While acquiring knowledge on the topics of Functionalism and
Physicalism, I ran across many disagreement between the two. Interestingly,
those disagreements gave me an impression of different sides arguing with their
own support from their own theories. As if an Arabian and a Roman were arguing
about whether the number eleven is an 'Arabic' number or a 'Roman' number.
Though, as I read more and more of the readings (especially Putnam's), I started
to see a pattern that led me to think that maybe Functionalism is compatible with
Physicalism after all; that these two theories can coexist.
The claim above is based on the information gathered in the two readings
assigned and therefore, I should go step by step in order to arrive at my
conclusion that they can indeed coexist. First, I draw Ned Block's elaboration on
Metaphysical Functionalism as a start of my argument. As Block suggests,
Metaphysical Functionalism is mainly concern about what mental states are;
instead of a psychological explanation (Block, p.
172). Moreover, they concern
themselves with mental state type; not a specific token of the type. As in the case
of pain, they are concerned with a mental state called pain, and not of particular
pains (i.e. stomach-ache, pin-pricks, etc.). But, according to Putnam, if the
Physicalists does indeed attributes the name 'physical states' to the enormous
number of mental states we humans have, then, I think it would be impossible for
them to be concerned only with the type and not the tokens. But once they started
to consider each specific pain (token), they will have to ascribe a different
physical-chemical state to each token-state. Ultimately, the common thing 'to all
pains in virtue of which they are pains (Block, p. 172)' cannot be put in terms of a
single physical state.