Causation, Perception and Dispositions: Thematic Trends Antecedent to Armstrong's 1968 A Materialist Theory of the Mind

Sharon Ford

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paper presented at Conference (not in Proceedings)

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Abstract

2018 marked the 50th anniversary of the publication of David Armstrong’s book, ‘A Materialist Theory of the Mind’ (MTM). This 1968 book is a seminal work, which defends and refines the mind-brain identity theory, that mental states are physiochemical states of the brain. In this paper, I explore Armstrong’s early writings in philosophy, looking for the patterns of thought, the focal points and influences that culminate in MTM. I show how Armstrong’s journey is marked with two key sets of influences themed around causation and perception. These converge on what appears to be for him a ‘common-sense’ understanding of mind and its potentially variable states; mental states reducible to, and explainable via, their physical grounding in the structure, substance and properties of the existent physical world. Armstrong’s Realist account of dispositions is integral to this account of mind. The focus of this paper will be to show how causation and perception in his early writing are key influences that underpin this account of dispositions.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 8 Aug 2018
EventA Materialist Theory of the Mind: 50 Years On - University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
Duration: 8 Aug 201810 Aug 2018

Conference

ConferenceA Materialist Theory of the Mind: 50 Years On
CountryAustralia
CitySydney
Period8/08/1810/08/18

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