January 18, 2017
"Locke, Arnauld, and Abstract Ideas"
I've posted a new draft to my writings page, "Locke, Arnauld, and Abstract Ideas". Current work in the history of philosophy mostly treats Arnauld as a footnote to other philosophers, but the fact that he's needed as a footnote in discussions of Descartes, Malebranche, Leibniz, and Locke suggests that his historical importance is greater than his 'footnote' status suggests. Further, what little English-language secondary literature on Arnauld exists is mostly divided into three categories: work on the Port-Royal Logic and Grammar (including, especially, the influence of these works on Locke), work on the controversy with Malebranche (and the direct realism...
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March 30, 2016
"Arnauld's Verbal Distinction" in History and Philosophy of Logic
I've just heard that "Arnauld's Verbal Distinction between Ideas and Perceptions"
will appear in History and Philosophy of Logic
. It is unfortunate that Arnauld doesn't get more attention; I'm trying to do something about that!
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December 19, 2015
REP Article on Port-Royal
My article on Port-Royal for the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy
is now available here
. (Unfortunately, a subscription is required to see the complete article; only the opening summary is freely available.) The article focuses primarily on the theory of mind and language in the Port-Royal Grammar
(1660) and Logic
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June 15, 2015
Understanding Sentences: Port-Royal, Locke, and Berkeley
According to the Port-Royal Logic, "words are distinct and articulated sounds that people have made into signs to indicate what takes place in the mind" (Buroker 74). Similarly, according to Locke, the use of language requires that one ``be able to use [articulate] Sounds, as Signs of internal Conceptions; and to make them stand as marks for the Ideas within his own Mind, whereby they might be made known to others, and the Thoughts of Men's Minds be conveyed from one to another" (EHU 3.1.2). Passages like these support Berkeley's interpretation of his predecessors as holding that, in the proper...
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Jennifer Smalligan Marušić
Philosophy of Language
Philosophy of Mind
The Way of Ideas
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September 1, 2014
July 25, 2014
Regarding All Those Possible Arnaulds
One of the main topics of the Leibniz-Arnauld correspondence is the question how, on Leibniz's theory, it can be true that Arnauld might have had children and been a physician rather than being a celibate theologian (see Arnauld's letter of May 13, 1686). One of the curious things that happens in this discussion is that both Leibniz and Arnauld start talking about the many Adams and many Judases and many Arnaulds in the various possible worlds, with Leibniz insisting that none of them is identical to the actual Adam/Judas/Arnauld. In that May 13 letter, Arnauld even speaks of 'several mes',...
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July 3, 2012
The Port-Royalists on Judgment and Other Mental Operations
Locke famously defines judgment, knowledge, etc., in terms of the joining or separating of ideas. It is quite probable that Locke's source for this is the Port-Royal Logic. There are two well-known problems with this view. First, according to this view in order to think that Peter is not living I must mentally separate the idea of Peter from the idea of living, but if I do that then its not clear how this judgment, that Peter is not living, can be a unit which can be, for instance, embedded in complex sentences. Locke makes matters worse by talking about...
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August 31, 2009
Quote of the Day: Nadler on Arnauld on the Church's Authoritativeness
I have recently been involved in an interesting discussion on the authority/authoritativeness of the Church over at Called to Communion. In light of this, I thought I would post a selection I came across today on the position of Antoine Arnauld, the French Jansenist theologian and Cartesian philosopher, on this question: Like all Jansenists, [Arnauld] was accused of Calvinism and political subversion. In 1656 he was excluded from the faculty of the Sorbonne for his refusal to submit to the Church on the issue of five propositions condemned as heretical in the encyclical Cum occasione (1653), and which the Pope...
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