The a mental state is computational state of the

The goal of this paper will be
to understand the theory of mind known as Machine functionalism. The theory
states that every process that the human brain takes is very similar that of a
computer processor. This could be just stated as the mind is a computer program
and a mental state is computational state of the program. This brings many
questions into our understanding of consciousness, and thoughts about
artificial intelligence. Is it possible for us who don’t even understand our
own consciousness to create a machine that is conscious? I believe that machine
functionalism and generic functionalism gives us several definitions by which
it could be possible on a certain scale.

                        I will discuss the ideas that Hillary Putnam
was first brought up when he created the theory. The Turing Test will be a
central concept, which this paper will revolve around. Then I will present how
I believe that machine functionalism is in my mind the best understanding of
human consciousness. However, this does not mean the theory comes without
problems at all. There are numerous faults with this view. Because computers
could be sometimes described as an inaccurate model for brain states.  I will discuss John Searle’s views on machine
functionalism and his famous “Chinese Room Argument” in response to the entire

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Basics of Machine functionalism

                        Functionalism is the principle that what
makes something into a specific idea, or some other sort of mental state does
not depends on its constitution, but rather exclusively on its capacity, or the
part it plays, in the psychological arrangement of which it is a section. All
the more correctly, functionalist speculations take the character of a mental
state to be dictated by its causal relations to tactile incitements, other
mental states, and conduct.

                        The theory of functionalism may describe
“pain” as a state that has a tendency to be caused by some sort of
injury or damage, to create the conviction that something isn’t right with the
body and does not want to feel that way. The state of pain then produces
anxiety. As indicated by this theory, all living beings such as animals with
internal states that meet these conditions, or assume these parts, are fit for
being in “pain”. Functionalism is broken down into a simple
definition such as the mind is a complex system of integrated functional states
in virtue of which its possessor responds to its surroundings and its own
internal states. A mental state type X is a functional type that satisfies a
particular description. Therefore, any mental properties are functional
properties. Mental state tokens are individuated by their functional role
within a system.

introduces the idea to us that mental states are multiply realized. As it is in
its basic form functionalism is a theory about the nature of mental states.
Therefore, it is defined as an ontological or metaphysical theory. It can be
understood that Functionalism’s basic premise is that what makes any mental
state the specific mental state it is, is by having a certain causal role.
Functionalists understand that there is a possibility that specific systems
such as humans, machines, and spirits all have mental states.

History of

In its most basic form functionalism is a
contemporary view that originated in the 1960s and early 1970s. One of the most
famous people attached to the theory of functionalism was Hillary Putnam, who
has since given up on the theory. However, has contributed much to its
prominent rise. Functionalism has been related with computationalism, which
holds that mental processes are computational manipulations. Functionalism has
likewise been related with the possibility of multiple realizability, which
expresses that different physical types can acknowledged a specific mental

Functionalism was created in response to the
problems confronting the two main versions of physicalism of the time: logical
behaviourism and the psychophysical type?type
identity theory. Logical behaviorism meant to explain normal mental terms or
ideas, for example, belief and pain, exclusively as far as behavioral criteria
involving actual or dispositional behaviour.

Hillary Putnam’s Work

In a list of articles starting in the late 1960s,
Putnam set forward a view about the connection between the psyche and mind,
which came to be known as “Functionalism”. Putnam additionally watched that
function and structure don’t remain in a coordinated correspondence. A similar
capacity can be performed in various physical frameworks, a claim known as the
“multiple realizability” proposal. Putnam drew a similarity between
human thinking and machines such as computers; which have hardware (the brain)
and programming (the mind) that are in like manner disjointed. Consequently,
functions can’t be portrayed in purely material terms. Decisively in light of
the fact that there are different physical frameworks in which a given capacity
can be performed, mental properties and exercises can’t be exceptionally
lessened to physical properties and procedures. Putnam was persuaded that we
are physical creatures whose limits are basically embodied in the physical
systems that form us. I believe that Hillary Putnam was a huge influence on
many philosophers delving into the ideas of machine intelligence, and his work
paved the way for many ideas to be purposed.

However, later on in life Hillary Putnam eventually
rejected his ideas of functionalism. One of Putnam’s most important
contributions to functionalism is the core meaning “functional states are brain
states”. Hillary Putnam has set the groundwork for the ideas of machine
functionalism even if he rejects his own claims later in life.

Possibility of artificial intelligence

Now begins the main point of this paper, the
discussion of the possibility of true artificial intelligence. This issue has
been debated heavily throughout recent years however I truly believe that with
ideas presented from machine functionalism I will be able to demonstrate the
possibility that it is artificial intelligence and our own intelligence might
be the same thing. Functionalisms as I would see it causes us accomplish two
things. To start with, instead of the behaviorist system, it importantly
exhibits the way that mental states must be inner states with functional causal
parts. Also, rather than haughty disposition in the identity theory, it opens
up a broadly liberal point of view through which any sort of being/framework
(e.g. PCs, souls, and other non-human life-forms) that can breeze through
Turing Test is qualified as a clever being. The Turing Test is an important
factor to artificial intelligence, which I will discuss later on in this paper.

According to the theory of functionalism, mental
states are functional states. Computers are themselves basically machines that
actualize these specific functions. Therefore, as indicated by functionalism,
mental states resemble the product conditions of a computer. From this point on
understanding the theory of functionalism make a person see the specific
similarities between people and machines. It becomes easier for a person to
imagine himself as just a computer executing specifics commands and using
programs as emotions.

By following the logic present throughout the
theories of functionalism and this paper so far, it is possible to create a
machine that would be able to execute specific program that would give it
mental states. Therefore the machine would have something similar to that of a
“Mind”. If the machine would have this “mind” it would be able to think for
itself, experience pain or sadness. Therefore if a machine has all this
pre-requisites it could be considered “intelligent”.

However, all of this is possible only if we
consider functionalism is true. The ideas of functionalism are the center point
of my entire argumentation. Therefore if there was any doubt, I will re-iterate
that functionalism in the best theory of mind that presents the possibility of
true artificial intelligence to exist.

Since the beginning of the discussions on
artificial intelligence began there is a large divide in the definition of what
could be considered a machine that has achieved human level artificial
intelligence. This continues into my next point on the realities of achieving
this intelligence.


Strong A.I. vs. weak

            Philosophers and scientists have
coined two specific terms and definitions for the various types of artificial
intelligence that might exist. I will begin by explaining the simpler and
unnecessary version for this paper first. John Searle defined weak artificial
intelligence to be “weak form: an AI system can only act like
it thinks and has a mind”. Searle claims that “weak” artificial intelligence is
not a true form of actual intelligence, and is only used as a tool. It could be
interpreted in such a way, that the “weak” A.I. is executing a simulation of
true cognitive thinking but not actually thinking. I agree with John Searle, on
this specific point. Because “weak” A.I. is not truly smart. However, I believe
that “weak’ artificial intelligence in not important to the argumentation of
existence of true intelligence.

we have the other definition of artificial intelligence. I consider this one to
be the most important one to prove that machine functionalism gives the
definite means to prove true human level machine thinking. “Strong” AI, then
again, implies that the effectively composed program running on a machine
really is a “mind” – that is, there is no basic contrast between a
bit of programming precisely copying the activities of the mind, and the
activities of an individual, including their comprehension and any idea of true
consciousness. John Searle rejects this view of A.I. however I will discuss
that in a later section of this paper. “Strong” A.I. is the exact definition of
what true artificial intelligence should be. Machine functionalism is more
aligned to agree with the “strong” version of A.I. Because it is a functional
machine that dictates the specific function states in is in.  I believe that “Strong” A.I. will create a
function for the computational state that the machine is currently in and,
deliver consciousness into its mental states.


                                                                                         Turing Machines

One of
the most important unifying parts in machine functionalism is the Turing
Machines. A Turing machine was named after the inventor Alan Turing in 1936. The
purpose of the Turing machines was “to
serve as an idealized model for mathematical calculation” (Weinstein). The
Turing Machine is a very basic version of a computing machine that acts according
to a list of rules provided to it.  “A
Turing machine can be called a kind of “state” machine ” (Baker-Plummer). In
simpler terms that means that the machine at any given time will be in one of a
finite set of specific “states”. Turing machines are just simple scanners,
because they read specific instructions and interpret that as the input of
action. In conclusion a Turing machine
follows a set of instructions that is its program that specifies its activities

       Putnam compared the
human mind to basic Turing machines. “Putnam claims that the mind is a type of
“Probabilistic Automaton” (Putnam 1973/2002, 75).  By this Putnam is trying to convey that a
Turing machine is where the transitions between states of a system are
probabilistic and not deterministic (Putnam 1973/2002, 75). Later on Jaegwom
Kim, later tried to elaborate on Putnam’s explanation. “Roughly, something has a mind if it is a Turing Machine of sufficient
complexity, and its mental-states are identified with the internal states of
the Turing Machine” (Kim 2006, p. 133).

       This is important to my argument because
of the specific implications it has on both human intelligence and artificial
intelligence. Because in theory if both functionalism is true and Turing
machines work correctly it means people can be defined as Turing machines.
Because for something to have a concrete mind is to mean it realizes it is a
complex Turing machine.


       The Turing Test is an important example
demonstrating the possibility of true “Strong” artificial intelligence. The
Turing test is intended to decide if a system is sufficiently intricate enough
to consider having true intelligence. The test in Turing’s eyes would be used
to detect if machines have finally developed enough processing power to perfectly
imitate humans. Thus, it was called “The Imitation Game”. However, Alan
Turing’s imitation game has filled 40 years of discussion, with minimal
indication of ever ending. On one side of the argument it states that,
human-like interaction is viewed as significant to human-like
“intelligence”. An effective AI is useless if its knowledge lies
caught in a simple program.

never particularly states the “official criteria” for what he
considers passing his test. In any case, he portrays a specific level of
achievement that he accepts would be sensible to expect inside 50 years.
However, that has not happened yet and the Turing test is still taught to this
day. There is a lot of controversy about whether this is or isn’t a decent test
for artificial intelligence. Not everyone thinks that the Turing test is a
valid way of testing. There are some who protect the Turing Test as a decent
test for machine intelligence since they trust that the test requests a unique
sort of behavior, and they trust that intelligence comprises in being cable of
acting in a specific way.

       However, I believe that the Turing test
is a valid way of partially testing artificial intelligence. It may not
outright be able to imitate human-level thought processing. However, it may act
as an learning experience for the A.I. If functionalism is true and human
thinking is similar of that to a computer, then the computer needs to input
need information into its system that is how I think the Turing test will be
beneficial in the future to test and teach artificial intelligence systems, and
their mental states.

The Chinese
Room Argument

       There are many evident problems with
machine functionalism, and its ideas of artificial intelligence. One of the
largest critics of this theory however is John Searle. Searle a famous
philosopher disagreed with the idea of “Strong” artificial intelligence, later
he developed his infamous “Chinese Room Argument” which is an argument with a
one of a kind objection functionalism, ore specifically the Turing test itself.
Searle believed that the Turing test was only able to find “weak” artificial intelligence,
which would only pass due to algorithmically finding the correct answers to
imitate against human testers.

       Searle specifically argues that a
computer in the “Chinese room” would not be able to properly function, because
of how computers would input the Chinese characters into its system. Computers
are following the rules of the room, by input the character after being shown
one specific character. Searle’s argument is that “weak” artificial
intelligence will only know how to follow commands and not dictate the commands

       Searle later concludes that a Turing
machine alone can never produce proper understanding of the symbols, because
the computer treats the symbols as a simple mathematical equation and not as
syntax. Therefore a computer program is just treating the symbol as the come in
that means the computer only recognizes input and output. By following this
pattern that Searle presents to us it leads to “strong” artificial intelligence
being false, and functionalism is rendered wrong as well.

       However there are many replies to John
Searle’s argument against functionalism. One sort of reaction is to question
the claim that there is no knowledge shown in the case of the Chinese Room. There
could be an assumption made that every time a new Chinese character is shown
the A.I. will learn what they mean after using them many times. Therefore we
can assume that the artificial intelligence is showing true signs of
independent thought after working in the Chinese room.

“Zombie” Argument

       Another possible issue for the machine
functionalism and proper artificial intelligence is know as the “Zombie”
argument. Philosophical zombies are just identical in every single way physical
duplicates of conscious beings that, however, lack conscious experience.  Since zombies would fulfill all the functional roles
and conditions for full consciousness, functionalism involves that zombies are
inconceivable. However, this is utterly untrue In my opinion because machine
functionalism cannot account for the zombie argument in this scenario. Because
If functional states are mental states, and we consider ourselves just Turing
machines aren’t we all just copies of complex Turing machines?


       Lastly we have the argument known as the
Inverted Spectrum against functionalism. The Inverted Spectrum states that two things
that are behaviorally alike are also mentally alike, in this example I will
just use computers. However it is also possible for perfect duplicates to
differ in behavioral, functional, or physical respects, according to the
spectrum. Also since if there is a difference in behavior that implies
difference in function, which in turn implies difference in physical accepts as
well. However, according to functionalism two computers that are in the same mental
state if they are identical.