David Malet Armstrong

David Malet Armstrong ( born July 8, 1926 Melbourne, Australia) is an Australian philosopher and professor at the University of Sydney. His main research areas are philosophy of mind, ontology and philosophy of science. Armstrong represents a reductive physicalism.


Armstrong is the son of Commodore JMArmstrong who did in the U.S. Navy service. After attending school in Oxford and Australia as well as military service with the Australian Navy (1945 /46) studied Armstrong at the University of Sydney from 1947 philosophy. He graduated in 1950 with honors. In 1950 he married Madeleine Annette Haydon. This was followed by graduate studies at Oxford University in 1952 until 1954. Afterwards he worked in the years 1954/55 as a lecturer ( Lecturer ) at London University. In 1956 he went back to Australia and taught at the University of Melbourne ( 1956-1963 ). There he earned a PhD in 1960. From 1964 he was professor at the University of Sydney until his retirement in 1992., He joined in 1982 A second marriage with Mary de Bohun Jennifer Clark. Armstrong has held guest professorships, among others at Stanford University, University of Graz, University of Notre Dame and Yale University. On 13 December 2007 he was awarded the Doctor of Letters ( hc ) from the University of Nottingham, England awarded.


A key element in Armstrong's work is his universals. This means that there is next to objects even properties as respectable, basic entities. This, however, Armstrong was raised in the sense that depending on objects before that they can not exist independently of them. Armstrong's main reason for the adoption of universals is the so-called truth of it maker principle ( truth-maker principle): For each contingent truth, there must be something that makes it true. So there must be properties that make the facts about properties true.

The ontology of basic, Armstrong always physical, objects and properties are in a strong realistic sense, describe what it really is. This also applies to laws of nature, which sees Armstrong as relations between universals. He distances himself from laws views in the tradition of David Hume, the laws of nature will lead back to regularities.

Armstrong is also regarded as one of the most important representatives of a reductive materialism in the philosophy of mind. He represents an identity theoretical position in the tradition of John Smart and Ullin Place.


  • Berkeley 's Theory of Vision: A Critical Examination of Bishop Berkeley 's Essay towards a New Theory of Vision. Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1960.
  • Bodily Sensations. Routledge & K. Paul, London 1962.
  • Perception and the Physical World. Routledge & K. Paul, London 1961, ISBN 0-7100-3603-5.
  • A Materialist Theory of the Mind. Routledge & K. Paul, London 1968, ISBN 0-415-10031-3.
  • Belief, Truth and Knowledge. Cambridge University Press, London 1973, ISBN 0-521-08706-6.
  • Universals and Scientific Realism. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1978, ISBN 0-521-21741-5.
  • The Nature of Mind and Other Essays. Cornell University Press, 1981, ISBN 0,801,413,532th
  • What is a Law of Nature? Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1983, ISBN 0-521-25343-8. ( German: What is a natural law Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-936532 32- X? ).
  • A Combinatorial Theory of Possibility. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1989, ISBN 0-521-37427-8.
  • Universals: An Opinionated Introduction. Westview Press, Boulder, CO, 1989, ISBN 0-8133-0772-4.
  • A World of States of Affairs. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1997, ISBN 0-521-58064-1. ( German: facts, facts Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-936532-33-8. . )
  • The Mind - Body Problem: An Opinionated Introduction. Westview Press, Boulder, CO 1999, ISBN 0-8133-9056-7.
  • Truth and Truth Makers. Cambridge University Press, 2004, ISBN 0-521-83832-0.


  • Is Introspective Knowledge Incorrigible? In: Philosophical Review. 72, 1963, pp. 417-432.
  • Meaning and Communication. In: Philosophical Review. 80, 1971, p 427-447.
  • Peter Forrest: An argument against David Lewis' Theory of Possible Worlds. In: Australasian Journal of Philosophy. 62, 1984, pp. 164-168.
  • Classes are States of Affairs. In: Mind. 100, 1991, pp. 189-200.