Arnauld's Silence on the Creation of the Eternal Truths

Res Philosophica 96 (4):445-470 (2019)
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In the latter half of the 17th century, Antoine Arnauld was a public and private defender of many of the central tenets of Cartesianism. Yet, one issue on which he is surprisingly silent is René Descartes’ claim that God freely created the eternal truths (the Creation Doctrine). Despite Arnauld’s evasion of the issue, whether he holds the Creation Doctrine is one of the most contested issues in Arnauld scholarship. In this paper I offer an interpretation of Arnauld’s position. I argue that Arnauld does not hold what I call the metaphysical version of the Creation Doctrine according to which God in fact freely created the eternal truths. Rather, he holds what I call the epistemic version of the Creation Doctrine according to which we cannot know whether God freely created the eternal truths.



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Eric Stencil
Utah Valley University

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Descartes on the creation of the eternal truths.Harry Frankfurt - 1977 - Philosophical Review 86 (1):36-57.
Descartes's theory of modality.Jonathan Bennett - 1994 - Philosophical Review 103 (4):639-667.
On True and False Ideas.Antoine Arnauld & Stephen Gaukroger - 1992 - Philosophical Review 101 (4):849-851.
Sur La Theologie Blanche de Descartes.Jean-luc Marion - 1981 - Journal of Philosophy 81 (3):156-162.
Cognition and modality in Descartes.Alan Nelson & David Cunning - 1999 - Acta Philosophica Fennica 64:137-154.

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