this system, society will be stable and promote productivity but if it does not go to plan, parts of the system will fail and have to find new order and stability. Functionalism highlights the order that exists in society and focuses on social stability and public values. Some functionalists focus on the function of human behaviours, one of these sociologists is Robert Merton who categorised human functions into two sections; ‘manifest functions’ which included the actions that were obvious and intentional such as attending a church to worship as part of a religion and ‘latent functions’ which are actions that are neither intentional or obvious such as when going to the church to worship they are unintentionally going to also separate their personal values from their uniform, work or religious values. Functionalism doesn’t encourage people to be an active role or go about changing their social environment, even if these changes could be useful and good for them. By using the basics to the functionalist perspective,......

Words: 2646 - Pages: 11

Premium Essay

Assess the View That Rime Is Functional, Inevitable and Normal.

...Assess the View that Crime is Functional, Inevitable and Normal. (21 marks) Within the sociological perspectives of crime and deviance, there is one particular approach which argues that crime is functional, inevitable and normal. This sociological perspective, of Functionalism, consists of Durkheim’s work on crime and deviance. His main argument was that ‘crime is normal’ and that it is ‘an integral part of all healthy societies’. This perspective views crime and deviance as an inevitable feature of all societies which is universal. However, Durkheim did argue that too much crime can lead to the destabilisation of society. Durkheim identified three positive aspects of crime which make it a functional component of society. He did this through magnifying the positive impacts it can have on social cohesion which refers to the invisible bonds which bring people together within a society. There were three main positive aspects which he accentuated as they made crime and deviance functional. These were ‘reaffirming the boundaries’, ‘changing values’ and ‘social cohesion.’ The first, reaffirming the boundaries, refers to situations where crime has already occurred. When the criminal is taken to court, the public outcry which follows verifies the boundaries. This can be seen particularly in countries such as Saudi Arabia, where public hangings and executions take place. The second positive aspect of crime which makes it functional for society is changing values. Durkheim stated......

Words: 1066 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Psychology 101 Quiz

...called ____. a. | introspection | c. | behaviorism | b. | psychology | d. | functionalism | 2. A hypothesis is best defined as: | a. | an if-then type statement that predicts a specific relationship among variables that can then be tested. | b. | the precise meaning of a term which specifies the operations for observing and measuring the phenomenon being investigated. | c. | an organized system of assumptions that attempts to explain a data set (specified phenomena and their interrelationships). | d. | the principle that a scientific theory must allow for hypotheses that are specific enough to all for the possibility tht they theory may be disconfirmed. | | 3. Participants in an experiment on stress management are given a set of stress reduction techniques and then measured for the effect. What is the role of the control group in this experiment? a. | They receive no stress reduction techniques and they are not measured. | b. | They receive a random stress reduction technique. | c. | They receive no stress management techniques, but they are measured. | d. | They receive the same techniques as the experimental group, and they are measured. | 4. The early approach to psychology in which the mind is broken into the smallest elements of mental experience. What is this called? a. | structuralism | c. | behaviorism | b. | functionalism | d. | humanism | 5. What is the early approach to psychology......

Words: 2065 - Pages: 9

Premium Essay

Anthro

...HEADHUNTING: Illongot of phillipines Dayak of Borneo Asmat of new guniea Nagas of Himalays Jivara of south America. Theory: guess/speculative idea/systematic statement of principles. Theories can be explanatory or descriptive. Theories help to come up with research questions, a research guide and data analysis. Theoretical Orientation: develops from critiques of previous orientation, the gaps, contradictions, logical flaws. Evolutionism: Cultural diversity due to cultures being on different stages of cultural development, from simple to complex. Practiced by savages; a primitive form of warfare. Diffusionism: cultural practices developed in certain parts of the world and then spread(diffused) to other parts of the world. - Headhunting emerged somewhere in the world and then spread to elsewhere. Historical Particularism: complexity of cultural variation needs to be properly understood through the study of specific societies or cultures. - headhunting to be examined in the context of the culture practicing it. Functionalism: Focus on the function that the cultural trait seves in society. - Headhunting is practiced because it plays a role in society. Emic: Ilongot = grief Iban = individual prestige & lifting mourning taboos & personal attraction to women. Etic: Anthropological Explanations/interpretations Psychological: personality. Gorer? Frustration – Agression Theory Sociobiology: draws from evolutionary biology. ;survival of...

Words: 753 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

The True Nature of Reality

...assertion of mind and body as two distinct substance also leads to an unfavorable problem called Mind-Body problem. The problem was brought up by Princess Elizabeth of Bohemia in her letter to Descartes. Elizabeth insists that “…how the human soul can determine the movement of the animal spirits in the body so as to perform voluntary acts—being as it is merely a conscious substance…and contact seems to me incompatible with a thing’s being immaterial” (qtd in Rachel James 74). In other words, how can something that is immaterial or mental, which does not exist spatially and has no physical force, affect something that is physical, which exist spatially and is moved by physical force. This question brought up by Elizabeth points out a vital flaw that persist in Substance Dualism. Another lack of explanation was pointed out by the Radical Emergence Theory. “Why does the immaterial mind exists at all?” It is a well-known fact that “human being begins is a purely physical thing in the womb”. Interestingly, when the “brain reaches a certain level of complexity, a new kind of substance pops into existence” (Rachel James 75). As the philosopher Huxley said “the emergence of mind from matter seems inexplicable”, he than compares with an analogy of “the emergence of genie from the lamp” (qtd in Rachel James 75). Filled with numerous logical inconsistency Substance Dualism must solve these problems to be considered a system that describes the nature of reality and substance......

Words: 1964 - Pages: 8

Premium Essay

Psych 1001 Ch1 Notes

...1879 created first experimental psych lab in Germany * The father of psych * 1879 = psych date of birth * Focused on consciousness * He taught many students, and they began teaching once they graduated and it began to spread * 1883 – 1893 = new psych research labs in north America G. Stanley Hall * former student of Wundt * 1883 = started first US research lab in John Hopkins Uni, Baltimore Maryland * 1887 = first psych journal * Early theories: structuralism vs. Functionalism * Structuralism – late 1800’s to 1927 * Edward Tichener (student of Wundt) * Studying the basic elements of consciousness * Breaking it down into smaller parts (experience reaction to it) * Introspection (if you go to a party, and your heart rate increases, you noticing that your fidgety, feeling nervous) analyzing what’s going on. * Very subjective method (its hard to have the same answer with every subject) a lot of flaws in this method. * Fuctionalism; late 1870’s * Created by William James * Influenced by Charles Darwin (natural selection, survival of the fittest) (passing off genes to children) our personalities have been passed down from the survivals of the past. * Characteristics serve a purpose for survival * Consciousness serves a purpose (how do we adapt to all around us) * Topic - gender differences in behaviors, patterns of child development * This is preferred over structuralism (more......

Words: 1132 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

A Look at

...school officials, alienated by its dominant culture in the society. Another main characteristic of the subculture at Dongfeng Senior High School is its focus on academic success. Considering the educational system in China, all the students must take the college entrance exam to get into the university. The exam “Gaokao” puts everyone in a single competition, and forces all the students in a position that they must succeed above and beyond their classmates and friends. In order to prepare for that exam, classes are divided by students’ grade, not do well or fall behind is viewed as a flaw, sometimes one can be kicked off to the lower level class if he or she failed in a big exam. The entire culture focuses on being as academically successful as possible, students are now enjoying the upper level over their peers in the control of academic aspect of the school life. In the view of functionalism, both the top students and bad students are playing a role in this high school society. However, a conflict theorist might argue this set of subculture with such a strict set of norms, one from the lower level class will have difficulty merging into this bigger subculture. The inequality exists at the expense of less powerful students. I come from this subculture, so I have a deep understanding of what it means to be academically success in the group. According to the lecture, “Micro-level interactions (and our interpretations of them) are fundamental building blocks of society......

Words: 1177 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Using Material from Item a and Elsewhere, Assess Functionalist Views of the Role of Education in Modern Society (20 Marks)

...Using material from Item A and elsewhere, assess functionalist views of the role of education in modern society (20 marks) The consensus functionalist approach is just one of many that attempt to explain the role of education in modern society. Functionalism is based on the view that society is a system of interdependent parts held together by a shared culture or value consensus. Each part of society such as the family, economy and education system performs functions that help to maintain society. Functionalists such as Durkheim and Parsons seek to discover what functions that educations performs and what is does to meet society’s needs. Marxists such as Althusser and Bowle & Gintis disagree with functionalists and argues that education in modern society continues to uphold the capitalist system. The French sociologist, Durkheim (1903) argued that education provided two main functions. Firstly, social solidarity; some of the subjects taught as part of the national curriculum such as History and Citizenship helps students to understand the complexity of British culture. This sense of shared culture between children creates a strong sense of unity and commitment to a wider social group. Without social solidarity, society would fall apart as there would be no cooperation as each individual would pursue their own selfish desires making education a vital role for modern society. The second function that education has is that it prepares young people for work. Industrial......

Words: 1181 - Pages: 5