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The indirect realist theory of our knowledge of the external world which Russellian philosophers of mind have appealed to in formulating and defending a unique version of the mind-brain identity theory can be applied also to the formulation and defence of a unique version of functionalism. On the view that results, qualia turn out to be features which do not exist over and above the natural world (as materialistic functionalists and Russellians would agree), and are irreducibly subjective (as dualists and Russellians would agree) but are non-intrinsic properties of brain states (as functionalists would agree but Russellians would not). This view, which can be called ‘Hayekian functionalism’ (after F.A. Hayek, some of whose neglected writings inspired it), thus shows how we can combine the best insights of functionalism with the respect for the subjectivity of qualia which critics of functionalism claim it cannot accommodate.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Philosophy, Loyola Marymount University, 7900 Loyola Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90045. Email:edwardfeser@hotmail.com

Publication date: January 1, 2001

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