raw_thought wrote:. . . Functionalism is the proposition that mental states are defined by what they do and not by what they are. In other words, if they are or not experiential is irrelevant. I think that is a disingenuous redefinition of mental state. It is like saying, " pain is me saying ouch."
However, this post is irrelevant to the topic. Asking if an eliminative materialist is a functionalist is like aaking if he is a Republican or Democrat.
And functionalism should not be not an open invitation for magic or miracles. For instance, it would be "useful" for an organism to be able to teleport away from a pouncing predator. However, the primal properties of physics don't permit teleportation to emerge from their combinations for macroscopic organizations via biological evolution. This or that physical substrate does
place constraints on what is functionally possible. Schemes dealing with function are employing abstract concepts; they not introducing a new, potent level that can seize causal responsibility for experience / qualia from brain tissue, electronic hardware, hydraulic networks of pipes and valves, etc. Another way to put this:
Clocks can be physically realized in a variety of ways, but their generic function is to indicate what time it is. Nevertheless, that function is abstract and should have no causal powers in and of itself (fallacy of reification, of treating abstract entities as real or concrete). One can contend that the "idea of designing something with the purpose of indicating what time it is" is needed beforehand to initiate the construction of such a device. But in materialism, is it some floating non-physical concept (this function _X_) that is really the stimulating / guiding cause (what makes something possible)? Or instead what physically realizes such ideas on each specific occasion (like a memory substantiated by a substrate of neural structure, writing on paper, exploded diagram, etc). Should be the latter in materialism.
Accordingly, if the "function" of a bitter taste quale for the human body is supposed to be the responsible agency that brings said quale about (or even what constitutes the quale), that would not be part of a literal level of abstract entities which float independently of all physical substrates, but the very organization of a specific physical substrate which concretely realizes such use. Which therefore does not truly introduce a new party to assume responsibility for engendering a "bitter taste" quale, etc (i.e., a functional level). It still boils down to explaining what there is about the nature of biological tissue and chemistry, and an elementary physics below that, which can have a phenomenal property fall out of it as a consequence rather than as a brute addon.