Functionalism and Consciousness

  1. Gregory R. Bock Organizer and
  2. Joan Marsh
  1. Sydney Shoemaker

Published Online: 28 SEP 2007

DOI: 10.1002/9780470514412.ch2

Ciba Foundation Symposium 174 - Experimental and Theoretical Studies of Consciousness

Ciba Foundation Symposium 174 - Experimental and Theoretical Studies of Consciousness

How to Cite

Shoemaker, S. (2007) Functionalism and Consciousness, in Ciba Foundation Symposium 174 - Experimental and Theoretical Studies of Consciousness (eds G. R. Bock and J. Marsh), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9780470514412.ch2

Author Information

  1. The Sage School of Philosophy, 218 Goldwin Smith Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-3201, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 28 SEP 2007

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780471938668

Online ISBN: 9780470514412

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Keywords:

  • functionalism;
  • consciousness;
  • introspection;
  • sensory states;
  • beliefs

Summary

It is widely held that a mental state and the subject's introspective belief about it are always ‘distinct existences’ and only contingently connected. This suggests that for each sort of mental state there could be a creature that is introspectively ‘blind’ with respect to states of that sort, meaning that while it is capable of having such states, and of conceiving of itself as having them, it is totally without introspective access to its states of that sort; It is argued here that introspective blindness with respect to many sorts of mental states, in particular beliefs and sensory states, is not a possibility, because it is incompatible with requirements of rationality that are internal to the functional roles that are constitutive of these states. Introspective accessibility is essential to the functional roles of such mental states when the conceptual and cognitive resources of the subject of those states are sufficiently rich to make beliefs and thoughts about them a possibility. This is a version of the view that such states are necessarily self-intimating and is incompatible with the perceptual model of introspection favoured by some functionalists as well as by many non-functionalists.