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Ideas of David M. Armstrong, by Text

[Australian, 1926 - 2014, Born in Melbourne. Pupil of John Anderson. Taught at Sydney University.]

1968 A Materialist Theory of Mind (Rev)
p.5 If pains are defined causally, and research shows that the causal role is physical, then pains are physical [Lycan]
p.98 Armstrong and Lewis see functionalism as an identity of the function and its realiser [Heil]
p.396 A mental state without belief refutes self-intimation; a belief with no state refutes infallibility [Shoemaker]
270-90 p.63 Armstrong suggests secondary qualities are blurred primary qualities [Robinson,H]
6.VI p.88 To be realists about dispositions, we can only discuss them through their categorical basis
1973 Belief Truth and Knowledge
p.336 Maybe experience is not essential to perception, but only to the causing of beliefs [Scruton]
11.III.6 p.157 Externalism says knowledge involves a natural relation between the belief state and what makes it true
1978 Nominalism and Realism
p.41 p.14 The problem of universals is how many particulars can all be of the same 'type'
1978 A Theory of Universals
p.30 Universals explain resemblance and causal power [Oliver]
p.44 Even if all properties are categorical, they may be denoted by dispositional predicates [Bird]
p.91 Properties are universals, which are always instantiated [Heil]
p.202 If what is actual might have been impossible, we need S4 modal logic [Lewis]
II p.11 p.30 A thing's self-identity can't be a universal, since we can know it a priori [Oliver]
p.8 p.13 It doesn't follow that because there is a predicate there must therefore exist a property
xiii,16/17 p.147 The type-token distinction is the universal-particular distinction [Hodes]
1980 Against 'Ostrich Nominalism'
1 p.104 Refusal to explain why different tokens are of the same type is to be an ostrich
3 p.109 Particulars and properties are distinguishable, but too close to speak of a relation
3 p.111 Some think of reality as made of things; I prefer facts or states of affairs
1983 What is a Law of Nature?
p.15 Rather than take necessitation between universals as primitive, just make laws primitive [Maudlin]
p.47 Armstrong has an unclear notion of contingent necessitation, which can't necessitate anything [Bird]
p.56 Armstrong holds that all basic properties are categorical [Ellis]
p.213 Regularities are lawful if a second-order universal unites two first-order universals [Lewis]
01.1 p.4 Science depends on laws of nature to study unobserved times and spaces
01.2 p.5 If you know what it is, investigation is pointless. If you don't, investigation is impossible
01.2 p.7 Each subject has an appropriate level of abstraction
01.3 p.9 Actualism means that ontology cannot contain what is merely physically possible
01.3 p.9 Dispositions exist, but their truth-makers are actual or categorical properties
02.3 p.14 It is likely that particulars can be individuated by unique conjunctions of properties
02.4 p.16 Realist regularity theories of laws need universals, to pick out the same phenomena
02.6 p.18 A naive regularity view says if it never occurs then it is impossible
02.7 p.21 Newton's First Law refers to bodies not acted upon by a force, but there may be no such body
04.2 p.40 A good reason for something (the smoke) is not an explanation of it (the fire)
04.3 p.42 The raven paradox has three disjuncts, confirmed by confirming any one of them
04.5 p.58 Unlike 'green', the 'grue' predicate involves a time and a change
05.4 p.73 Best explanations explain the most by means of the least
06.2 p.82 Past, present and future must be equally real if universals are instantiated
06.2 p.82 Universals are just the repeatable features of a world
06.2 p.83 All instances of some property are strictly identical
06.2 p.83 The identity of a thing with itself can be ruled out as a pseudo-property
06.3 p.85 The laws of nature link properties with properties
06.4 p.90 A universe couldn't consist of mere laws
06.7 p.99 Science suggests that the predicate 'grue' is not a genuine single universal
06.7 p.102 To explain observations by a regular law is to explain the observations by the observations
06.7 p.104 Induction aims at 'all Fs', but abduction aims at hidden or theoretical entities
08.3 p.123 If everything is powers there is a vicious regress, as powers are defined by more powers
10.3 p.144 Negative facts are supervenient on positive facts, suggesting they are positive facts
10.4 p.147 Absences might be effects, but surely not causes?
10.4 p.148 Oaken conditional laws, Iron universal laws, and Steel necessary laws [PG]
10.7 p.156 Nothing is genuinely related to itself
11 p.15 We can't deduce the phenomena from the One
11.2 p.163 The necessary/contingent distinction may need to recognise possibilities as real
7 p.112 Universals are abstractions from states of affairs
p.83-4 p.92 Universals are abstractions from their particular instances [Lewis]
1986 The Nature of Possibility
p.118 The best version of reductionist actualism around is Armstrong's combinatorial account [Read]
1989 A Combinatorial Theory of Possibility
p.198 All possibilities are recombinations of properties in the actual world [Lewis]
p.205 Negative existentials have 'totality facts' as truthmakers [Lewis]
1992 Pref to new 'Materialist Theory'
p.xiv p.-10 Causal Functionalism says mental states are apt for producing behaviour
p.xiv p.-10 One mental role might be filled by a variety of physical types
p.xvi p.-8 The identity of mental states with physical properties is contingent, because the laws of nature are contingent
p.xvi p.-8 Behaviourism is false, but mind is definable as the cause of behaviour
p.xvii p.-7 The manifestations of a disposition need never actually exist
p.xvii p.-7 Consciousness and experience of qualities are not the same
p.xviii p.-6 A causal theory of mentality would be improved by a teleological element
p.xxii p.-2 Secondary qualities are microscopic primary qualities of physical things
1992 Properties
p.22 What matters is not how many entities we postulate, but how many kinds of entities [Mellor/Oliver]
1 p.161 Whether we apply 'cold' or 'hot' to an object is quite separate from its change of temperature
1 p.161 In most sets there is no property common to all the members
1 p.161 Deniers of properties and relations rely on either predicates or on classes
1 p.161 Change of temperature in objects is quite independent of the predicates 'hot' and 'cold'
1 p.163 Resemblances must be in certain 'respects', and they seem awfully like properties
1 p.164 Predicates need ontological correlates to ensure that they apply
1 p.164 There must be some explanation of why certain predicates are applicable to certain objects
1 p.165 To the claim that every predicate has a property, start by eliminating failure of application of predicate
1 p.166 We want to know what constituents of objects are grounds for the application of predicates
2 p.168 Tropes fall into classes, because exact similarity is symmetrical and transitive
2 p.171 Universals are required to give a satisfactory account of the laws of nature
2 p.171 Trope theory needs extra commitments, to symmetry and non-transitivity, unless resemblance is exact
2 p.171 Regularities theories are poor on causal connections, counterfactuals and probability
2 p.171 The introduction of sparse properties avoids the regularity theory's problem with 'grue'
1 p.164 Essences might support Resemblance Nominalism, but they are too coarse and ill-defined
1 p.165 Without properties we would be unable to express the laws of nature
1995 Universals
p.503 p.503 'Mereological Nominalism' sees whiteness as a huge white object consisting of all the white things
p.503 p.503 'Mereological Nominalism' may work for whiteness, but it doesn't seem to work for squareness
p.503 p.503 'Class Nominalism' may explain properties if we stick to 'natural' sets, and ignore random ones
p.503 p.503 'Class Nominalism' says that properties or kinds are merely membership of a set (e.g. of white things)
p.503 p.503 'Class Nominalism' cannot explain co-extensive properties, or sets with random members
p.503 p.503 'Predicate Nominalism' says that a 'universal' property is just a predicate applied to lots of things
p.503 p.503 Concept and predicate nominalism miss out some predicates, and may be viciously regressive
p.503 p.503 'Resemblance Nominalism' says properties are resemblances between classes of particulars
p.503 p.503 'Concept Nominalism' says a 'universal' property is just a mental concept applied to lots of things
p.503 p.503 'Resemblance Nominalism' finds that in practice the construction of resemblance classes is hard
p.504 p.504 If properties and relations are particulars, there is still the problem of how to classify and group them
p.504 p.504 It is claimed that some universals are not exemplified by any particular, so must exist separately
p.504 p.504 One moderate nominalist view says that properties and relations exist, but they are particulars
p.505 p.505 Should we decide which universals exist a priori (through words), or a posteriori (through science)?
1995 Universals and Particulars
p.506 p.506 Most thinkers now reject self-predication (whiteness is NOT white) so there is no Third Man problem
1997 A World of States of Affairs
p.169 In recent writings, Armstrong makes a direct identification of necessitation with causation [Psillos]
p.220 Properties are contingently existing beings with multiple locations in space and time [Lewis]
49-51 p.96 Without modality, Armstrong falls back on fictionalism to support counterfactual laws [Bird]
p.115 p.23 The truth-maker for a truth must necessitate that truth
p.129 p.22 Correspondence may be one-many or many one, as when either p or q make 'p or q' true
2001 Two Problems for Essentialism
p.170 p.170 How can essences generate the right powers to vary with distance between objects?
2004 Truth and Truthmakers
02.3 p.5 Truth-making can't be entailment, because truthmakers are portions of reality
02.3 p.7 Armstrong says truthmakers necessitate their truth, where 'necessitate' is a primitive relation [MacBride]
02.3.2 p.9 For all being, there is a potential proposition which expresses its existence and nature
02.6 p.12 A realm of abstract propositions is causally inert, so has no explanatory value
04.2 p.40 The class of similar things is much too big a truthmaker for the feature of a particular
04.2 p.41 We need properties, as minimal truthmakers for the truths about objects
04.3 p.46 If tropes are non-transferable, then they necessarily belong to their particular substance
04.5 p.49 Truthmaking needs states of affairs, to unite particulars with tropes or universals.
05.1 p.53 General truths are a type of negative truth, saying there are no more ravens than black ones
05.2 p.58 Negative truths have as truthmakers all states of affairs relevant to the truth
05.2.1 p.62 Length is a 'determinable' property, and one mile is one its 'determinates'
05.2.1 p.62 The determinates of a determinable must be incompatible with each other
05.2.3 p.66 Negative causations supervene on positive causations plus their laws?
06.1 p.68 Necessitating general truthmakers must also specify their limits
06.2 p.76 The nature of arctic animals is truthmaker for the absence of penguins there
07.2 p.84 One truthmaker will do for a contingent truth and for its contradictory
07.3 p.89 Logical atomism builds on the simple properties, but are they the only possible properties?
07.4 p.90 What is the truthmaker for 'it is possible that there could have been nothing'?
07.5 p.91 The truthmakers for possible unicorns are the elements in their combination
08.1 p.95 Possible worlds don't fix necessities; intrinsic necessities imply the extension in worlds
08.5 p.103 When entities contain entities, or overlap with them, there is 'partial' identity
08.7 p.107 All metaphysical discussion should be guided by a quest for truthmakers
09.1 p.112 'Naturalism' says only the world of space-time exists
09.1 p.114 For 'there is a class with no members' we don't need the null set as truthmaker
09.1 p.114 Classes have cardinalities, so their members must all be treated as units
09.3 p.117 In mathematics, truthmakers are possible instantiations of structures
09.5 p.122 The set theory brackets { } assert that the member is a unit
10.4 p.139 Powers must result in some non-powers, or there would only be potential without result
10.4 p.140 How does the power of gravity know the distance it acts over?
10.4 p.141 Properties are not powers - they just have powers
11 p.148 The pure present moment is too brief to be experienced