Functionalism is a way by which mental states are identified according to what they do instead of what they are made of. Similarly, in the Turing test, questions are asked and then determined whether the answers are given by computer or human being (Turing, 114). It is a game of three persons, a male, female and interrogator who is either sex. The interrogator stays in a different room and ask questions and tell whether either male or female
answer the problem.
Other tests contradict this kind of analysis. For example, the Chinese room is meant to show that the Turing test is incapable of determining consciousness even if the room can behave in a conscious way (Turing, 146). This example also contradicts functionalism as mental states cannot be defined by what they do because this is not the best way of determining the mental state. Although functionalism is convincing, it is difficult to overcome the problem of determination of mental state by what they do as this is the basis of its argument.
The main argument for functionalism is the behaviorist theory. Functionalism believes that the mental state is an internal state of the thinking creatures. However, this is contradicted by behaviorist that understands that the external environment can also control mental state. In their argument, objects in the environment can also influence a person’s way of thinking.
In conclusion, functionalism is a way by which the internal functioning of a person controls mental states. The internal states determine a person’s way of thinking and makes a person behave differently. The Turing test supports this, but it is contradicted by the Chinese room argument that Turing test cannot tell the consciousness of a room even if the room behaves consciously. Further, behaviorist theory also contradicts the functionalism theory as it states that thinking capabilities of creatures are also affected by external factors.
Turing, Alan M. “Computing machinery and intelligence.” Parsing the Turing Test. Springer, Dordrecht, 2009. 114-148.