from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The doctrine that the function of an object should determine its design and materials.
  • n. A doctrine stressing purpose, practicality, and utility.
  • n. Philosophy The doctrine in the philosophy of mind according to which mental states are defined by their causes and effects.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A doctrine, in several fields, that the function of something should be reflected in its design and the materials used in its construction
  • n. The definition of mental states in terms of their causes and effects
  • n. The idea that social and cultural cohesion are a function of the interdependence and interactions of the institutions of a society
  • n. A general school of thought that considers psychological phenomena in terms of their role in adaptation to the person's environment

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. a psychology based on the assumption that all mental process are useful to an organism in adapting to the environment.
  • n. any doctrine that stresses utility or purpose.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a psychology based on the assumption that all mental process are useful to an organism in adapting to the environment
  • n. any doctrine that stresses utility or purpose


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

functional +‎ -ism


  • In many ways, neo-functionalism is hard-wired into the EU, certainly among the Eurocrats in Brussels.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » The EU SPV

  • As is Dennett's functionalism, which is a denial of mental states at all, including "intent", which is what Schwartz is relying upon.

    Bunny and a Book

  • Philosophical behaviourism has long been rejected; what was worth keeping has been appropriated by the philosophical doctrine of functionalism, which is the most widely accepted view in philosophy of mind today.

    Gilbert Ryle

  • As far as the notion of functionalism in architecture is concerned, it cannot be assumed that such ideas refer back to Ruskinian theories.

    Ruskin's Originality

  • Later structuralists tend to think of Radcliffe-Brown as a functionalist (Lévi-Strauss speaks of “that primary form of structuralism which is called functionalism”; AS, p. 357), and to attribute to him two errors of judgment: first the belief that every feature of every society has an explicit function, second the belief that the structure of society is to be observed directly, as a surface phenomenon.


  • The reasons given for this, if they are given, may be in relation to their particular forms and stylistic qualities, or it may be due to their relative absence, being influenced by a kind of functionalism and minimalism.

    Continuity, Beauty and Dignity within the Liturgical Arts and their Development

  • As Norman ROBERTSON’s closest colleague, Wrong devised and honed the idea of functionalism, a principle which argued that in those areas in which Canada had the resources of a great power – food, minerals, air power – she should be treated like a great power.

    Why I Love Book Hunting: Bowen, Google and Wrong

  • Though the term 'functionalism' is used to designate a variety of positions in a variety of other disciplines, including psychology, sociology, economics, and architecture, this entry focuses exclusively on functionalism as a philosophical thesis about the nature of mental states.

    the Foresight Institute

  • Slide 15: Oversimpli fi ed notions of VM used by many philosophers Some philosophers who know about Finite State Machines (FSMs), use a simple kind of "functionalism"

    Recently Uploaded Slideshows

  • Computationalism is a kind of functionalism that holds (a) that mental states are type-identical to functional states and token-identical to physical states (Figure

    Ethical Technology


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