more from William Lycan

Single Idea 6541

[catalogued under 17. Mind and Body / C. Functionalism / 1. Functionalism]

Full Idea

The functionalist must find a level of characterisation of mental states that is not so abstract or behaviouristic as to rule out the possibility of inverted spectrum etc., nor so specific and structural as to fall into chauvinism.


'Chauvinistic' implies that only human brains could have most of our experiences

Gist of Idea

Functionalism must not be too abstract to allow inverted spectrum, or so structural that it becomes chauvinistic


William Lycan (Consciousness [1987], 5.4)

Book Reference

Lycan,William G.: 'Consciousness' [MIT 1995], p.54

A Reaction

If too specific then animals and aliens won't be able to implement the necessary functions; if the theory becomes very behaviouristic, then it loses interest in the possibility of an inverted spectrum. He is certainly right to hunt for a middle ground.