Breaking new ground in the debate about the relation of mind and body, David Armstrong's classic text - first published in 1968 - remains the most compelling and comprehensive statement of the view that the mind is material or physical. In the preface to this new edition, the author reflects on the book's impact and considers it in the light of subsequent developments. He also provides a bibliography of all the key writings to have appeared in the materialist debate.
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)
In this important study D. M. Armstrong offers a comprehensive system of analytical metaphysics that synthesises but also develops his thinking over the last twenty years. Armstrong's analysis, which acknowledges the 'logical atomism' of Russell and Wittgenstein, makes facts the fundamental constituents of the world, examining properties, relations, numbers, classes, possibility and necessity, dispositions, causes and laws. All these, it is argued, find their place and can be understood inside a scheme of states of affairs. This is a comprehensive and (...) rigorously this-worldly account of the most general features of reality, argued from a distinctive philosophical perspective, and it will appeal to a wide readership in analytical philosophy. (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)
A wide-ranging study of the central concepts in epistemology - belief, truth and knowledge. Professor Armstrong offers a dispositional account of general beliefs and of knowledge of general propositions. Belief about particular matters of fact are described as structures in the mind of the believer which represent or 'map' reality, while general beliefs are dispositions to extend the 'map' or introduce casual relations between portions of the map according to general rules. 'Knowledge' denotes the reliability of such beliefs as representations (...) of reality. Within this framework Professor Armstrong offers a distinctive account of many of the main questions in general epistemology - the relations between beliefs and language, the notions of proposition, concept and idea, the analysis of truth, the varieties of knowledge, and the way in which beleifs and knowledge are supported by reasons. The book as a whole if offered as a contribution to a naturalistic account of man. (shrink)
David Armstrong's book is a contribution to the philosophical discussion about possible worlds. Taking Wittgenstein's Tractatus as his point of departure, Professor Armstrong argues that nonactual possibilities and possible worlds are recombinations of actually existing elements, and as such are useful fictions. There is an extended criticism of the alternative-possible-worlds approach championed by the American philosopher David Lewis. This major work will be read with interest by a wide range of philosophers.
This is a collection of twenty-five papers and reviews by the leading analytic philosopher of our time. It adds to the papers on metaphysics and epistemology to be found in his previous two-volume collection published by Oxford University Press. One previously unpublished paper—“Why Conditionalize?”—is included. Australasian philosophers may note with some pride that eleven of the pieces were first published in the Australasian Journal of Philosophy.
Despite heroic efforts, philosophers have found it increasingly difficult to evade discussion of metaphysical topics. Take the philosophy of mind. Take, in particular, the mind-body problem in its latest guise: the problem of causal relevance. If mental properties are not reducible to physical properties, how can we reconcile the role such properties seem to have in producing bodily motions that constitute actions with the apparent fact that the very same motions are entirely explicable on the basis of purely physical properties (...) of purely physical events in the nervous system? Familiar approaches to the problem include appeals to “supervenient causation,” to “higher-level” laws governing putatively higher-level entities and events, and to “realizing” relations that make room in objects for overlapping properties. (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.
Dispositions are essential to our understanding of the world. Dispositions: 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.
I want to defend a Combinatorialtheory of possibility. Such a view traces the very idea of possibility to the idea of the combinations – all the combinations which respect a certain simple form – of given, actual, elements. Combination is to be understood widely enough to cover the notions of expansion and contraction. The combinatorial idea is not new, of course. Wittgenstein gave a classical exposition of it in the Tractatus. Perhaps its charter is 3.4: ‘A proposition determines a place (...) in logical space. The existence of this logical place is guaranteed by the mere existence of the constituents’. There is a small additional combinatorial literature. I myself was converted to a combinatorial view by Brian Skyrms’ brief but fascinating article ‘Tractarian Nominalism.’. (shrink)
This paper argues that the foundations of our knowledge are the bed-rock certainties of ordinary life, what may be called the Moorean truths. Beyond that are the well-established results within the empirical sciences, and whatever has been proved in the rational sciences of mathematics and logic. Otherwise there is only belief, which may be more or less rational. A moral drawn from this is that dogmatism should be moderated on all sides.
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.
This is part of a three-volume collection of most of David Lewis' papers in philosophy, except for those that previously appeared in his Philosophical Papers (Oxford University Press, 1983 and 1986). They are now offered in a readily accessible form. This second volume is devoted to Lewis' work in metaphysics and epistemology. The purpose of this collection, and the volumes that precede and follow it, is to disseminate more widely the work of an eminent and influential contemporary philosopher. The volume (...) will serve as a useful work of reference for teachers and students of philosophy. (shrink)
It is argued that it is possible that all properties are categorical, contrary to the arguments of Franklin that there must be dispositionality "all the way down". The tasks for which dispositionality is alleged to be needed can be fulfilled by laws of nature, which are categorical relations between universals.
Many philosophers have declared that everything which exists is a particular. There is a weak interpretation of this doctrine which I believe to be a true proposition, and a strong one which I believe to be false.
This paper will argue that there is no such thing as introspective access to judgments and decisions. I t won't challenge the existence of introspective access to perceptual and imagistic states, nor to emotional feelings and bodily sensations. On the contrary, the model presented in Section 2 presumes such access. Hence introspection is here divided into two categories: introspection of propositional attitude events, on the one hand, and introspection of broadly perceptual events, on the other. I shall assume that the (...) latter exists while arguing that the fonner doesn't . Section I makes some preliminary points and distinctions, and outlines the scope of the argument. Section 2 presents and motivates the general model of introspection that predicts a divided result. Section 3 provides independent evidence for the conclusion that judgments and decisions aren't introspectable. Section 4 then replies to a number of objections to the argument, the most important of which is made from the perspective of so-called "dual systems theories" of belief formation and decision making, The upshot is a limited form of eliminativism about introspection, in respect of at least two core categories of propositional attitude. (shrink)
This is a study, in two volumes, of one of the longest-standing philosophical problems: the problem of universals. In volume I David Armstrong surveys and criticizes the main approaches and solutions to the problems that have been canvassed, rejecting the various forms of nominalism and 'Platonic' realism. In volume II he develops an important theory of his own, an objective theory of universals based not on linguistic conventions, but on the actual and potential findings of natural science. He thus reconciles (...) a realism about qualities and relations with an empiricist epistemology. The theory allows, too, for a convincing explanation of natural laws as relations between these universals. (shrink)
Reality and Humean Supervenience confronts the reader with central aspects in the philosophy of David Lewis, whose work in ontology, metaphysics, logic, probability, philosophy of mind, and language articulates a unique and systematic foundation for modern physicalism.
Totality states of affairs (Russell's 'general facts') are defended against Martin's criticisms. Although higher-order, they are not 'abstract in Quine's sense. If space-time is the whole of being, and if it can be seen as a vast conjunction of states of affairs, then the state of affairs that this is the totality of lower-order states of affairs is not additional to, but completes, space-times. If totality states of affairs are admitted, then there seems no need for any further negative states (...) of affairs additional to totality states of affairs. (shrink)