A Materialist Theory of the Mind  book cover
1st Edition

A Materialist Theory of the Mind

ISBN 9781032355412
Published October 6, 2022 by Routledge
434 Pages

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Book Description

D. M. Armstrong's A Materialist Theory of the Mind is widely known as one of the most important defences of the view that mental states are nothing but physical states of the brain. A landmark of twentieth-century philosophy of mind, it launched the physicalist revolution in approaches to the mind and has been engaged with, debated and puzzled over ever since its first publication over fifty years ago.

Ranging over a remarkable number of topics, from behaviourism, the will and knowledge to perception, bodily sensation and introspection, Armstrong argues that mental states play a causally intermediate role between stimuli, other mental states and behavioural responses. He uses several illuminating examples to illustrate this, such as the classic case of pain.

This Routledge Classics edition includes a new Foreword by Peter Anstey, placing Armstrong's book in helpful philosophical and historical context.

Table of Contents

Foreword to the Routledge Classics Edition Peter Anstey


Preface to the 1993 Edition


Part 1: Theories of Mind

1. A Classification of Theories of Mind

2. Dualism

3. The Attribute Theory

4. A Difficulty for any Non-Materialist Theory of Mind

5. Behaviourism

6. The Central-State Theory

Part 2: The Concept of Mind

7. The Will (1)

8. The Will (2)

9. Knowledge and Inference

10. Perception and Belief

11. Perception and Behaviour

12. The Secondary Qualities

13. Mental Images

14. Bodily Sensations

15. Introspection

16. Belief and Thought

Part 3: The Nature of Mind

17. Identification of the Mental with the Physical



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David Malet Armstrong was born in 1926 in Melbourne, Australia. He studied philosophy at the University of Sydney before going to Oxford, taking the recently established B. Phil. degree in 1954. He taught briefly at Birkbeck College, London, before returning to Australia to teach at the University of Melbourne. He succeeded J.L. Mackie in Anderson’s chair at Sydney in 1964, where he taught until his retirement in 1991. He died in 2014.


'A groundbreaking book when first published, A Materialist Theory of the Mind remains today one of the most important, influential, and penetrating discussions of the mind available. In addition to advancing a powerful defense of mind-body materialism, it contains rich and illuminating treatments of all the main aspects of mental functioning, from perceiving and mental imagery to thinking, willing, and introspection. At once sophisticated and highly accessible, this is a book anybody interested in the mind should have.' - David Rosenthal, City University New York, USA