Analytic functionalism

Wolfgang Schwarz*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)


    David Lewis’s position, often called analytic functionalism, was inspired by Ryle’s analytic behaviorism, which took psychological predicates to express complex sets of behavioral dispositions. In this chapter, the author reviews some tenets of Lewis’s philosophy of mind and begins with some comments on the methodology Lewis employed in his analysis of psychological terms, which has become standard in functionalist accounts across philosophy. Then, he discusses the difference between what are often called “realizer functionalism” and “role functionalism,” and argues that Lewis made the wrong choice. In Lewis’s argument for the identity theory, the identity of mental states with biological states follows logically from folk-psychological definitions and broadly physical facts. A central part of folk psychology concerns the interaction of beliefs, desires, and choices. The chapter presents Lewis’s often misunderstood account of intentionality. It also presents few pessimistic remarks on the prospect of analyzing phenomenal truths in terms of functional role.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationA Companion to David Lewis
    Number of pages15
    ISBN (Electronic)9781118398593
    ISBN (Print)9781118388181
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


    Dive into the research topics of 'Analytic functionalism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this