Armstrong’s Theory of Laws and Causation: Putting Things into their Proper Places
Philosophy of Cognitive Science
S. M. Hassan A. Shirazi
Published 2018-10-25


David Armstrong, laws, causation, truthmakers, Alexander Bird

How to Cite

Shirazi, S. M. H. (2018) “Armstrong’s Theory of Laws and Causation: Putting Things into their Proper Places”, Problemos, 94, pp. 61-70. doi: 10.15388/Problemos.2018.0.0.11995.


[full article, abstract in English; abstract in Lithuanian]

Armstrong’s theory of laws and causation may be articulated as something like the following, which we may refer to as the received view: “Laws are intrinsic higher-order relations of ensuring (necessitation) between properties. The instantiation of laws is identical with singular causation. This identity is a posteriori.” Opponents and advocates of this view, believe that it may fairly and correctly be attributed to Armstrong. I do not deny it; instead I seek to reconsider the received view, specifically by treating it as a part of Armstrong’s metaphysics. The main features that should concern us are truthmaker theory and the formal account of the constitutive parts of states of affairs. I also discuss Bird’s ultimate argument against Armstrong and show how its impact is weakened by this proper reading.

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