Meaning of functionalism

func•tion•al•ism

Pronunciation: (fungk'shu-nl-iz"um), [key]
— n.
  1. (usually cap.)
    1. a design movement evolved from several previous movements or schools in Europe in the early 20th century, advocating the design of buildings, furnishings, etc., as direct fulfillments of material requirements, as for shelter, repose, or the serving of food, with the construction, materials, and purpose clearly expressed or at least not denied, and with aesthetic effect derived chiefly from proportions and finish, purely decorative effects being excluded or greatly subordinated.
    2. the doctrines and practices associated with this movement. Cf. rationalism (def. 4).
  2. the doctrine that emphasizes the adaptiveness of the mental or behavioral processes.
  3. Also calleda theoretical orientation that views society as a system of interdependent parts whose functions contribute to the stability and survival of the system.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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