The Thoroughly Modern Aristotle: Was He Really a Functionalist?

Green, Christopher D. (1998) The Thoroughly Modern Aristotle: Was He Really a Functionalist? [Journal (On-line/Unpaginated)]

Full text available as:



In recent years a debate has developed over whether Aristotle's theory of the psuchê is properly characterized as having been "functionalist" in the sense that contemporary computational cognitive scientists claim to be adherents of that position. It is argued here that there are indeed some similarities between Aristotle's theory and that of contemporary functionalists, but that the differences between them make it misleading, at best, for functionalists to look to Aristotle for ancient support. In particular, it is argued that Aristotle would not have -- indeed, specifically did not -- support the claim, central to functionalism, that the mind can, in principle, be transported from one body to another simply by instantiating in the new body some set of organizational properties that were instantiated in the old.

Item Type:Journal (On-line/Unpaginated)
Keywords:functionalism, Aristotle, philosophy, transportabilty, history
Subjects:Philosophy > Metaphysics
Philosophy > Philosophy of Mind
Philosophy > Philosophy of Science
ID Code:1370
Deposited By:Green, Christopher D.
Deposited On:15 Mar 2001
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:54

References in Article

Select the SEEK icon to attempt to find the referenced article. If it does not appear to be in cogprints you will be forwarded to the paracite service. Poorly formated references will probably not work.

Barnes, J. (1979). Aristotle's concept of mind. In J. Barnes, M. Schofield, & R. Sorabji (Eds.), Articles on Aristotle: Vol. 4. Psychology and aesthetics (pp. 32-41). London: Duckworth. (Originally published in Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 1971-2)

Burnyeat, M. F. (1992). Is an Aristotelian philosophy of mind still credible? (A draft). In Nussbaum, M. C. & Rorty, A. O. (Eds.), Essays on Aristotle's De anima (pp. 15-26). Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Durrant, M. (Ed.) (1993). Aristotle's De anima in focus. London: Routledge.

Everson, S. (1995). Psychology. In J. Barnes (Ed.), The Cambridge companion to Aristotle (pp. 168-194). Cambridge,

England: Cambridge University Press.

Feigl, H. (1970). Mind-body, not a pseudo-problem. In C. V. Borst (Ed.), The mind-brain identity theory (pp. 33-42).

London: Macmillan. (Original work published 1960)

Fodor, J. A. (1968). Psychological explanation: An introduction to the philosophy of psychology. New York: Random House.

Fodor, J. A. (1975). The language of thought. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Fodor, J. A. (1981). Representations: Philosophical essays on the foundations of cognitive science. Cambridge, MA:

MIT Press.

Lawson-Tancred, H. (1986). Introduction. In Aristotle, De anima (H. Lawson-Tancred, Trans., pp. 11-116). London: Penguin.

Nussbaum, M. C. (1978). Aristotle's De motu animalium. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Nussbaum, M. C. (1984). Aristotelian dualism: Reply to Howard Robinson. In J. Annas (Ed.), Oxford studies in ancient philosophy (Vol. 2, pp. 197-207). Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Nussbaum, M. C. & Putnam, H. (1992). Changing Aristotle's mind. In Nussbaum, M. C. & Rorty, A. O. (Eds.), Essays on

Aristotle's De anima (pp. 27-56). Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Philoponus, John (1991). On Aristotle on the intellect (W. Charlton, Trans.). London: Duckwoth. (Original work written ca. 550)

Place, U. T. (1956). Is consciousness a brain process? British Journal of Psychology, 47, 44-50.

Putnam, H. (1975). Minds and machines. In H. Putnam, Mind, language, and reality: Philosophical Papers (Vol. 2).

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (Original work published 1960)

Putnam, H. (1975). Philosophy and our mental life. Philosophical papers: Vol. 2. Mind, language, and reality (pp. 291-303). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (Paper originally presented in 1973)

Putnam, H. (1988). Representation and reality. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Robinson, H. M. (1978). Mind and body in Aristotle. Classical Quarterly, N.S. 28, 105-124.

Robinson, H. M. (1983). Aristotelian dualism. In J. Annas (Ed.), Oxford studies in ancient philosophy (Vol. 1, pp. 123-144). Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Rorty, R. (1970). Incorrigibility as the mark of the mental. Journal of Philosophy, 67, 399-424.

Ryle, G. (1949). The concept of mind. New York: Barnes & Noble.

Shields, C. (1988). Soul and body in Aristotle. In J. Annas (Ed.), Oxford studies in ancient philosophy (Vol. 6, pp.

103-136). Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Shields, C. (1990). The first functionalist. In J-C. Smith (Ed.), Historical foundations of cognitive science (pp. 19-33). Dordrecht, Netherlands: Kluwer.

Smart, J. J. C. (1970). Sensation and brain processes. In C. V. Borst (Ed.), The mind-brain identity theory (pp. 52-66).

London: Macmillan. (Original work published 1959)

Sorabji, R. (1974). Body and soul in Aristotle. Philosophy, 49, 63-89.


Repository Staff Only: item control page