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Discussion Questions

Introduction

  • 1. Dualism has been with us in the philosophical tradition at least since Plato and on through Descartes up until our time. Suppose someone said this indicates that dualism must be right. How would you respond? What might one find attractive about dualism? What is less attractive about it?
  • 2. Functionalism is a popular philosophical theory of the mind today. What could be some reasons for this? Is functionalism an improvement over earlier versions of materialism?
  • 3. Suppose someone argued that functionalism is idealism in disguise because functionalism is about abstract forms, such as computer programs, that may or may not be physically implemented. Thus, the essence of functionalism is not physical but ideal. How might a functionalist respond?
  • 4. How might a functionalist argue against behaviorism? Does the functionalist have a better account than the behaviorist? Why, or why not?
  • 5. What can we learn from the evolution of human attempts to account for the mind in nature and solve the mind-body problem? Does the mind-body problem have a solution? Why, or why not?
 
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