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From this fundamental assumption flows a rejection of abstract objects including Platonic forms. Armstrong's development as a philosopher was influenced heavily by John Anderson , David Lewis , and J. Martin on a collection of critical essays on John Locke and George Berkeley. Armstrong's philosophy, while systematic, does not spend any time on social or ethical matters, and also does not attempt to build a philosophy of language. In metaphysics, Armstrong defends the view that universals exist although Platonic uninstantiated universals do not exist. Those universals match up with the fundamental particles that science tells us about.

Armstrong's universals are "sparse": not every predicate will have an accompanying property, but only those which are deemed basic by scientific investigation. The ultimate ontology of universals would only be realised with the completion of physical science. Mass would thus be a universal subject to mass not being discarded by future physicists. Armstrong realises that we will need to refer to and use properties that are not considered universals in his sparse ontology—for instance, being able to refer to something being a game to use the example from Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations.

Armstrong then suggests that a supervenience relation exists between these second order properties and the ontologically authentic universals given to us by physics. Armstrong's theory of universals treats relations as having no particular ontological difficulty, they can be treated in the same way non-relational properties are.

How Armstrong's theory of universals deals with relations with varying adicities has been raised as an issue by Fraser MacBride. Armstrong's response is to affirm a theory he describes as the Principle of Instantial Invariance, wherein the adicity of properties are essential and invariant.

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David Malet Armstrong - Wikipedia

According to Armstrong, complex relations which seem to challenge the principle are not ontologically real but are second-order properties that can be reduced to more basic properties that subscribe to the Principle of Instantial Invariance. Armstrong rejects nominalist accounts of properties that attempt to align properties simply with classes. Coextension is a problem they face: if properties are simply classes, in a world where all blue things are also wet, class nominalists are unable to draw a distinction between the property of being blue and being wet.

He provides an analogy to the argument in Euthyphro : to say that electrons are electrons because they are part of the class of electrons puts the cart before the horse. They are part of the class of electrons because they are electrons. In Armstrong's view, nominalisms can also be criticised for producing a blob theory of reality. Objects have structure: they have parts, those parts are made of molecules, which are in turn made up of atoms standing in relation to one another, which are in turn made up of subatomic particles and so on.

Blobbiness also threatens Platonic universals: a particular instantiating a universal in a world of Platonic universals becomes a matter of the blob-particular having a relation to a universal elsewhere in the Platonic heaven, say , rather than having an internal relation in the way that a chemical element does to a constituent atom.

Armstrong further rejects nominalisms that deny that properties and relations exist in reality because he suggests that these sorts of nominalisms, specifically referring to what he calls class nominalism, and resemblance nominalism, postulate primitives of either class membership or resemblance.

In terms of the origin of Armstrong's view of universals, Armstrong says his view of universals is "relatively unexplored territory" but points to Hilary Putnam 's paper 'On Properties' [31] as a possible forerunner. He also says that "Plato in his later works, Aristotle and the Scholastic Realists were ahead of contemporary philosophy in this matter, although handicapped by the relative backwardness of the science and the scientific methodology of their day". Central to Armstrong's philosophy is the idea of states of affairs "facts" in Russell's terminology : in Sketch for a Systematic Metaphysics , Armstrong claims that states of affairs are " the fundamental structures in reality".

The particulars in Armstrong's ontology must have at least one universal—just as he rejects uninstantiated universals, he also rejects "unpropertied particulars". Armstrong argues that states of affairs are distinct things in ontology because they are more than the sum of their parts. If some particular a has a non-symmetric relation R to another particular b , then R a, b differs from R b, a. It may be the case that R a, b obtains in the world but R b, a does not. Without states of affairs instantiating the particulars and universals including relations , we cannot account for the truth of the one case and the falsity of the other.

Armstrong's theory of universals gives him the basis for an understanding of laws of nature as being relations between universals, a non- Humean account of laws of nature proposed independently by Armstrong, [35] Michael Tooley , [36] and Fred Dretske. Armstrong identifies the laws as holding between universals rather than particulars as an account of laws involving just particulars rather than universals would not adequately explain how laws of nature operate in the case of counterfactuals.

To illustrate the theory, Stephen Mumford gives the example of all ravens are black. Under the theory of Armstrong, Tooley and Dretske, there is a relation of necessity between the universals ravenhood and blackness, rather than there being a relationship with every single raven. This allows the explanation of laws of nature that have not been instantiated.

Mumford cites the frequently-used example of the moa bird: "It is supposed that every bird of this now-extinct species died at a young age, though not because of anything in its genetic makeup. Rather, it died mainly because of some virus that just happened to sweep through the population. One bird could have escaped the virus only to be eaten by a predator on the day before its fiftieth birthday. Armstrong rejects dispositionalism , the idea that dispositional properties or powers as they are sometimes referred to are ontologically significant and have an important role in explaining laws of nature.

Armstrong simply states that the disposition is simply in the nature of the instantiated properties of the thing which is supposed to have the disposition. Regarding truth, Armstrong holds to what he describes as a "maximalist version" of truthmaker theory : he believes that every truth has a truthmaker, although there doesn't necessarily exist a one-to-one mapping between truth and truthmaker. The wall being painted green is a truth for the proposition that it is not painted white and the proposition that it is not painted red and so on.

The difficulty in providing an adequate account of truthmakers for events in the past is one reason Armstrong gives for rejecting presentism —the view that only the present exists another reason being the incompatibility of such a view with special relativity. Presentists, Armstrong argues, must either deny that truthmakers are needed for statements about the past, or account for them "by postulating rather strange truthmakers".

Armstrong holds to a physicalist, functionalist theory of the mind. Armstrong did not accept behaviourism and instead defended a theory he referred to as the "central-state theory" which identifies mental states with the state of the central nervous system. In A Materialist Theory of Mind , he accepted that mental states such as consciousness exist, but stated that they can be explained as physical phenomena. Stephen Mumford said that Armstrong's A Materialist Theory of Mind "represents an authoritative statement of Australian materialism and was, and still is, a seminal piece of philosophy".

Armstrong's view of knowledge is that the conditions of knowledge are satisfied when you have a justified true belief that you arrived at through a reliable process: that is, the belief was caused by some factor in the external world hence the label of externalism. Armstrong uses the analogy of a thermometer : as a thermometer changes to reflect the temperature of the environment it is in, so must one's beliefs if they are reliably formed.

The connection between knowledge and the external world, for Armstrong, is a nomological relationship that is, a law of nature relationship. On the question of the relationship between beliefs and knowledge , Armstrong defends a "weak acceptance" of the belief condition, namely that if a person can be said to know some thing p , he or she believes p. In a paper for the Aristotelian Society , Armstrong rejects a series of linguistic arguments for a rejection of the belief condition which argue that one can have knowledge without having belief because a common usage of the word 'belief' is to imply lack of knowledge—Armstrong gives the example of if you asked a man on a railway station whether the train has just left and he said "I believe it has", you would take from this that he does not know that it has.

Armstrong also argues that contradictory beliefs show that there is a connection between beliefs and knowledge. He gives the example of a woman who has learned her husband is dead but cannot bring herself to believe her husband is dead. She both believes and disbelieves her husband is dead: it just happens that one of her two beliefs is justified, true and satisfies some knowledge conditions.

Armstrong presents a response to Colin Radford 's modified version of the "unconfident examinee" example. A student is asked when Queen Elizabeth I died, and he hesitatingly answers "" and exhibits no confidence in his answer. He has forgotten that at some point previously, he studied English history. Radford presents this as an example of knowledge without belief. But Armstrong differs on this: the unconfident examinee has a belief that Queen Elizabeth I died in , he knows that she died in , but he does not know that he knows.

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Armstrong rejects the KK Principle —that to know some thing p , one must know that one knows p. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. David Malet Armstrong. David M. Armstrong receiving his doctorate of letters h. Melbourne , Australia. Sydney , Australia. John Anderson. Biographical Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Philosophers. American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 27 July Rosenkrantz, eds. A Companion to Metaphysics 2nd ed.

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About this product. He begins with the assumption that all that exists is the physical world of space-time. On this foundation he constructs a coherent metaphysical scheme that gives plausible answers to many of the great problems of metaphysics. He gives accounts of properties, relations, and particulars; laws of nature; modality; abstract objects such as numbers; and time and mind. Shipping and handling. The seller has not specified a shipping method to Germany. Contact the seller - opens in a new window or tab and request shipping to your location.

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