Functionalist Respond To a Phenomenon
Functionalism work under the prediction that there are methodical transformations of the sensory input which are followed by the behavioral accommodation where the normal function is restored (Cole 207). The restoration is such that the effects and causes of the psychological state of the subject return to that of the period before the transformation. Such a transformation represents an inverted spectrum likelihood (Cole 207). The physical possibility of acquiring spectrum inversion disproves the view that is held by functionalism. However, such a refutation of functionalism cannot be based on qualia inversion existence. The refutation can only be said to have occurred when it persists subsequently to the behavioral accommodation of such an inversion. One criticism of functionalism is that it does not account for qualia. Considering the inverted spectrum problem that Churchland discussed, according to which it is conceivable that where most people see green, another sees red (and vice versa). The exceptional person does not know that she sees red when others see green; in fact, when she sees green, she calls it “red,” and she proceeds through traffic lights that appear red to her but green to others (and which she calls green). The functionalist will not agree that a person with inverted spectrum will see red where everyone else saw green.
Functionalists agree that when an inverted spectrum occurs and the normal function of the sensory sense is not restored, then their main prediction can be refuted. Functionalists contend that inverted spectrum can happen, but the behavioral accommodation helps to revert it to the normal function. The use of the expression “he sees red where other…” works under the normal expression that the meaning that the functionalists give to red is the same to that of others and that there is an agreement on the naming of the colors. Thus, in any instance where the person sees red when all other people would say that they saw green, we would say that that particular person is different from us (Block 3). How will we behave in such a case? The functionalists will look for the cause of the difference in the judgment of the individual with the inverted qualia. If a reason for the difference is found, there will be a greater level of inclination towards saying that the person saw red where others saw green.
The inverted spectrum hypothesis that is presented above commits the supporters of the inverted spectrum to something that they will not agree. There are technological developments such as reversal of color in TVs and Virtual Reality Goggles. Many vision scientists can agree that the same color transformation can be achieved by the circuits that are embedded in the brain and the eye based on the “wires crossed” terminology that was first used by Putnam in 1981 (Block 4). In the cases of seeing green as red, the main question is why the scenario is not always the case. Once an admission is made that the scenario would happen due to peculiar circumstances, then the scenario must always happen. The very ideal of someone seeing red loses its function if it can never be known if the other does not see something as totally different. Can we say that inverted spectrum can only happen in limited instances? It is never known whether new circumstances would not show that after all, the person merely saw what everyone else saw (Block4). However, this whole notion does not have to be introduced. Can a person not imagine that all the people who are blind see just as well as everyone else, but are just behaving differently; and conversely imagine that the person is really blind? When all such possibilities can be imagined, then the integral question which does not need an answer makes great sense.
There are counterarguments to the position of the functionalists. This can be hypothesized based on the argument that the spectrum inversion is a possible scenario where the nonvert and invert are functionally the same or alike. The implication of the argument above is that the mental sense does not supervene on an individual’s functional organization. The other argument is that of the functionalism of false (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). Functionalism allows philosophers to deny the point that two organizations that occupy a similar psychological state when the behavioral dispositions and behaviors are identical. Functionalists do this to avoid behaviorism objections. This shows that the functionalist does not deny the existence of behaviorally undetected inversions. The above statement is based on two key issues, i.e., any realistic version of the functionalist theory would be very complicated, and no single person has ever articulated the mental state functionalist’s theory (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). The likelihood qualia inversion possibility portend a grave prima facie argument of the accounts of functionalism criteria for the psychological states identity types. The Block’s Inverted Earth has also been used to argue against the position of functionalists. The theory is used to counter some objections to the arguments of intra and interpersonal inversion hypothesis. The functionalists often focus on short-arm roles that are only skin deep but Block moves towards the real things in the world. Block then argues that after spending a suitable amount of time in the inverted Earth, the beliefs and judgment of a person would be correct. After a while on the Inverted Earth, the inner states of a person that were reliably caused by red things on Earth will instead be reliably caused by green. Some of the counterarguments such as Block's have been disapproved. First, the asymmetries of color space and other additional complications, as well as the details of the inverting lenses which would be achieved after traveling into an Inverted Earth, is a biological possibility.
In conclusion, the functionalist will not agree that a person with inverted spectrum will see red where everyone else saw green. The functionalists respond that the inverted spectrum can occur, but the behavioral accommodation helps to revert it to the normal function. The physical possibility of acquiring spectrum inversion disproves the view that is held by functionalism. However, such a refutation of functionalism cannot be based on qualia inversion existence. The counterargument is that that spectrum inversion is a possible scenario where the nonvert and invert are functionally the same or alike. The focus of functionalists should thus be on explaining of the occurrence of the situation and how then a person can revert from the behavioral accommodation.
Block, Ned. "Wittgenstein and Qualia."NYU, 2007, www.nyu.edu/gsas/dept/philo/faculty/block/papers/Block_Putnam.pdf. Accessed 23 Nov. 2017.
Cole, David. "Functionalism and inverted spectra."Synthese, vol. 82, no. 2, 1990, pp. 207-222.
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. "Inverted Qualia."Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1 Apr. 2015, plato.stanford.edu/entries/qualia-inverted/#HAgBehFunPhy. Accessed 23 Nov. 2017.
- Quote paper
- David Onditi (Author), 2017, Functionalist respond to qualia inversion, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/434686