Antoine Arnauld and Pierre Nicole: Logic Or the Art of Thinking

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Cambridge University Press, Apr 18, 1996 - Philosophy - 281 pages
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Antoine Arnauld and Pierre Nicole were philosophers and theologians associated with Port-Royal Abbey, a center of the Catholic Jansenist movement in seventeenth-century France. Their enormously influential Logic or the Art of Thinking, which went through five editions in their lifetimes, treats topics in logic, language, theory of knowledge and metaphysics, and also articulates the response of "heretical" Jansenist Catholicism to orthodox Catholic and Protestant views on grace, free will and the sacraments. This edition presents a new translation of the text, together with a historical introduction and suggestions for further reading.

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About the author (1996)

The chief representative in Catholic theology of the Augustinian reform movement known as Jansenism, Antoine Arnauld was one of the seventeenth century's most important and influential writers on metaphysics and epistemology. He was born in Paris in 1612 into a wealthy family and educated at the Sorbonne, where he entered the priesthood and received a doctorate in theology in 1641. Invited to contribute a set of objections to Meditations on First Philosophy (1641) by Descartes he was the first to raise the problem of the "Cartesian circle." Arnauld, however, was deeply impressed by the Cartesian system and defended an essentially Cartesian position in his philosophical works, as well as in his later controversies with Malebranche and Leibniz. Arnauld's most important philosophical work was The Art of Thinking (1662), which he coauthored with Pierre Nicolet. Elaborating the Cartesian theory of clear and distinct ideas, it attempted to reform the theory of logic by using as its basis Descartes's Regulae rather than the traditional Prior Analytics of Aristotle. Arnaud's treatise On True and False Ideas (1683) defended a representative theory of perception against Malebranche's view that the immediate objects of human thoughts are ideas in the mind of God. Several years later, in correspondence, Arnauld interrogated Leibniz over the latter's Discourse on Metaphysics, arguing that the Leibnizian theory of complete individual concepts is committed to an objectionable form of determinism. Arndaud died in exile in Brussels in 1694.

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