Hilary Putnam and the mind of Aristotle

Aristotle’s ideas had been dismissed in many quarters of the philosophical world as expressions of a bygone pre-scientific age. But Putnam saw through the dismissive haze to the empirically- and
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Few people have influenced contemporary philosophy of mind as profoundly as the late Hilary Putnam. One of his best known contributions was the formulation of functionalism. As he understood it, functionalism claims that mental states are functional states—postulates of abstract descriptions, like those employed in computer science, which ignore a system’s physical details and focus instead on the ways it correlates inputs with outputs. Psychological descriptions in particular focus on the ways a system correlates sensory inputs with behavioral outputs, and mental states are the internal states that correlate the two. By the mid-1970s functionalism had become the dominant outlook in philosophy of mind. But Putnam, showing his characteristic independence of mind, became dissatisfied with the view. He did not retreat to substance dualism or idealism. He was convinced that we are physical beings whose capacities are essentially embodied in the physical mechanisms that compose us, yet he. . .

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News source: OUPblog » Philosophy

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