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Episteme

Abstract

Functionalism’s metaphysics is wrongly thought to answer the epistemological question of the existence of the other’s mentality. Contra Elliot Reed, the practical utility of being able to solve the problem of other minds does not make functionalism the best theory of mind, nor does it actually solve the problem of other minds. Reed’s circular argument implicitly relies on abstract behaviorism and the need to solve the problem of other minds. What must come first, however, is a correct ontology of the mind. Functionalism struggles with intentionality, disregards qualia, and, according to Searle’s excellent thought experiments, is incompatible with what we believe about consciousness. Functionalism is not king. Rest assured, turning away from a behavior-based solution to the problem of other minds need not push us into skepticism; until a robust neuroscience arrives, we should be content with common sense.

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