Definition of functionalism in English:



  • 1Belief in or stress on the practical application of a thing, in particular.

    • ‘A vulgarised form of functionalism held sway: the basic shape for organizing human life became the rectangular block.’
    • ‘He was close to Team X, a group founded in reaction to the functionalism and urbanism of the postwar years, as they were perpetuated by the rituals of the International Congresses of Modern Architecture.’
    • ‘A number of relatively distinct periods or phases of the integration process have been identified, and different theories have emerged to explain the various phases, beginning with the functionalism of the 1950s.’
    • ‘You could say that anything like the State Department's Foreign Buildings program was a step on the way to the liberation of architecture from the shackles of the functionalism and antihistoricism of the modern movement.’
    • ‘Kojiro was convinced that premodern Japanese aesthetics might provide an avenue for addressing the potentially dehumanizing effect of the functionalism of contemporary architecture.’
    • ‘In the 1960s, Jean-Pierre Vernant and Walter Burkert had pioneered new ways: structuralism, functionalism, and a strict application of the myth - ritual scenario.’
    • ‘This is a distinctly modern architecture with roots in the functionalism of the 1960s.’
    • ‘That belief, in a debased form, mutated into the functionalism of the mid-twentieth century.’
    • ‘Impelled by Futurism and the functionalism of Communist Russia, his Impressionist painting style gave way to pure abstractions drawn with compass and ruler.’
    • ‘Does strong representationalism, then, inherit all the usual problems of functionalism about the phenomenal?’
    1. 1.1 (in the arts) the doctrine that the design of an object should be determined solely by its function, rather than by aesthetic considerations, and that anything practically designed will be inherently beautiful.
      • ‘Architects have rich thoughts on function and functionalism derived from their experiences, but I have not seen these codified.’
      • ‘With few exceptions, functionalism in Sweden was a matter of aesthetics, not of ideology.’
      • ‘Communications consultant Emma Kelly looked to what she describes as ‘the elegant functionalism of the 1950s’ when it came to choosing her object of desire.’
      • ‘He brought these disparate objects together to demonstrate their kinship and identify their aesthetics as one with their functionalism.’
      • ‘The cafe occupies the hanging gallery above the exhibition space and echoes its monochrome theme with Fifties functionalism - lots of white Arne Jacobsen-style ‘Ameise’ chairs, white walls and a black floor.’
      • ‘This compression, however, led Futurism and functionalism to opposing perspectives on the modern world and the direction in which it was heading.’
      • ‘One modest request: your philosophy of craft-based functionalism serving humanity would be greatly enhanced if you included more typical details.’
      • ‘Aesthetic functionalism reinforced a growing preference for useful memorials, such as public halls, hospitals and swimming pools, over grand but useless statues.’
      • ‘Moreover, where Futurism and functionalism shared common ground, the cultural components in their assessment of flight must also be noted.’
      • ‘In what is easily, in my opinion, one of the best essays on contemporary design in recent years, Boym persuasively argues that the days of ‘good design’ based purely on functionalism are squarely in the past.’
      • ‘While her work features the austerity and functionalism of Modernism, it somehow seems softer, more human and witty.’
    2. 1.2 (in the social sciences) the theory that all aspects of a society serve a function and are necessary for the survival of that society.
      • ‘Wallace and Wolf trace the development of structural functionalism to Comte, Herbert Spencer, and Durkheim.’
      • ‘In the 1950s and the 1960s, as an offshoot of the sociological functionalism of Talcott Parsons, theories of modernization and neo-evolutionism dominated the social science study of development.’
      • ‘A quick-and-dirty history of social systems theory begins with functionalism, the most influential form of social explanation for much of the past century.’
      • ‘Regionalism has, however, played a role in subdisciplines that focus on social and economic ties between cities and their hinterlands, such as urban sociology or functionalism or regional economies.’
      • ‘The school of social functionalism examines the ways in which society, considered as an organism, attempts to contain and manage conflict, integrating disparate members and subgroups into the whole.’
    3. 1.3 (in the philosophy of mind) the theory that mental states can be sufficiently defined by their cause, their effect on other mental states, and their effect on behavior.
      • ‘So, unlike the identity theory, functionalism ends up disallowing mind/body causation.’
      • ‘In the metaphysics of mind, too, behavioristic themes survive in the approach to mind known as functionalism.’
      • ‘The first, intentionally dry, title of my talk, is in parody of the sober, positivistic titles one got in the heyday of British structural functionalism.’
      • ‘Sometimes intentionalism and functionalism are associated, on the grounds that intentional states are the only mental states of which one could give a functionalist account, so a functionalist should be an intentionalist.’
      • ‘Searle saddles functionalism with the ‘blackbox’ character of behaviorism, but functionalism cares how things are done.’
      • ‘It is no accident that the play is set in the eighties, when the arguments between beleaguered humanism and pragmatic functionalism were at the very height.’
      • ‘There seem to be only two well-known theories from the history of the philosophy of mind that have not been attributed to him, namely behaviorism and functionalism.’
      • ‘This volume of Ned Block's writings collects his papers on consciousness, functionalism, and representationism.’
      • ‘Now, it seems that these two positions, functionalism about truth and Davidson's thesis, are quite compatible.’
      • ‘It differs from Skinner's functionalism in that it accepts the possibility that there are mental processes that cannot be seen directly.’