Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-768dbb666b-gx6zg Total loading time: 1.065 Render date: 2023-02-07T01:50:55.451Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

Book contents

Arnauld, Antoine (1612–1694)


Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 January 2016

Denis Moreau
Université de Nantes
Lawrence Nolan
California State University, Long Beach
Get access


Born in Paris, Antoine Arnauld was often called “the Great Arnauld,” both to distinguish him from his father and because of his considerable intellectual abilities. He was a leader of the Port Royal circle and an eminent representative of classical Augustinianism. His extensive body of work covers primarily theological questions debated in connection with the controversies surrounding Jansen's Augustinus. But he did devote some of his intellectual activity to philosophy, for the most part focusing quite closely on the thought of René Descartes.

Aside from his two co-written books (the Grammar, 1660, with Claude Lancelot; and the Logic, also called The Port Royal Logic, 1662, with Pierre Nicole) and the New Elements of Geometry (1667), Arnauld's strictly philosophical work is concentrated at the start and close of his career. At the beginning, in 1641, he wrote a set of philosophical theses and, more importantly, the Fourth Objections to Descartes’ Meditations, followed by an exchange of letters with Descartes in 1648. But it is at the other end of his intellectual journey, in his last few years, that Arnauld wrote the bulk of his philosophical texts. Best known among his works from that period are his correspondence with Leibniz about the Discourse on Metaphysics (beginning in 1686) and the voluminous books written between 1683 and 1694 during his controversy with Malebranche. To these well-known works should be added a series of texts on truth, ideas, and human freedom written between 1680 and 1690.

The Fourth Objections were, for the young Arnauld, a sort of philosophical initiation, since Descartes himself let it be known that he considered them “the best of all [those that had been raised] because he [Arnauld] penetrated further than any of the others in what [he] had written” (AT III 331, CSMK 175). This set of objections shows Arnauld's keen interest in Descartes’ philosophy, an interest that never faded, even if the degree of Arnauld's adherence to Cartesian thought has been and continues to be debated.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2015

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Arnauld, Antoine. 2003. Œuvres philosophiques d'Arnauld, 6 vols., ed. Kremer, E. and Moreau, D.. Bristol: Thoemmes.Google Scholar
Arnauld, Antoine. 2001. Textes philosophiques d'Antoine Arnauld, ed. Moreau, D.. Paris: PUF.Google Scholar
Arnauld, Antoine. 1996. Logic or the Art of Thinking, trans. Buroker, J. V.. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Arnauld, Antoine. 1990. On True and False Ideas, trans. Kremer, E.. New York: E. Mellen.Google Scholar
Arnauld, Antoine. 1775–83. Œuvres de Messire Antoine Arnauld, 42 vols., ed. Du Pac De Bellegarde, G. and Hautefage, J.. Paris: Sigismond D'Arnay.Google Scholar
Arnauld, Antoine, and Leibniz, Gottfried. 1967. The Leibniz-Arnauld Correspondence, trans. Mason, H. T.. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
Faye, Emmanuel. 2003. “The Cartesianism of Desgabets and Arnauld and the Problem of the Eternal Truths,” in Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy, vol. 2, ed. Garber, Daniel and Nadler, Steven. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 193–209.Google Scholar
Kremer, Elmar, ed. 1996. Interpreting Arnauld. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
Kremer, Elmar. 1994. The Great Arnauld and Some of His Philosophical Correspondents.Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
Moreau, Denis. 1999. Deux cartésiens. Paris: Vrin.Google Scholar
Nadler, Steven. 1989. Arnauld and the Cartesian Philosophy of Ideas. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Ndiaye, Aloyse Raymond. 1991. La philosophie d'Antoine Arnauld. Paris: Vrin.Google Scholar

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats