more from Hilary Putnam

Single Idea 2331

[catalogued under 17. Mind and Body / C. Functionalism / 2. Machine Functionalism]

Full Idea

My "functionalism" insisted that a robot, a human being, a silicon creature and a disembodied spirit could all work much the same way when described at the relevant level of abstraction, and it is wrong to think the essence of mind is hardware.

Gist of Idea

Functionalism says robots and people are the same at one level of abstraction


Hilary Putnam (Representation and Reality [1988], Int p.xii)

Book Reference

Putnam,Hilary: 'Representation and Reality' [MIT 1992], p.-7

A Reaction

This is the key point about the theory - that it is an abstract theory of mind, saying nothing about substances. It drew, however, some misguided criticisms suggesting silly implementations.