Premium Essay

The Flaws of Functionalism

In: Other Topics

Submitted By mjones96
Words 1232
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 with 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....

Words: 1233 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

Psychology Perspective

...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 Harvey A. Carr, all led a movement to determine what consciousness was and put it into its basic elements such as the study of sensations, feelings, and images....

Words: 948 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Merlons Strain Theory

...This could therefore be seen as a weakness of functionalism as it fails to acknowledge that there are minority groups within society. Also, as functionalism is a consensus theory where all individuals within a particular society share the same or similar norms and values and sees society as being fair and just; however, it fails to acknowledge that...

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....

Words: 995 - 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....

Words: 4824 - Pages: 20

Premium Essay

Cognitive Psychology Definition Paper

...Cognitive Psychology Definition Paper PSY/360 July 21, 20xx xxxx Cognitive Psychology Definition Paper Defining Cognitive Psychology Cognitive psychology focuses on the way human’s process information, looking at how we treat information that comes in to the person, better known as stimuli, and how this treatment leads to responses (McLeod, 2007). Cognitive psychologists study internal processes including perception, attention, language, memory and thinking. In ancient Greece, cognitive psychology created the need to understand how the mind works and what processes are involved in learning. Philosophers and early psychologists studied the mind, however the ancient Greeks knew little about the human mind and the mental process. Cognitive psychology is the field of psychology that emphasizes the study of mental processes (Galotti, 2014). These processes include thinking, language, problem solving, knowing, reasoning, judging and decision making. Cognitive psychology concluded that humans were not pushed or pulled by environmental factors. Cognitive psychology also studied how people view and understand the world. Subjects wanted to describe the patterns and irregularities during the operation of his or her mind. There were several key milestones in the development of cognitive psychology. Key Milestones in the Development of Cognitive Psychology Developmental milestones began in ancient Greek times have set a precedent in today’s views of cognitive......

Words: 823 - Pages: 4

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....

Words: 2001 - Pages: 9

Premium Essay

Assess the View That Rime 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 that every so often, when an individual commits a crime, there is a degree of sympathy from the public. This hints at a change in values which can eventually lead to a change in law....

Words: 1066 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Psychology 101 Quiz

.... | 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 that saw behavior as purposeful and contributing to survival?...

Words: 2065 - 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....

Words: 2646 - Pages: 11

Premium Essay

Anthro

...Key Questions in ANT1CAG 1.What can anthropology offer to help understand global issues and problems? 2.How can anthropology contribute in our attempt to make sense of things that happen in or affect our everyday lives? 3.How do anthropologists think through things and how do they explain things? Emotional Knowledge Thinking and Feeling, Mind and Heart Anthropological Imagination What’s special about anthropology? ANTHROPOLOGY Clyde Kluckhohn ( Mirror for Man, 1944:16): “Ordinarily we are unaware of the special lens through which we look at life. It would hardly be fish who discovered the existence of water. Students who had not yet gone beyond the horizon of their own society could not be expected to perceive custom which was the stuff of their own thinking. Anthropology holds up a great mirror to man and lets him look at himself in this infinite variety” Anthropology subfields. -biological/physical – archeology –Linguistics – Social/Cultural Ethnology –comparative study of cultures or people Ethnography – a systematic study of a culture or people. History of Anthropology - Herodotus = father of anthropology? Age of Discovery (16th and 17th century) - Xuanzang (7th century chinese) - xuanzang said that the Indians were very clean, why has that changed? Ethnocentrism: evaluating other cultures according to preconceptions originating in the standards and customs of ones own culture. Edward Tylor –(1832 – 1917) 1st......

Words: 753 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

A Look at

...All people are born to different societies that are unique and have their distinct characteristics. Despite the type of society one lives in, one thing that everyone has in common is that every single person belongs to a subculture, or several subcultures. “Subculture can be defined as the distinct cultural values and behavioral patterns of a particular group in society, a group united by sets of concepts, values, symbols, and shared meaning specific to the members of that group distinctive enough to distinguish it from others within the same culture or society “(Conley, You May Ask Your Self, P87). There exists a particular subculture which I have been deeply involved and been influenced by——Dongfeng Senior High School Subculture. Here is to discover the sociological meaning behind it and further analyze the characteristics of this subculture. Dongfeng Senior High School is located in Daqing, China, a city you may never heard of. First let me introduce Daqing, the city that has been rapidly expanding the last few years. Farming communities were moved to the outer layer of the city and replaced by the construction of tall buildings and malls, brand new schools were built to accommodate the ever-increasing student population, four-lane highways was broadened to eight-lane highways to solve traffic congestion. Number of people in the middle class and above increases, but still there is probably about 70% of the population is in the well-off level. Despite the fast developing...

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)

...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 societies have a specialist division of labour which prepares them for specific occupations. Education equips individuals with the specialist skills needed to participate in work in a modern economy....

Words: 1181 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

Cognitive Science

...(Cartesian) Dualism, identity theory, functionalism The Turing test (and objections to it) Aunt Bertha machine Linear vs. exponential scaling Dualism: mind is nonphysical substance Identity theory: same mind state means the same brain state Problem of strict...

Words: 4004 - Pages: 17

Free Essay

The True Nature of Reality

...Thet Paing Soe Professor James Rowe Philosophy 1500 14 May 2015 Prompt 1 The True Nature of Reality When it comes to describing the nature of our reality, philosophers have been in search of a system that truly and completely explains everything. It is noteworthy that numerous system have developed over the past few centuries. However, in this paper only four notable theories (dualism, materialism, idealism and transcendental idealism) will be explored. Each theories provide adequate explanation of reality but there are limitations and shortcomings when one contemplate carefully. The theories will be explored and critique by using the mind body problem, The Chinese room, the radical emergence theory. Moreover, one should consider which theory describes the nature of reality with least logical incoherencies. Substance Dualism is a theory that describes “mind and matter” as “two distinct things” (Nagel Thomas 206). Furthermore, substance dualism categorize matter as “physical or material substance” and mind or soul as “non-physical or immaterial substance” (Lacewing Michael) “Substance Dualism”). So, dualism is the proposal that human being as a living, thinking entity not only includes brain and physical matter but also a non-physical substance to account for the mind. The famous seventeenth century French philosopher René Descartes claimed that as “a subject of conscious thought and experience, he cannot consist of spatially extended matter”. He therefore states that...

Words: 1964 - Pages: 8