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.
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.
The emphasis is always on the arguments used, and the way one position develops from another. By the end of the book the reader is afforded both a grasp of the state of the controversy, and how we got there.
The paper tries to rebut an objection to materialism. Anti-Materialists have argued that mental processes do not appear to be mere physical processes in the brain, And that secondary qualities such as sounds do not appear to be mere vibrations in the air. So materialists must admit that introspection and perception involve at least the illusion of the falsity of materialism. Using the headless woman illusion as a model, It is shown how the illusion is generated, And that it is (...) exactly what we ought to expect even if materialism is true. (shrink)
In this paper I put forward what I think is a new approach to the problem of induction. I sketched the approach in brief sections of a book published in 1983. The same idea had occurred to the English philosopher John Foster and he presented it in a paper at about the same time.
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.
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)
Revenant sur la question des vérifacteurs, D. Armstrong demande ici d'abord comment concilier le maximalisme et la relation de nécessitation. 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 David 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 qui est implicite à la généralisation des vérifacteurs. The A. wants to reconcile maximalisme about truthmakers and the relation of necessitation. 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 David 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 necessity which is implicit in the generalization of truthmakers. (shrink)