Dennett’s Idea is Dangerous

From Darwin’s Pious Idea:

“Dennett’s idea is dangerous: It is another instance of functionalism, according to which the material substrate is irrelevant to the function of the system in question, because all that would matter is the “logical form of the process.” Yet if not only evolution but also…life and mind are allegedly substrate-neutral, then not just the theory of selection but all corresponding theories can be “lifted out of their home base in biology…as well as biology.” Such a formalist and immaterialist conception of biology seems attractive to some, as sparing them the task of learning anything about biology…as well as about other adjacent fields such as biophysics and biochemistry. Ultimately, it is the idea that biology can be pursued by pure mathematicians, nay, that all factual sciences are reducible to the formal sciences, which are indeed substrate-neutral, since they deal with conceptual objects, not material ones. This is a dangerous idea—not Darwin’s but the functionalists’.” (Bunge and Mahner)

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