Functionalism is a theory of consciousness that emerged to oppose the prevailing notions of mind-body dualism that dominated psychology until the 19th century. The theory emphasizes the interactive nature of body and mind as well as the dynamic nature of the stream of consciousness. While functionalism is not a single scholar’s creation, William James, the father of American psychology, was its most prominent advocate. William James approach focuses on the purpose and function of the mind and behavior rather than the structures of the mind, making functionalism a key paradigm shift in the history of Psychology.
According to Brunner, mental states are functional because they aid individuals in their attempt to adapt to the environment. Perhaps the principal feature of functionalism is the claim that the causal relations among the mental processes characterize the mental state. In addition, William James argues that scholars must understand mental events in relation to the sensory inputs from which they originate and behavioral outputs they produce. Opposing the theory of structuralism, he argues that scholars cannot study mental elements in isolation because they are a function of an ongoing stream of thought. Consciousness, argues William James, is a function that enables individuals engage in self-regulation.
Individuals use functionalism every day to make their goals achievable. For example, students modify their learning style to accomplish their goal every semester. The diverse adaptations stretch from the mode of study to the duration of individual preparation time, but depend on the level of subject involvement and mastery. While some tests require students to recall unit details, others test the concept application. To accomplish their mission, students need to adapt to the environmental demands. This adjustment is consistent with the views that functionalists put forward in support for functionalism as a school of thought. In addition, the Darwinian theory of evolution, which had a profound influence on William James, supports the concept.
In conclusion, William James theory of functionalism focuses on the function of the mental status rather than its structures. It supports the argument that the significance of all mental processes and consciousness is based on their functions rather than the components. As a result, unsettling the functions reduces the ability of an organism to survive. Although Wundt, the father of structuralism, dismisses William James work as mere literature with no significance, functionalism inspires its opponents as much as it inspires the proponents. It uses pragmatism as the foundation for stimulating practical applications of psychology.
Functionalism Essay Examples
Amy Tan and Functionalism
This essay will explore the real life of Amy Tan and the translation of her life through her large body of work. The research will not only involve biographical information but quotes from her books as they relate to her life and the influence of Asian culture on those works as well as her life…. View Article
Philosophy of Mind
Since centuries, our philosophers have been trying to unravel mysteries of our memory, thought processes, different emotions, will power and imaginations culminating into what is known as different intellectual and conscious part of our personality. Our mind, as our great literary figures have posited, is a stream of our consciousness and is a part of… View Article
Complete alignment of purposes
Functionalism is the complete alignment of purposes of different sectors of society. This encompasses the inter-dependence of different social attributes to make the society survive (McClelland 1). In terms of schooling in the US, educational institutions serve as the primary educating sector for the population. The main function of schooling is to promote the total… View Article
Structural Functionalism is simply known as Functionalism; it is defined as a system of parts, all of which serve a function together for an overall effectiveness and efficiency for society. This theory views norms, customs, traditions, and institutions that surround society and society should acknowledge different elements to gain social stability. Failure to do so… View Article
Homelessness of Veterans
The threat of homelessness amongst veterans has become an increasingly growing issue. Through my extensive research I have found multiple reasons as to why this threat has occurred. Some examples of these are things such as the transition from military to civilian life, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and poverty. I am going to apply the… View Article
A Functionalist View of Stratification
A functionalist view of stratification views stratification as necessary for a society to function efficiently which enables it to reach its full potential economically and socially. Functionalists view society as a set of interconnected parts which work together to form a whole. (Haralambos et al 1996) Institutions are part of the social system they are… View Article
Functionalist and Conflict theories
Sociology is the study of society and the behaviour patterns of a particular group or culture. In contemporary Australian society, a good understanding of this is needed in order to make better social changes to meet social needs. When it comes to trying to explain and understand society, there are two main points of view… View Article
Strengths and weaknesses of the functionalist approach to society
Assess the strength and weaknesses of the functionalist approach to society. (33 marks) Functionalism sees society as a whole rather that in parts as it has a macro-scale approach to society. This means that they see society as an organic analogy which means they see all institutions working together as organs do in a body…. View Article
Functions of the Family
Over the years, the textbook definition of “the family” has disappeared. Every family is unique and has its own dynamic and for the most part, society has learned to adapt to these changes. From homosexual couples, to dual income families or even single parents, families have learned to survive based on their unique situations, as… View Article
One of the well know socialists of the twentieth century is Robert K. Merton (1910-2003). He is a major theorist who is known for creating several pivotal sociological concepts. One of his most important achievements has been the established connection between theory and research, thereby making the way for the course of sociology. Merton favored… View Article
Examine the functionalist view of the family
Broadly speaking, the functionalist perspective has focused on the functions of the family in society and for its members. In other words, it looks at how the family, as an institution, helps in maintaining order and stability in society, and the significance of the family for its individual members. There are two main functionalist views… View Article