StudentShare solutions
Triangle menu

Functionalism and Behaviorism - Essay Example


Extract of sample
Functionalism and Behaviorism

Functionalism is an American school of thought that originated in the late 19th or early 20th century and is based upon the theory that behavior is to be analyzed according to the way the human brain adapts and responds to the environment the individual is in. Functionalists are concerned with the functions that the brain performs in order to conform an individual to his/her environment (Putnam, pp.410-412). Opposed to this school of thought, is behaviorism, which is a school of thought that believes in using human responses to stimulus or objective behavior of individuals as its point of research and is not concerned about the environment at large or any other intermediary factors (Ryle, pp. 56-58). This paper will seek to identify the differences between functionalism and behaviorism with reference to the works of psychologists and scholars such as Lewis, Ryle, and Putnam. An evaluation of the arguments supporting both theories will be provided. While functionalism attempts to explain the mental states of individuals with reference to the functions that the brain performs and the role that a function plays within the human brain, behaviorism is an antecedent of functionalism and differs from functionalism by claiming that human behavior is a science within itself through the control of certain environmental factors. Behaviorism promised to build a science of human behavior that was as explanatory as any other medical science that was aiming to explain the reaction of two chemical processes.

Check these samples - they also fit your topic

Analytical review of three chapters as editor of book on psychology
Early in the discussion, it is stated that reductionism owes its legitimacy to the discovery of atoms and molecules, the fundamental building blocks of the universe. However, this was before the days of the Hadron Collider which now explores sub-atomic particles like bosons, neutrons etc.
3 pages (750 words) Essay
Behaviorism Name Institution Abstract John B. Watson established the psychological school of thought pertaining to behaviorism. Evidently, in Watson’s psychology review paper, the fundamental precincts of behaviorism were based on notion that beliefs could be changed, trained and measured.
4 pages (1000 words) Essay
According to the paper the behaviorist approach gives much more emphasis on external stimuli and assumes that much of the learned behavior is an outcome of the external factors which can be observed objectively giving little or no significance to internal stimuli. The deliberate ignoring of cognitive processes and role of biological factors in human behavior.
6 pages (1500 words) Essay
Philosophy Functionalism
Behaviorism identified mental states with behavioral dispositions; physicalism in its most influential version identifies mental states with brain states. According to functionalism, mental states are constituted by their causal relations to one another and to sensory inputs and behavioral outputs.
3 pages (750 words) Essay
The theory stresses on the concept that internal psychological processes are not necessary for explanation of behaviors; rather they are influenced by the external not an internal (mind) environment. The idea of observable behavior made it easier to collect and calculate the information during the research conduction.
3 pages (750 words) Essay
m mainly focused on how modern, capitalist, and secular societies managed to be stable despite the decline of the church nobility and the ruling elites of the older days. Durkheim argued that specialization, division of labor, and diversity characterized the modern society
2 pages (500 words) Essay
The Relationship Between Phenomenal Consciousness And Access Consciousness
This is to say that this type of consciousness has the experimental state or properties which demonstrate i.e. “what an item is like.” Such states are achieved by such senses as feelings, and perceptions, with exceptions of thought,
6 pages (1500 words) Essay
In a strict maximum of 6 pages (double space), answer the following question: Is functionalism true Defend your answer
Physicalism excludes creatures without brains but have minds. However, this same exclusion that functionalism condemns physicalism are equally applicable to functionalism. This is because when functionalism avoids liberalism, it
6 pages (1500 words) Essay
In relation to the theory of behaviorism, students were expected to learn only basic skills such as arithmetic, reading and writing. According to behaviorism theory, learning is a permanent change is behavior that has little to
1 pages (250 words) Essay
The “mentalistic” psychology often showed much difficulty to the psychologists in relation to the disorder’s diagnosis and making of predictions concerning this disorder that was frequently tested using rigorous
3 pages (750 words) Essay
Behaviorism was highly successful in examining animal psychology and observing “logical behavior patterns” in humans to gauge their reaction to certain events. However, the critics of behaviorism found that the theory was unable to explain the reason for the existence of such behavior. Mere observation and logic were not able to properly explain why stimuli reacted in the manner that it did to the controlled variables of the environment. An improved school of thought that was “logical behaviorism” seeked to describe mental states with logical behavior patterns following them. To illustrate an example, if it is supposed that Person A is angry, then the explanation of behaviorism to this is that Person A is in a state in which they are likely to scream and shout. However, there are not always normal explanations for behavior and nor are there always normal reactions to all mental states. Some people may tend to scream and shout when they are angry, as this is an expected reaction; however some people may differ in their reactions and may not prefer to act in this manner. Hence, behavioral tendencies cannot be generalized or the reason for such actions cannot be explained through mere observation and controlling certain environmental factors (Ryle, pp. 89-91). Functionalists describe mental states in scientific terms and attempt to form connections between the reactions of the human brain and behavior. There were mainly three overlapping states or schools of functionalism, the first of which was Machinist Functionalism derived by Putnam (Putnam, pg. 420). Putnam suggested that any living thing with a brain could be regarded as a digital computer whose behavior can be defined through a set of instructions. The behavior of the individual results from an input, an internal process, which will then result in an output (behavior). Hence, behavior was described in systematic terms. While the importance of
Cite this document
  • APA
  • MLA
(“Functionalism and Behaviorism Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 750 words”, n.d.)
Retrieved from
(Functionalism and Behaviorism Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 750 Words)
“Functionalism and Behaviorism Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 750 Words”, n.d.
  • Cited: 0 times


Functionalism and Behaviorism Psychology is a highly diverse discipline, which aims to understand the functioning of the human brain and the behavior of human beings in relation to this. Unlike medical studies, which seek to understand the human body, psychology is not an exact science…
Author : jordonnitzsche
Download 2
Functionalism and Behaviorism
Read Text Preview
Comments (0)
Click to create a comment
Let us find you another Essay on topic Functionalism and Behaviorism for FREE!
Contact us:
Contact Us Now
FREE Mobile Apps:
  • About StudentShare
  • Testimonials
  • FAQ
  • Blog
  • Free Essays
  • New Essays
  • Essays
  • The Newest Essay Topics
  • Index samples by all dates
Join us:
Contact Us