Functionalism and Self-Consciousness



I offer a philosophically well-motivated work-around for a problem that George Bealer (‘Self-consciousness’, Philosophical Review v. 106, 1997) has identified, which he claims is fatal to functionalism. The problem concerns how to generate a satisfactory Ramsey sentence of a psychological theory in which mental predicates occur within the scopes of other mental predicates. My central claim is that the functional roles in terms of which a creature capable of self-consciousness identifies her own mental states must be roles that items could play within creatures whose psychology is less complex than her own.