Behaviorism separates itself from other psychological views in that it doesn't care about the psyche. Rather, it focuses on how the mind behaves, how outside factors can manipulate it, and so on.

Given this, I'm led to believe it is a form of functionalism. Both don't seem to care about what the mind really is deep down, and they focus more on the practical results that can be achieved. Is this correct?

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    $\begingroup$ I'm not so versed in the philosophy of mind, but Wikipedia's article on functionalism says it was developed as an alternative to behaviorism. $\endgroup$
    – Fizz
    Jan 20 '18 at 11:22
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    $\begingroup$ And you don't seem to be the first to think that they're not that different. Quoting from Wikipedia: "Hilary Putnam,[23] John Searle,[24] and others[25][26] have offered further arguments that functionalism is trivial, i.e. that the internal structures functionalism tries to discuss turn out to be present everywhere, so that either functionalism turns out to reduce to behaviorism, or to complete triviality and therefore a form of panpsychism." $\endgroup$
    – Fizz
    Jan 20 '18 at 12:04
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    $\begingroup$ @Fizz nailed it. // Btw, for OP - Behaviorists eschew the word "mind". $\endgroup$ Jan 20 '18 at 21:55
  • $\begingroup$ @Fizz even if you're mostly quoting Wikipedia, that sounds like a super legit answer. Sometimes StackExchange results in distilling Wikipedia, which isn't a bad thing. $\endgroup$
    – Seanny123
    Jan 21 '18 at 16:31

If take a look at the Wikipedia article @Fizz provided in the comments, it does say that Functionalism is different to Behaviourism

because it is only concerned with the effective functions of the brain, through its organization or its "software programs".

The full explanation of why it is different is that Behaviourism is

a systematic approach to understanding the behavior of humans and other animals. It assumes that all behaviors are either reflexes produced by a response to certain stimuli in the environment, or a consequence of that individual's history, including especially reinforcement and punishment, together with the individual's current motivational state and controlling stimuli.

In other words it looks at how people's current and past experiences affect the person's mood and behaviours.

Functionalism states that

mental states (beliefs, desires, being in pain, etc.) are constituted solely by their functional role – that is, they have causal relations to other mental states, numerous sensory inputs, and behavioral outputs.

Comparing the human brain to the computer whilst trying to explain this philosophy, the Wikipedia article points out that

brains are physical devices with neural substrate that perform computations on inputs which produce behaviors.

Where Behaviourism just looks at the initial stimuli and resulting behaviours, Functionalism looks at the brain functions and tries to explain how behaviours manifest themselves in reaction to the information the brain receives.


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