D.M. Armstrong is an eminent Australian philosopher whose work over many years has dealt with such subjects as: the nature of possibility, concepts of the particular and the general, causes and laws of nature, and the nature of human consciousness. This collection of essays, all specially written for this volume, explore the many facets of Armstrong's work, concentrating on his more recent interests. There are four sections to the book: possibility and identity, universals, laws and causality, philosophy of (...) mind. The contributors comprise an international group of philosophers from the United States, England, and Australia. An interesting feature of the volume is that Armstrong himself has written responses to each of the essays. There is also a complete bibliography of Armstrong's writings. (shrink)
Over the last several years, as cesarean deliveries have grown increasingly common, there has been a great deal of public and professional interest in the phenomenon of women 'choosing' to deliver by cesarean section in the absence of any specific medical indication. The issue has sparked intense conversation, as it raises questions about the nature of autonomy in birth. Whereas mainstream bioethical discourse is used to associating autonomy with having a large array of choices, this conception of autonomy does not (...) seem adequate to capture concerns and intuitions that have a strong grip outside this discourse. An empirical and conceptual exploration of how delivery decisions ought to be negotiated must be guided by a rich understanding of women's agency and its placement within a complicated set of cultural meanings and pressures surrounding birth. It is too early to be 'for' or 'against' women's access to cesarean delivery in the absence of traditional medical indications – and indeed, a simple pro- or con- position is never going to do justice to the subtlety of the issue. The right question is not whether women ought to be allowed to choose their delivery approach but, rather, taking the value of women's autonomy in decision-making around birth as a given, what sorts of guidelines, practices, and social conditions will best promote and protect women's full inclusion in a safe and positive birth process. (shrink)
This classic work of recent philosophy was first published in 1968, and remains the most compelling and comprehensive statement of the view that the mind is material or physical. In A Materialist Theory of the Mind , D. M. Armstrong provided insight into the debate surrounding the relationship of the mind and body. He put forth a detailed materialist account of all the main mental phenomena, including perception, sensation, belief, the will, introspection, mental images, and consciousness. This causal analysis (...) of mental concepts, along with the similar theory by David Lewis, has come to dominate all subsequent debates in the philosophy of mind. In the preface to this updated edition, Armstrong reflects on the impact of the book, and places it in the context of subsequent developments. A full bibliography of all the key writings that have appeared in the materialist debate is also provided. (shrink)
This is a study of a crucial and controversial topic in metaphysics and the philosophy of science: the status of the laws of nature. D. M. Armstrong works out clearly and in comprehensive detail a largely original view that laws are relations between properties or universals. The theory is continuous with the views on universals and more generally with the scientific realism that Professor Armstrong has advanced in earlier publications. He begins here by mounting an attack on the (...) orthodox and sceptical view deriving from Hume that laws assert no more than a regularity of coincidence between instances of properties. In doing so he presents what may become the definitive statement of the case against this position. Professor Armstrong then goes on to establish his own theory in a systematic manner defending it against the most likely objections, and extending both it and the related theory of universals to cover functional and statistical laws. This treatment of the subject is refreshingly concise and vivid: it will both stimulate vigorous professional debate and make an excellent student text. (shrink)
Truths are determined not by what we believe, but by the way the world is. Or so realists about truth believe. Philosophers call such theories correspondence theories of truth. Truthmaking theory, which now has many adherents among contemporary philosophers, is the most recent development of a realist theory of truth, and in this book D. M. Armstrong offers the first full-length study of this theory. He examines its applications to different sorts of truth, including contingent truths, modal truths, truths (...) about the past and the future, and mathematical truths. In a clear, even-handed and non-technical discussion he makes a compelling case for truthmaking and its importance in philosophy. His book marks a significant contribution to the debate and will be of interest to a wide range of readers working in analytical philosophy. (shrink)
Dispositions are essential to our understanding of the world. IDispositions: A Debate is an extended dialogue between three distinguished philosophers - D.M. Armstrong, C.B. Martin and U.T. Place - on the many problems associated with dispositions, which reveals their own distinctive accounts of the nature of dispositions. These are then linked to other issues such as the nature of mind, matter, universals, existence, laws of nature (...) and causation. (shrink)
'With this scheme, John Anderson joins a very distinguished line of philosophers who have presented us with a set of categories. We have first Plato (the doctrine of Highest Kinds in his dialogue The Sophist), then Aristotle, Kant, Hegel, and Samuel Alexander.' - D. M. Armstrong, from the introduction. Space, Time and the Categories presents a unique record of personal influence and inspiration over three generations of philosophers in Australia, England and Scotland. This work is a vitally important text (...) in the history of the development of realist philosophy in Australian universities. With an introduction by Emeritus Professor D M Armstrong whose own student notes are the basis for the text used, this book brings together three of the major figures in the history of Australian philosophy. (shrink)
This major new work by David Armstrong is a contribution to recent philosophical discussions about possible worlds. Taking Wittgenstein's Tractatus as his point of departure, Armstrong argues that non-actual possibilities and possible worlds are recombinations of actually existing elements and as such are useful fictions. Included is an extended criticism of the alternative possible worlds approach championed by the American philosopher David Lewis.
Revenant sur la question des vérifacteurs, D. Armstrong demande ici d'abord comment concilier le maximalisme (toute vérité a un vérifacteur) et la relation de nécessitation (toute vérité contingente peut servir de vérifacteur pour une vérité nécessaire quelconque). L'A. examine quel sens métaphysique donner à la notion d'implication, et s'il y a un sens à admettre une contingence de re. Il traite à ce niveau des possibilités pures, examine le cas des aliens chez <span class='Hi'>David</span> Lewis, puis pose la question (...) de savoir s'il est contingent de dire qu'il y a de l'être plutôt que rien. L'exposé le conduit à traiter du cas des vérifacteurs pour les vérités nécessaires, mais adopte une thèse possibiliste pour les sujets de la science démonstrative. Il se clôt par un examen du genre de nécessité transcatégorielle (et métaphysique) qui est implicite à la généralisation des vérifacteurs. The A. wants to reconcile maximalisme about truthmakers (every truth has a truthmaker) and the relation of necessitation (every contingent truth can be used in a truthmaker for a necessary truth). He investigates the metaphysical sense of the implication and whether one can admit de re contingency. He examines the pure possibilities and the case of alien properties according with <span class='Hi'>David</span> Lewis and studies whether it is contingent that there is something rather than nothing. He analyses the truthmakers of necessary truths and adopts a possibilist thesis for matters of demonstrative science. He concludes with the transcategorial (and metaphysical) necessity which is implicit in the generalization of truthmakers. (shrink)
In this short text, a distinguished philosopher turns his attention to one of the oldest and most fundamental philosophical problems of all: How it is that we are able to sort and classify different things as being of the same natural class? Professor Armstrong carefully sets out six major theories—ancient, modern, and contemporary—and assesses the strengths and weaknesses of each. Recognizing that there are no final victories or defeats in metaphysics, Armstrong nonetheless defends a traditional account of universals (...) as the most satisfactory theory we have.This study is written for advanced students, but as Armstrong goes considerably beyond his earlier work on this topic, it will interest professional scholars as well. Carefully plotted and clearly written, Universals is both a paradigm of exposition and a case study on the value of careful analysis of fundamental issues in philosophy. (shrink)
Ethical review of applications to conduct research projects continues to be a focus of scrutiny and controversy. We argue that attention to the actual practices of ethical review has the potential to inform debate. We explore how research ethics committees (RECs) establish their position and authority through the texts they use in their correspondence with applicants. Using a discursive analysis applied to 260 letters, we identify four positions of particular interest: RECs positioned as disinterested and responsible; as representing the interests (...) of potential participants; as facilitating ethically sound, high-quality research; and as engaged in dialogue. These positions are used strategically to deflect criticism or complaint. This analysis has implications for reducing contestation between researchers and RECs, suggesting that more dialogic rather than hierarchical approaches to positioning might be helpful. (shrink)
In considering the nature of properties four controversial decisions must be made. (1) Are properties universals or tropes? (2) Are properties attributes of particulars, or are particulars just bundles of properties? (3) Are properties categorical (qualitative) in nature, or are they powers? (4) If a property attaches to a particular, is this predication contingent, or is it necessary? These choices seem to be in a great degree independent of each other. The author indicates his own choices.
Plato is associated with the idea that the body holds us back from knowing ultimate reality and so we should try to distance ourselves from its influence. This sentiment appears is several of his dialogues including Theaetetus where the flight from the physical world is compared to becoming like God. In some major dialogues of Plato's later career such as Philebus and Laws, however, the idea of becoming like God takes a different turn. God is an intelligent force that tries (...) to create order in the physical world. I argue that likeness to God in these dialogues involves imitating God's effort by trying to order our bodies, souls, and societies as intelligence directs. Becoming like Plato's God is not to abandon the world. It is to improve it. (shrink)
A philosophy might take its general inspiration from (1) commonsense; (2) careful observation; (3) philosophical argumentation; (4) the sciences; (5) "higher" sources of illumination. It is argued in this paper that it is bedrock commonsense, and the sciences, which are the most reliable foundations for a philosophy. This result is applied to the discussion and defense of a materialist theory of the mind.
What is it for a particular to have a property? many proposed analyses of this situation may be called relational accounts. The particular has some relation, R, To some entity p. R may be the relation of falling under, Being a member of, Resembling or "participating." p may be a predicate, A concept, A class, A paradigm instance or a form. A number of arguments seek to prove that all these accounts are involved in various vicious infinite regresses. These arguments (...) are classified, Their resemblances and differences noted, And their soundness assessed. (edited). (shrink)
Epicurus is one of the first social contract theorists, holding that justice is an agreement neither to harm nor be harmed. He also says that living justly is necessary and sufficient for living pleasantly, which is the Epicurean goal. Some say that there are two accounts of justice in Epicurus -- one as a personal virtue, the other as a virtue of institutions. I argue that the personal virtue derives from compliance with just social institutions, and so we need to (...) attribute only one account of justice to Epicurus. I show how this interpretation makes sense of claims about justice by Epicurus and his followers, including Hermarchus, Lucretius, and Diogenes of Oinoanda. (shrink)
First, The doctrine of naturalism, That reality is spatio-Temporal, Is defended. Second, The doctrine of materialism or physicalism, That this spatio-Temporal reality involves nothing but the entities of physics working according to the principles of physics, Is defended. Third, It is argued that these doctrines do not constitute a "first philosophy." a satisfactory first philosophy should recognize universals, In the form of instantiated properties and relations. Laws of nature are constituted by relations between universals. What universals there are, And what (...) relations hold between them, Must be discovered "a posteriori" by scientific investigation. (shrink)
Analyzes difficult case in the theory of truthmaking. Account on the notion of a truthmaker by philosopher Bertrand Russell; Context of the correspondence theory of truth; Requisites of a truthmaker; Discussion on negative truths, universally quantified truths and modal truths.
I used to think of the connection between a particular and a universal that it instantiates as a contingent one. Now I think that this is not quite right. This revision, as I now see it, is not a very large one. I still think that the states of affairs (Russell’s facts in his great Lectures on Logical Atomism) that unite particulars and universals are contingent beings. But the connection within states of affairs is, in a certain way, necessary.
A particular thing is nothing but a bundle (a collection) of all its properties. Other than these properties (including spatial, temporal properties), there is nothing. [Space and time, being physical properties, are among the things that have to be constructed as bundles of universals.].