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)
A singular thought about an object o is one that is directly about o in a characteristic way—grasp of that thought requires having some special epistemic relation to the object o, and the thought is ontologically dependent on o. One account of the nature of singular thought exploits a Russellian Structured Account of Propositions, according to which contents are represented by means of structured n-tuples of objects, properties, and functions. A proposition is singular, according to this framework, if and only (...) if it contains an object as a constituent. One advantage of the framework of Russellian Structured propositions is that it promises to provide a metaphysical basis for the notion of a singular thought about an object, grounding it in terms of constituency. In this paper, we argue that the attempt to ground the peculiar features of singular thoughts in terms of metaphysical constituency fails, and draw some consequences of our discussion for other debates. (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)
The object of this paper is to argue once again for the combinatorial account of possibility defended in earlier work (Armstrong, 1989, 1997). But there I failed fully to realise the dialectical advantages that accrue once one begins by assuming the hypothesis of logical atomism, the hypothesis that postulates simple particulars and simple universals (properties and relations) at the bottom of the world. Logical atomism is, I incline to think, no better than ‘speculative cosmology’ as opposed to ‘analytic ontology’, (...) to use Donald Williams’ terminology (Williams, 1966, p.74). It is, however, not an implausible hypothesis given the current state of quantum physics. More important for our purposes here, the strictly combinatorial theory that flows rather naturally from the atomist metaphysics shows some promise of continuing to hold (perhaps with a little mutatis mutandis) in a world that is not an atomist world. (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)
'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)
Over 700,000 copies of the original hardcover and paperback editions of this stunningly popular book have been sold. Karen Armstrong's superbly readable exploration of how the three dominant monotheistic religions of the world—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—have shaped and altered the conception of God is a tour de force. One of Britain's foremost commentators on religious affairs, Armstrong traces the history of how men and women have perceived and experienced God, from the time of Abraham to the present. From (...) classical philosophy and medieval mysticism to the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the modern age of skepticism, Armstrong performs the near miracle of distilling the intellectual history of monotheism into one compelling volume. (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)
In the ninth century BCE, the peoples of four distinct regions of the civilized world created the religious and philosophical traditions that have continued to nourish humanity to the present day: Confucianism and Daoism in China, Hinduism and Buddhism in India, monotheism in Israel, and philosophical rationalism in Greece. Later generations further developed these initial insights, but we have never grown beyond them. Rabbinic Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, for example, were all secondary flowerings of the original Israelite vision. Now, in (...) The Great Transformation , Karen Armstrong reveals how the sages of this pivotal “Axial Age” can speak clearly and helpfully to the violence and desperation that we experience in our own times. Armstrong traces the development of the Axial Age chronologically, examining the contributions of such figures as the Buddha, Socrates, Confucius, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, the mystics of the Upanishads, Mencius, and Euripides. All of the Axial Age faiths began in principled and visceral recoil from the unprecedented violence of their time. Despite some differences of emphasis, there was a remarkable consensus in their call for an abandonment of selfishness and a spirituality of compassion. With regard to dealing with fear, despair, hatred, rage, and violence, the Axial sages gave their people and give us, Armstrong says, two important pieces of advice: first there must be personal responsibility and self-criticism, and it must be followed by practical, effective action. In her introduction and concluding chapter, Armstrong urges us to consider how these spiritualities challenge the way we are religious today. In our various institutions, we sometimes seem to be attempting to create exactly the kind of religion that Axial sages and prophets had hoped to eliminate. We often equate faith with doctrinal conformity, but the traditions of the Axial Age were not about dogma. All insisted on the primacy of compassion even in the midst of suffering. In each Axial Age case, a disciplined revulsion from violence and hatred proved to be the major catalyst of spiritual change. (shrink)
A graceful and lucid study of the power of beauty and the deep significance it has in our lives In defining beauty and our response to it, we are often caught between the concrete and the sublime. We wish to categorize beauty, to clearly label its parts, and yet we wish also to celebrate its mysterious-and at times mythical-power. Armstrong's response is a discursive and graceful journey through various and complementary interpretations, leading us from Hogarth's belief that the essence (...) of beauty lies in shapely curves, to Kant's discourses on the meaning of pleasure. (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.
To whom is egalitarian justice owed? Our fellow citizens, or all of humankind? If the latter, what form might a global brand of egalitarianism take? This paper examines some recent debates about the justification, and content, of global egalitarian justice. It provides an account of some keenly argued controversies about the scope of egalitarian justice, between those who would restrict it to the level of the state and those who would extend it more widely. It also notes the cross-cutting distinction (...) between relationists (whose views on scope are derived from a belief about which relations, practices or institutions give rise to the demands of equality) and non-relationists (who place no such importance on empirical facts about the relations between individuals). Beyond this, it sets out some of the different principles that might flow from a commitment to global egalitarianism. One of the key goals is to highlight the increasing diversity within debates on global justice, so that even those with a shared commitment to global equality may espouse different views about the justifications for equality, as well as the nature of, and proper sites for, egalitarian principles. (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)
This research study sought to identify whether there is a relationship between ethical perceptions and culture. An examination of the cultural variables suggests that there is a relationship between two of Hofstede's cultural dimensions (i.e., Uncertainty Avoidance and Individualism) and ethical perceptions. This finding supports the hypothetical linkage between the cultural environment and the perceived ethical problem variables posited in Hunt and Vitell's General Theory of Marketing Ethics (1986).
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)