Functionalism and Behaviorism

Functionalism and Behaviorism Essay example
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[Professor’s Name] [Writer’s Name] [Course Title] [Date] 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.


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. ...
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