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A Combinatorial Theory of Possibility (Cambridge Studies in Philosophy) [Paperback]

D. M. Armstrong
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

September 29, 1989 0521377803 978-0521377805 0
David Armstrong's book is a contribution to the philosophical discussion about possible worlds. Taking Wittgenstein's Tractatus as his point of departure, Professor Armstrong argues that nonactual possibilities and possible worlds are recombinations of actually existing elements, and as such are useful fictions. There is an extended criticism of the alternative-possible-worlds approach championed by the American philosopher David Lewis. This major work will be read with interest by a wide range of philosophers.


Editorial Reviews

Book Description

David Armstrong's book is a contribution to the philosophical discussion about possible worlds. Taking Wittgenstein's Tractatus as his point of departure, Professor Armstrong argues that nonactual possibilities and possible worlds are recombinations of actually existing elements, and as such are useful fictions.

Product Details

  • Series: Cambridge Studies in Philosophy
  • Paperback: 156 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (September 29, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521377803
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521377805
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #897,302 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, but on topic April 11, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Given the title, I would expect this book to be pioneering and avant-garde. It wasn't.

Although the writer impressively mentions a number of modern philosophers, some of whom I was unfamiliar with, I struggled with and could not find a real source of originality within this work, in a field (philosophy) which is mostly noted for its originality, this seems thoroughly disappointing.

But, it was not emotionally disappointing, only lacking in genius. In a field such as logic, however, emotionalism doesn't do much to regenerate the effort. This author definitely sounds like an academic, but I'm sure there are student papers that have more to offer.

If there is a deep-level insight in this book, it takes excessive work to recover it, and by that point, why not look at a work of art, or try translating someone who more clearly embodies a tradition?

Nonetheless I cited this book in my Dimensional Philosopher's Toolkit (2013) thinking that the title---involving 'combinatorial theory' was a significant contributor.
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