Philosophy Lexicon of Arguments

Functional role, philosophy: we speak of a functional role when we do not know exactly what the object is, that fulfills this role, however, we can describe the function and its impact. See also role, function, function analysis.
Author Item Excerpt Meta data
Schiffer, Stephen
Books on Amazon
Functional Role I 21
Functional Property/Schiffer: is derived from the notion of a functional role - Definition functional role/Schiffer: simply any property 2nd order, of a state-type 2. order, its possession means that the possession of this Z-type is causal or counterfactual to other Z-types, namely, to output, input, distal objects and their properties - 1. a given physical Z type has an indeterminate number of functional roles. - 2. Two different physical Z-types may have the same functional role - Definition functional property/Schiffer. Each functional role uniquely determines a functional property - if F is an f role, then the functional property is expressed by the open sentence: x is a token of a Z-type which has F -((s). The functional property is a token of the physical state-type which has this and the role. In short: property = to be token of the type with the role) - Type here always "physically") - properties belong to tokens - rolls to types, e.g. the neural Z-type H (hunger) has different functional roles in different people, because it is not triggered for all by pizza smell (various inputs.)
I 23
Then you can correlate propositions with functional roles and a belief-property with a functional property - for every proposition p, there is a functional role F so that a belief that p = to be a state token of the state-type that has the role F.
I 26
The criterion that a Z-token n is a belief that p that n is a token of a Z-type which has the functional role, which is correlated with the definition of BelT p.
I 29
Verbs for propositional attitudes get their meaning through their functional role.
I 30
Folk Psychology: 3 types of generalization: 1. functional roles for influencing beliefs among themselves - 2. input conditions for perception (cannot be part of the common knowledge) - 3. output conditions for actions - problem: E.g. blind people can have our belief, but not our folk psychology.
I 33f
SchifferVsFolk Psychology: problem: the theory will often provide the same functional role for different beliefs (belief) simultaneously - SchifferVsLoar: according to him from Bel T follows # (that snow is = Bel T#(that grass is green) - then both have the same T-correlated functional role.
I 276
N.B.: although the uniqueness condition is a very weak condition - it is not sufficient for: that one is in a particular belief-state that is linked to them: - E.g. "if p is true, one believes that p" - N.B.: "p" occurs inside and outside of the belief context - therefore, the theory will say something unique about p - problem: in the uniqueness condition the variables for propositions only occur within belief contexts. Then all beliefs of the same logical form have the same functional role.
I 34
All that does not differentiate the belief that dinosaurs are extinct, from that, that fleas are mortal - problem: there is a lack of input: "rules that do not relate to perception".
I 35
Twin Earth/SchifferVsFolk Psychology: must be false because in the twin earth, a different belief has the same functional role. - E.g. Ralph believes there are cats - twin earth Ralph believes - "there are cats" (but there are twin earth cats) - therefore twin earth Ralph does not believe that there are cats - i.e. so two different beliefs but same functional role - twin earth Ralph is in the same neural Z-type N - the specification of belief might require reference to cats, but the counterfactual nature of the condition would ensure that N is satisfied for twin earth Ralph - N.B.: that does not follow from a truth about functional roles in general, but with respect to the theory T* (folk psychology) - Outside the folk psychology: "every token of "cat" is triggered by the sight of a cat" - wrong solution: platitude: "typically triggered by cats". Cannot be a necessary condition - in addition there are twin earth-examples, where typical belief is unreliable for one's own truth - VsDescription: no solution: "The thing in front of me".
I 38 f
Burge: no functional role can determine what one believes (is not about twin earth, but wrongly used terms).
I 286f
Belief/SchifferVsLoar: problem: his realization of a theory of belief/desires - (as a function of propositions on physical states) - whose functional roles are determined by the theory: problem: to find a theory that correlates each proposition with a single functional role instead of a lot - Schiffer: thesis: that will not work, therefore the Quine-field argument is settled.

Schi I
St. Schiffer
Remnants of Meaning Cambridge 1987

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2017-04-29