Descartes and the falsity of ideas Pecharman
"Arnauld and the falsity of ideas." (From the Third Meditation to the Fourth Objections) by Martine Pecharman
In Archives de Philosophie 78, no. 1 (2015): 49–74.
1 The criticism in 1641, in Arnauld's Fourth Objections, of the thesis introduced by Descartes in the Third Meditation of a falsity of ideas, gave rise to a large number of comments. However, the secondary literature has so far favored, it seems to me, two main aspects for the examination of this question. On the one hand, it has been asked whether Arnauld's criticism had led Descartes to modify his initial position or whether the Fourth Responses had maintained the same thesis as in the Third Meditation . On the other hand, we insisted on the rallying of Logic or The Art of Thinking (1662) to the Cartesian analysis of the confused ideas of sensation as ideas “which we can also call false.”
 Antoine ARNAULD and Pierre NICOLE, Logic, or The Art of Thinking . . . , seeing it as proof that Descartes' Fourth Responses had made Arnauld recognize the error of interpretation at the basis of his first criticism. In both cases, Arnauld's objection to the falsity of the ideas was judged according to the responses it elicited from Descartes. My aim, in this article, is simply to restore Arnauld's refutation to its independence with regard to a reading oriented by our knowledge of both the Fourth Responses and the Logic of Port-Royal. By a sort of opposite between the text of the Third Meditation and that of the Fourth Objections, my only intention would be to mark the changes that Arnauld's objection gives to the mode of introducing the question of the falsity of the ideas by Descartes while at the same time trying to have them endorsed by the author of the Meditations. I would like to emphasize here that by centering the appreciation of the criticism of Descartes by the young Arnauld on the question of the falsity of the ideas of sensation, rather than on that of the falsity of ideas, we have perhaps neglected the dimension of permanence, in Arnauld's mature works, of a position defended from the Fourth Objections in the name of Descartes himself.
A thesis in waiting: the falsity of ideas
2 In the Third Meditation, Descartes defines two distinct kinds of thoughts, those – ideas in the literal sense – which are "like images of things" insofar as "I apprehend" something as their object, and those which add "some other forms” to the idea-form.
 For references to the Meditations, I will sometimes cite, rather….
However, this dichotomy between simple and complex form of thought does not in itself make it possible to determine in which thoughts there is “strictly speaking truth or falsity.”
 MB, p. 91/AT IX-1, p. 29 (my emphasis).
Another dichotomy is grafted onto it, making it possible to isolate judgments from other modes of thought. Instead of translating all mental operations indifferently into a complete series of propositions p which should be recognized as being all equally contents of the assertion it is true that p , since I am certain that these operations belong without exception to the self -thinking substance.
 See Third Meditation, AT IX-1, p. 27 (cf.
Second…, Descartes limits this propositional transposition to ideas, wills and affections. It is true that I imagine a chimera / I desire a bad thing / I want an impossible thing : the illusory, bad or impossible character of the objects of ideas, affections or volitions, in no way alters the validity of the complete structure attributing propositions corresponding to these acts have the property of being true. Judgments appear as the only mode of adding another form to the idea-form by which falsity is made possible.
3 Why, unlike other kinds of thoughts, does the object of an erroneous assertion not count for nothing with regard to the truth assertion relating to the proposition corresponding to this act? The reason for this is given through the description of what we might call the canonical structure of falsity: the assertion that my ideas are “similar to, or consistent with,” things external to me.[5 ]
 AT IX-1, p. 29.
This assertion, a standard model of falsity in judgments, justifies that the judicative genre of thought should be an exception to the univocal treatment of propositions relating to mental modalities. The act of judging cannot be considered, like other mental acts, to be indifferent to the nature of its objects, due to our habit of relating our ideas to extra-mental things by supposing between them the same resemblance as between a painting and its original.
 AT IX-1, p. 28.
4 In the dichotomy between the kinds of thoughts which cannot be the locus of falsity, and that (affirming and denying) which alone can, ideas are however excluded from falsity only under two conditions:
- (1) that 'they are considered "alone in themselves," only "as certain modes of my thought," without relating them to "something else", ad aliud quid, and
- (2) that only falsity in the literal sense either in play .
 MB, p. 91, p. 93 (slightly modified translation)/AT IX-1,….
Now, by establishing that the ordinary structure of false thoughts strictly speaking, the judgments, consists of the affirmation of a conformity between the ideas in my mind and external things, we also establish that the ideas, when an act of the The mind relates them to something other than themselves, can be subject to error of judgment, errandi materia . Because almost all false judgments transform the referre ad aliud , the relation to its object which is intrinsic to the idea, into a referre ad extra, a relation to something external to the mind and conforming to the idea, ideas are recognized as likely to give rise to an erroneous judgment, whereas on the contrary under their consideration as only modes of thought, it would be difficult for them to cause the slightest false assertion.
 Meditationes de Prima philosophia, AT VII, p. 37: “vix mihi….
Ideas can in this sense be attributed a kind of falsity, although it remains impossible to attribute falsity to them in the literal sense.
What Arnauld's objection is not
5 Despite the milestones thus laid out by Descartes, when the Third Meditation explicitly admits another falsity, material falsity in ideas, in addition to falsity strictly speaking or formal falsity which can only concern judgments, Arnauld rejects this admission:
- 6 The only thing that I do not approve of is that Mr. Descartes, while he had maintained that falsity is strictly speaking only found in judgments, nevertheless admits shortly after that ideas can, not certainly formally, but materially, be false: which seems to me to be in disagreement with its principles.
 AT IX-1, p. 160-161 (modified Clerselier translation; cf. AT….
7 From “Mr Descartes”, and until Arnauld's final negative assessment, this criticism in reality incorporates the sentence which, in the Third Meditation , splits the notion of falsity into two distinct notions. Descartes writes:
- 8 Indeed, although I noted a little above that falsity properly so called, that is to say formal falsity, cannot be found elsewhere than in judgments, nevertheless there is certainly some other falsity, material, in ideas…
 AT IX-1, p. 34 (modified Luynes translation; cf. AT VII, p. 43).
9 Arnauld appropriates the content of Descartes' statement by subtly modifying its modality. The conjunction although ( quamvis ) of concession is transformed into a conjunction while ( cum ) of opposition, which does not fail to then alter the effect produced by the adversative nevertheless ( tamen ). We thus have the impression that the two assertions on formal falsity then on material falsity are disjointed in the Third Meditation , and that it is he, Arnauld reader of Descartes, who, having detected a form of incompatibility between them, brings them together in the same sentence in such a way as to make their discordance manifest. The Third Meditation brings a reservation to the attribution of the possibility of falsity to judgments alone. But Arnauld, through the disarticulation and recomposition of Descartes' statement under another grammatical modality, underlines an opposition between the first exclusion of falsity for all thoughts other than judgments and the then admission of 'a falsehood for ideas. The sentence which prepares in the Third Meditation the entry on the scene of the definition of the material falsity of ideas by the representation of a non-thing as a thing thus takes on the aspect of a contrariety between two statements. This figure of contrariety is useful to Arnauld to justify an otherwise radical reading: by admitting the falsity of ideas, Descartes betrayed his own principles. Behind the discord between the possible material falsity of ideas and the restriction of falsity strictly speaking or formal to judgments, Arnauld aims at a fundamental incongruity of the notion of a falsity of ideas in relation to the Cartesian doctrine of ideas   We cannot simply say that for Arnauld “this notion…. It is in no way a question for him of opposing to the thesis of the Third Meditation the impossibility of a falsity of incomplexes, simple ideas or apprehensions. The necessarily propositional status of true and false in the Aristotelian logical tradition   See ARISTOTLE, Categories, 2 to 7-9. Norman J. WELLS (“Material…, with which Descartes' primary localization of falsity in judgments alone would agree, is not what Arnauld objects to the falsity of ideas. Instead of external criticism, he offers internal criticism. The thesis for which Descartes prepared the emergence by leaving room for a falsity in an improper sense of ideas is equivalent for him to the irruption of a discordance within the Meditations . Because the definition of the material falsity of ideas seems to him to involve much more than the simple notion of an errandi materia , Arnauld tests its validity within the Cartesian doctrine.
10Arnauld is particularly attentive to the architecture of the a posteriori proof of the existence of God in which the thesis he rejects intervenes. For him there are not two distinct demonstrations of the existence of God in the Third Meditation , but two complementary parts of one and the same demonstration, and it is "touching the first part", when the existence of God is proven from the idea of God in me, that “only one thing” seems unacceptable to him: the possibility of a material falsity of ideas   AT IX-1, p. 160.. The announced objection could therefore seem to target a defect in the deduction of the existence of God if we bring into play the thesis on the falsity of ideas. But the accusation of inconsistency that Arnauld brings against Descartes does not concern the function assigned to the materially false idea in the economy of a posteriori demonstration . It is not a logical inconsistency of the argument of the material falsity of ideas from the point of view of the conclusion to be reached (that God exists), but a doctrinal inconsistency from the point of view of Descartes' principles, which is aimed at. The main object of Arnauld's disagreement with Descartes is an element of the De ideis , so to speak, in which the Third Meditation largely consists , more than an element of the De Deo which begins in this Meditation by the a posteriori demonstration of the existence of God and which ends in the Fifth Meditation with the so-called ontological proof.
An example detached from its context
11 Arnauld presents his objection as made in the name of Descartes' principles. It would be a question, in a way, of showing oneself more faithful to the principles of Descartes than Descartes himself. But what principles? Arnauld does not explain them directly. The falsity of ideas constitutes, he says, a most obscure question ( res obscurissima ), so much so that he proceeds by means of an example. The use of clarification by example ( res exemplo clarior fiet )   AT VII, p. 206.thus appears as a replacement solution, failing to succeed otherwise in pointing out to Descartes the point on which he departed from his own doctrine. What Arnauld gives for a default approach, however, is rather a well-developed strategy, because the example from which he specifies the content of his objection is not an example that he constructs himself to invalidate the position of Descartes, but an example that he borrows from the very passage of the Third Meditation developing the definition of the material falsity of ideas. The example given by Arnauld of a breach by Descartes of his principles on the question of the material falsity of ideas is an example proposed by Descartes of a materially false idea: it is the example of the idea of cold. Arnauld opposes Descartes, not with a counter-example, but with the demonstration that his very example attests to the impossibility of the thesis that he is supposed to illustrate.
12So let's take the example of Descartes:
13 If, he says [says Descartes], cold is only a deprivation of heat, the idea of cold, which represents it to me as a positive thing, will be materially false   AT IX-1, p. 161 (completed Clerselier translation: cf. AT…. 14Arnauld transforms this example of Descartes from a materially false idea into an objection – which I will present later – to the definition of material falsity. According to Norman J. Wells, this objection aims at the destruction by material falsity of the ideas of Descartes' principles on clear and distinct ideas.   Wells writes (op. cit., p. 41): “From the outset of his…. But what strikes me on the contrary in it is precisely that it does not involve the consideration of the distinction between clarity and distinction on the one hand, obscurity and confusion on the other hand, which we find in the De ideis of the Third Meditation . To reverse it into an internal contradiction of the doctrine of ideas, Arnauld detaches the Cartesian example of a materially false idea, the idea of cold, from the demonstrative context in which it is inscribed. Before determining what should be put behind the laconic expression "the principles of Mr. Descartes", it therefore seems useful to recall how Descartes is led, in the Third Meditation , to resort to the idea of cold as a paradigm of a false idea. The restitution of this context allows, in fact, to better measure the change in status that Arnauld brings to this example, in order to turn it against Descartes in the name of the very coherence of the latter's doctrine.
15Is there an idea in me that can give me the certainty of an existence other than my own? This is the question from which the Third Meditation is led to admit a material falsity of ideas. Descartes starts from the distinction between two modes of considering ideas: as modalities of thought, and as representing different things. From the point of view of the inherence of ideas in the thinking substance, as its modes, the self is sufficient to confer a formal reality to ideas, and it confers the same to all. Not only cannot an idea be formally more real than me , the thinking substance of which it is only a mode or act, but none is more real than another. But the same ideas which under the aspect of their formal reality are equal, are unequal as representations of different things. In this other aspect, they are “very different from each other   AT VII, p. 40: “ab invicem valde diversas” (cf. AT IX-1,… ", because the things they represent (one one thing , the other another ) are different quantities of perfection. Ideas represent or show ( representing, exhibit ) to the mind the gradation from the least real to the most real, up to the absolutely real, and this hierarchy of degrees of reality (modes, finite substances, infinite substance) represented is designated carefully by Descartes – “so to speak”, ut ita loquar – as, by comparison, “more objective reality” in the ideas of substances than in the ideas of modes or accidents   AT IX-1, p. 32; cf. AT VII, p. 40.. The different contents of ideas in the mind are therefore understood in the sense of more or less perfection objectively in them.
16When Descartes affirms for the idea of stone, for example, considered as it is in me ( in me esse ), that there must be "some cause" which puts it in me, the in-esse of which it is that of an idea having a determined object or content, an idea “ of ”, and not that of this same idea as a simple mental act   AT IX-1, p. 32.. The in-esse in the mind of the idea of an object is not reducible to the inherence in the thinking substance of the mental act of apprehension of this object, and it is for the idea -representation, not for the fashion-idea, that it is important in the Third Meditation to make the principle “nothing is without a cause” work. As they are more or less real depending on whether they contain a greater or lesser quantity of perfection, ideas are for Descartes effects to which the axiom relates: "there must be at least as much formal reality in the cause of an idea that this idea contains of objective reality. The question then arises: does the objective reality of the ideas of corporeal things require a cause other than me? In order to show that these ideas do not contain anything "so great" that an existing other than myself must be the cause proportionate to their quantity of objective reality, Descartes bases himself on a division between them, according to whether their content is perceived clearly and distinctly (the ideas of extent, figure, situation, movement, to which are added those of substance, duration, number) or "very confusedly and obscurely" (ideas of light, colors, sounds , smells, flavors, heat and cold and other tactile qualities)   MB, p. 111 (translation slightly modified)/AT IX-1, p. 34..
17The Third Meditation illustrated for the two ideas together of a material substance (a stone) and a sensitive quality (heat) the application to objective reality of an idea of the axiom "it is impossible that this that which is more perfect is produced by that which is less perfect   MB, p. 103 /AT IX-1, p. 32. ": that the idea of a stone/the idea of heat is in me depends on "some cause in which there is at least as much reality as I conceive as there is in heat or in a stone   MB, p. 105 (emphasis added)/AT IX-1, p. 32. ". As much formal reality in the cause as I objectively conceive in the effect, such is the rule which applies indifferently to the idea of a sensible quality and to the idea of a material substance. But, precisely, it is in the way in which it is conceived that the objective reality of ideas of corporeal things requires that we separate them into clear and distinct / confused and obscure. The ideas of sensible qualities find themselves dissociated from other ideas of corporeal things, because the way of clearly and distinctly conceiving their objective reality is lacking in the mind: “I do not even know if […] [they] are the ideas of certain things, or non-things” ( rerum quarundam ideae, an non rerum )   MB, p. 111-113 (modified translation)/AT IX-1, p. 34.. This ignorance of the ontological status of the objects represented by the ideas of sensible qualities (things, or non-things?) implies an indetermination regarding these ideas themselves (representations of things, or non-things?). By application of the principle “there can only be ideas as things   Nullae ideae nisi tanquam rerum esse possunt (AT VII, p. 44).… ", the Third Meditation poses the dilemma of the truth or falsity of ideas of sensible qualities as representations of objects to the mind: are they true (ideas [-as-of-things] of things), or are they are they false (ideas [-as-of-things] of non-things)?
18This is so, taking into account the principle that it is in the nature of every idea to be as a thing and to represent its object “as something real and positive   AT IX-1, p. 35 (tanquam reale quid et positivum, AT VII, p. 44). ", that Descartes introduces a hypothesis allowing him to define what a materially false idea is: if the object of an idea which is necessarily like a thing (otherwise it would not be an idea) happens not to be a thing (nothing real, neither substance, nor accident), then the representation of this object is false. Material falsity is defined under a supposition that one could call circumstantial: an idea is materially false when it represents that which has no reality ( non res ) as real ( tanquam res ).
19What Descartes describes as an example ( exempli causa ) of “a certain other falsity, material, in ideas” ( quaedam alia falsitas materialis in ideis ) must therefore be strictly considered a consequence of the way of conceiving ideas sensitive qualities. The ideas of two contrary sensible qualities such as heat and cold are conceived with so little ( tam parum ) of clarity and distinction that they teach me nothing about what their objects are. Due to the uncertainty of the ontological status of these two opposites, cold and heat, four hypotheses are possible: cold is deprivation of heat; heat is deprivation of cold; cold and heat are both real qualities; neither cold nor heat are real qualities   The unreality of cold and heat is given only for…. The definition of material falsity applies to the idea of cold when the hypothesis retained is that according to which "cold is only a deprivation of heat", non-possession by a body, or deficiency in a body, of the real quality of heat, and not itself a real quality. This hypothesis as to the nature of cold makes it possible to give content to the circumstantial supposition under which Descartes introduced the notion of the material falsity of an idea. Cold-deprivation is represented in the mind as a real quality, so the idea of cold can then be considered as the paradigm of a materially false idea.
The objective being of the idea of cold
20When he makes the example of the Third Meditation an example of Descartes' doctrinal inconsistency, Arnauld detaches the supposition under which the idea of cold is a materially false idea from the confused and obscure perception on which it depends. He is only interested in the fate which is made in the example of Descartes to the relation of identity between the nature of the idea and the nature of its object - relation which seems to him to define any idea, whether or not it is of 'a sensitive quality, in the Cartesian doctrine. It is therefore not that the example of the Third Meditation is about the idea of a sensible quality that matters for Arnauld .  See contra Alan NELSON, “The Falsity in Sensory Ideas:…. The representation of a non res as res , and not for itself the reduction, under a certain hypothesis as to the nature of cold, of the idea of cold to a false idea, constitutes the real target of his objection. The essential issue is to save the Cartesian definition of the idea as such by making it appear that the definition of material falsity contradicts it; It is to this end that Arnauld undertakes to save the idea of cold-deprivation from the imputation of a material falsity. The idea of cold must be exempt from falsity because it is an idea and its conformity to Descartes' definition of the idea prohibits its conformity to the definition of material falsity.
21 Descartes' example (" If cold is only a deprivation of heat, the idea of cold, which represents it to me as a positive thing, will be materially false ") is commented as follows by Arnauld:
22 On the contrary, if cold is only a deprivation, there can be no idea of cold, which represents it to me as a positive thing; & here our author confuses the judgment with the idea. 23What prevents Descartes from maintaining at the same time that cold is deprivation, a non-thing , and that the idea of cold represents a thing ? Several mutually supportive principles can be put forward – and have been put forward by certain commentators, as I will indicate later – but I will stick here to the fact that the criticism of the material falsity of the ideas in the Fourth Objections functions explicitly as the application to the case of the idea of cold in the example of the Third Meditation of a fundamental principle whose formulation Arnauld finds in the First Objections of Caterus and which consists, not in an axiom, but in a first proposition, or definition: the very definition of the idea by Descartes.
24Regarding the imperative on which the a posteriori proof is based in the Third Meditation (one must seek the cause of the idea of God that I find in my mind), Caterus constructs an imaginary dialogue with the author of the Meditations , in which the question: “Tell me what idea is?” [ Caterus ]”, receives the answer: “It is the thing thought itself, insofar as it is objectively in the understanding [ Descartes ]   AT VII, p. 92: “Est ipsa res cogitata, quatenus objective est… ". An answer which seems to be composed from a formula (“that mode of being by which a thing is objectively in the understanding by an idea”)   MB, p. 105 (translation slightly modified)/AT IX-1, p. 33.used in the Third Meditation to indicate that the content of an idea cannot have nothingness as its cause. To make Descartes' definition of the idea, Caterus makes this formula from the Third Meditation coincide with the second meaning of the word idea according to the author's Preface to the reader of the Meditations : idea is not only taken "for a operation of my understanding”, but also “objectively for the thing which is represented by this operation   I quote the translation of the Praefatio ad lectorem by… ". In the First Responses , Descartes fully endorses the formulation that Caterus attributes to him and takes it as a literal quotation from his Meditations : “I wrote: the idea is the thing thought itself, insofar as it is objectively in understanding   AT IX-1, p. 81 (modified translation). ". Descartes exploits this convergence regarding the letter to demonstrate the distance from the meaning given by Caterus to his definition of the idea, in relation to what must be its proper meaning. Caterus's interpretation that being objectively in the understanding is only an extrinsic naming of the thing thought, and therefore nothing that actually belongs to the thing ( nihil rei )   First objections, AT IX-1, p. 74., is completely inappropriate. Descartes' proposition absolutely does not concern the thing outside the understanding, but the idea in the understanding, considered with respect to this objective mode of being ( modus essendi objectus ) of which the Third Meditation says that it " returns to ideas by their own nature” and that it is proportionate to the formal reality of their objects   MB, p. 107/AT IX-1, p. 33; cf. AT VII, p. 42. See for…. Against Caterus, Descartes thus accumulates explanations of the objective esse in intellectu which are so many variants of Caterus' formula, and which proportionally multiply the charge against his interpretation in terms of extrinsic denomination of the extra-mental thing. The First Responses never tire of repeating it every few lines: “ to be objectively means nothing other than to be in the understanding in the way that objects are wont to be there”; “to be objectively in the understanding will mean […] to be in the understanding in the way that its objects are wont to be there”; “the idea of the sun is the sun itself existing in the understanding […] objectively, that is to say in the way that objects are wont to be in the understanding   AT IX-1, p. 82 (I modify the translation a little). ".
25Arnauld's inversion of the Cartesian example of the idea of cold as a materially false idea into an example against Descartes of the impossibility for an idea to be an idea representing a deprivation as something real is justified by a demonstration the principle of which is none other than the definition of the idea by the objective esse rei in intellectu . The beginning of the demonstration used in the Fourth Objections exactly echoes the dialogue with Descartes imagined by Caterus in the First Objections :
26 [W]hat is the idea of cold? It is cold itself, insofar as it is objectively in the understanding. But if cold is a deprivation, it cannot be objectively in the understanding by an idea whose objective being [ esse objectum ] is a positive entity [ ens positivum ]. Therefore, if cold is only a deprivation, there can never be a positive idea of cold, and consequently no materially false idea of cold.   AT IX-1, p. 161 (modified translation).. 27Arnauld brings together the principle of objective esse rei in intellectu taken from the First Responses and the example of the idea of cold-deprivation in the Third Meditation , to reevaluate this example in the light of this principle   Arnauld considers it a principle of Descartes, and not…. The reasoning presented shows that, for him, we have with the Cartesian definition of the idea of an invariant structure which it is enough to complete to immediately have the definition of any particular idea whatsoever. Arnauld reads Caterus' question ( What is the idea? ) as a question relating to the idea in its relationship to an indeterminate object ( What is the idea of x? ), of which he All that remains is to vary the determination. We thus have the assurance, for any idea of any object, that its definition preserves what makes it an idea, its nature as an idea. What is the idea of x? It is x itself, insofar as x is objectively in the understanding. Let us therefore consider cold as the object of an idea, according to the example of the Third Meditation . The definition of the idea of cold must be constructed according to the invariant structure provided by the definition of the idea. What is the idea of cold? It is cold itself, insofar as cold is objectively in the understanding. By giving himself the idea of cold as defined instead of the idea itself in the dialogue imagined by Caterus with Descartes, Arnauld has the means of transposing to the case of the cold-privation object the definition of the idea of cold. What is the idea of cold deprivation? It is cold-privation itself, insofar as cold-privation is objectively in the understanding. This is enough to show that cold, in the hypothesis retained by Descartes as to its nature (a deprivation), cannot be said to be the object of an idea which represents it to the mind as something real and positive ( reale quid et positivum ) – in the scholastic terminology that Arnauld substitutes for this expression from the Third Meditation , as a positive entity ( ens positivum ). Arnauld's refutation consists of destroying the very definition of material falsity by defining the idea of cold-deprivation. The representation of a deprivation as a real and positive thing – which is the definiens of the materially false idea according to Descartes – is made impossible by the application to the idea of cold-deprivation of the definition of idea according to the First objections/responses . This process of reversing the Cartesian paradigm of the false idea against the very notion of material falsity reveals that it is essential for Arnauld not to limit the object represented by an idea to its relationship of content to the idea which represents it . . In addition to this relationship which is intrinsic to the idea itself, we must also take into account the relationship between the content of the idea (its objective reality, for which Arnauld prefers the designation esse objectivum ideae, the objective being of the idea)   For the use of the expression esse objectivum ideae in the…and the thing-subject of this idea. We cannot speak of the objective being of an idea without considering that it is at the same time for the thing represented by this idea another way of being than its formal being. The esse objectivum ideae is only the other name for the esse objective rei in intellectu . As the content of a representation, the thing apprehended by thought as its subject has a second mode of being, its being objectively in the mind   In his analysis of the idea of cold, Arnauld defends as…. Arnauld, for his criticism of material falsity, takes advantage of the fact that the objective reality of an idea in the Third Meditation consists first of all, according to the definition of the idea explained in the exchange with Caterus, in the manner of 'to exist objectively in the mind of a thing . For him, this category of thing can also include a deprivation such as cold. By virtue, therefore, of the understanding of the idea of a thing as this thing itself insofar as it is objectively in the mind by its idea, the hypothesis that cold is a deprivation only authorizes 'only one conclusion: the impossibility for the objective being of the idea of cold to be something positive . The objective being of the idea of cold-deprivation is necessarily identical to cold-deprivation itself insofar as it is objectively in the mind; however, in its second existence in the mind, cold-deprivation necessarily remains non-positive . A deprivation cannot be, as the object of an idea, a positive entity, ens positivum , any more than it is outside of its representation in the mind. Hence the conclusion of Arnauld's demonstration: "If cold is only a deprivation, there can never be a positive idea of cold, and consequently no materially false idea of cold."
Possible fiction, impossible fiction
28 Arnauld obtains confirmation of this demonstration by overturning in favor of the impossibility of the materially false idea of cold the impossibility of the material falsity of the idea of God according to the Third Meditation . According to Descartes, the idea of the infinite being, God, cannot not be true. It is necessarily true :
29 For, although one can pretend that such a being does not exist, one cannot nevertheless pretend that his idea shows me nothing real ( nihil reale mihi exhibere )   Fourth objections, AT IX-1, p. 161 (modified translation).…. 30Because of the necessary demonstration by its means of something real, the idea of God must be qualified, as the Fourth Meditation then does , of realis et positiva idea , of a real and positive idea   AT VII, p. 54.. In Arnauld's eyes, however, this same qualification as a positive idea could have been used by Descartes for the idea of cold, a paradigm of the materially false idea. Because, from the moment an idea represents x as something real , this idea of x is the positive idea of x. The idea of cold-deprivation which represents it as a real quality is therefore to be considered, in the Third Meditation , as a false positive idea of cold . Completely detaching, once again, his argument from the essential consideration for Descartes of the clarity and distinction or confusion and obscurity of ideas, Arnauld thus extends to any positive idea the impossibility of material falsity affirmed in the Third Meditation for the idea alone . of God   “The same thing can be said of any positive idea” (AT IX-1,…. This generalization is legitimate, since the necessary truth is proven for Descartes by the idea of God insofar as it shows the mind something real. To complete the ruin of the Cartesian thesis of the falsity of ideas, it is enough to bring back the idea of God, the idea of a sovereignly real and infinite being, to the representational core which makes it a positive idea, before being the most positive idea of all : it is the representation of something real, which is enough to prove its truth, without even needing to rely on the infinite and absolute reality of something that 'it represents. What is valid nuclearly, so to speak, for the idea of God, is valid every time there is representation by an idea of something real. Arnauld thereby rewrites the proof of the necessary truth of the idea of God in the Third Meditation into a proof of the necessary truth of any positive idea, whatever it may be, including the positive idea of which Descartes thinks that it is a materially false idea of cold:
31 Although we can pretend that the cold, which I think is represented by a positive idea, is not positive, we cannot nevertheless pretend that a positive idea does not represent anything real and positive to me (nihil reale & positivum mihi exhibits )   Ibid. ; cf. AT VII, p. 207.. 32Arnauld's argumentative strategy is remarkable. When he imitates the reasoning of Descartes concluding the necessary truth of the idea of God, it is not simply cold, but cold as the object of a positive idea which replaces infinite being in the statement that he copies Meditations , and the possible fiction about him is not that of his non-existence, but that of his non-positivity or non-reality: we can pretend that the cold object of a positive idea is nothing of positive. This possible fiction corresponds to the hypothesis – if the cold is a deprivation – held by Descartes in the Third Meditation . The diagram transposed from the Meditations to become the proof of the necessary truth of any positive idea thus integrates as a first segment the relationship between the supposed nature of cold and the nature of its idea in the argument by which Descartes concludes that the idea of the cold. The two assertions from which Descartes draws the conclusion that the idea of cold is materially false – cold is only a privation, and the idea of cold represents cold-privation to me as something positive – are reformulated in such a way as to compose together the premise of proof of the necessary truth of any positive idea. The relationship established in the Cartesian paradigm between the supposed nature of the cold object and the nature of the idea of cold then takes the form of a combination between the statement “it is possible for me to feign non-positivity cold” and the statement “I think that a positive idea represents cold to me”. This combination retranslating the mode of treatment of the idea of cold in the Third Meditation is introduced only to be immediately destroyed. The reason for its elimination lies in the impossibility of another fiction, this time relating to the very nature of any positive idea, and therefore also valid for the idea, [which Descartes thinks to be] positive, of the cold, [that Descartes supposes to be] non-positive. Prohibited fiction is that which relates a positive idea to something non-positive. Now, this is precisely what happens in Descartes' construction of the paradigm of material falsity: the idea of cold is said to be materially false insofar as it is the positive idea (the idea which represents me as something real thing) of a non-positive object (cold-deprivation). Descartes, in other words, himself transgressed, for the idea that he considered positive of cold, what he assured was the insurmountable limit of the fiction of which our mind is capable with regard to the idea positive from God. The Third Meditation gave itself, for the thesis of the material falsity of ideas, an impossible idea: the positive idea of nothing positive , the representationby a positive idea of nothing real . Arnauld sees here the indication of a redoubled failure of the Cartesian example of the materially false idea of cold to the principles of the doctrine of ideas in the Meditations because, by application of the double consideration of ideas according to Descartes, as to their formal reality and as for their objective reality, only the objective reality of a so-called positive idea must constitute the criterion according to which it is called positive:
33 An idea is not said to be positive according to its being as a mode of thought, because all ideas would be positive in this way, but from the objective being [ esse objectivum ] which it contains and which it shows [ exhibet ] to our mind   AT IX-1, p. 161 (modified translation; cf. AT VII, p. 207).. 34Impossible, therefore, since the positivity recognized in an idea is strictly a function of the positivity of the objective content that it represents to the mind, and only is said to be positive "an idea of which the objective being [ esse objectum ] is an entity positive [ ens positivum ]" (to use the terms of Arnauld's previous demonstration), to maintain, as Descartes does to conclude that the idea of cold is falsity, that a positive idea relates to something not positive. The idea of cold in the Third Meditation is an idea which Descartes assures both that it “shows me nothing real ( nihil reale mihi exhibere )”, in other words, that it is not a positive idea, and that it represents this nihil reale to me as something real and positive, in other words, that it presents itself to the mind as a positive idea. The two assertions are contradictory, and their combination contradicts both the definition of the idea by the objective esse rei in intellectu and the principle applied in the a posteriori proof of the necessary truth of an idea which represents something to the mind real and positive   It is appropriate not to identify, in Arnauld's objection,….
Two true ideas
35Using first the Cartesian definition of the idea and then the Cartesian proof of the necessary truth of the idea of God, Arnauld formulates two symmetrical principles of Descartes' doctrine of ideas which are violated by the thesis of a material falsity of ideas. In the scholastic language of Arnauld, these two principles say the same thing about the representation of an object by an idea, but one says it in the passive mode, from the point of view of the object represented by an idea. idea and the other says it in the active mode, from the point of view of the idea which is the representation of an object. On the one hand, a non-positive entity cannot be represented by a positive idea ("if cold is a deprivation, it cannot be objectively in the understanding by an idea whose objective being is a positive entity" ). On the other hand, a positive idea cannot represent a non-positive entity (“we cannot pretend that a positive idea does not represent anything real and positive to me”). Whether we take the problem from one end or the other, from the point of view of the object of the idea (the represented) or from the point of view of the idea itself (the representation), we This comes back to the same observation: Descartes cannot say that the idea of cold-deprivation represents this deprivation as something real and positive. When there is a representation in the mind of something positive, it is necessarily because it is an idea whose objective reality is other than a deprivation; and conversely, if an idea has as its object a deprivation, its objective reality cannot consist of something positive.
36It is often considered that Arnauld's objection rests on the attribution to Descartes of a conception of antejudicative falsity as a representation by an idea of something else in place of its object and therefore as a failure of this idea to represent its object. object   See, for example, Norman J. WELLS, op. cit., p. 43.. The representation, instead of something real, quid reale , of a non res , would constitute Arnauld's interpretation of the Cartesian definition of material falsity: this would be due to a misrepresentation , or pseudo-representation by the idea of its object when it is a non-thing   Norman J. WELLS, op. cit., p. 39-40.. In my eyes, this reading of Arnauld's objection neglects what seems to me on the contrary to be quite central in it, the use of the notion of objective esse rei in intellectu ( the objective being of the thing in the understanding) to analyze, in the Cartesian paradigm of material falsity, the structure of the representation in the mind of a deprivation . For Arnauld, it is a question of showing that the doctrine of an esse objectivum , an objective being constituting the content of an idea, or what it represents to the mind, in other words the doctrine of the objective reality of the idea, forbids Descartes to make the idea of a deprivation consist in the representation of this deprivation to the mind as a positive thing, tanquam rem positivam   Arnauld’s abbreviation for tanquam reale quid et positivum…. The formulations proposed by Lionel Shapiro for the principles of the Cartesian doctrine which according to Arnauld are contradicted by the thesis of material falsity seem to me to be very fair in this respect. The principle "an idea of x is an idea by means of which xa an objective being in the understanding" and its two variants (a) "the idea of x is x itself insofar as xa an objective being in the intellect" and (b) "an idea is the idea of x if and only if it represents/shows x to the mind", in fact express the reasons that Arnauld opposes, in the name of Descartes himself, to the notion of a materially false idea. But it is therefore surprising that Shapiro maintains at the same time that the contradiction denounced by Arnauld is linked in the Fourth Objections to an interpretation of the falsity of the idea of cold according to Descartes as a representation to the mind by the idea of cold from something other than cold. According to Shapiro, in fact, Arnauld attacks the contradiction that covers, with regard to the principle which wants the idea of cold to be cold itself insofar as it is objectively in the understanding , the replacement of cold-deprivation (object of the idea of cold) by something real (another object)   Lionel SHAPIRO, “Objective Being and 'Ofness' in Descartes”,…. It seems to me, however, that in the Cartesian example of the idea of cold as false, Arnauld is not aiming at the inconsistency with Descartes' principles of a faulty or defective representation of cold, but, much more radically, the the inconsistency of a so-called false representation of cold where there is no representation of cold at all. What Descartes takes to be a false representation of cold is a positive idea which, by its nature as a positive idea, is impossible to be the idea of something non-positive. Thus, Arnauld's point does not seem to me to reject, in the example of the material falsity of the idea of cold, the representation of something else (a positive thing) in place of what is to be represented ( a deprivation), but to challenge the relation of representation itself that Descartes establishes between a positive idea and a non-positive object . If the notion of a materially false idea contravenes the principles of the Cartesian doctrine of ideas, it is purely and simply insofar as it is impossible for the so-called false idea, which is according to its description by Descartes a positive idea, to be relates to the object (a deprivation) to which Descartes relates it: therefore it is not the idea of this object (and not simply the representation of something other than its object).
37Of the idea which, in the Cartesian paradigm of the materially false idea, presents cold-deprivation to the mind as something real, Arnauld thus maintains at the end of this explanation that "it may well not be the idea of cold, but [that] it cannot be false   AT IX-1, p. 161. ". According to him, Descartes would contest this disjunction, to establish on the contrary a causal relationship, or consequence, between the two elements dissociated by Arnauld. “It is false for the very reason that it is not the idea of cold,” Descartes would reply, immediately attracting sanction from Arnauld: “it is your judgment which is false, if you judge to be the idea of cold; but, for her, it is certain that it is very true   Ibid. ". The relationship to a non-positive object, heterogeneous to its own nature, cannot be for Arnauld intrinsic to a positive idea, but only superadded to it by an extrinsic judgment. The alleged falsity of a positive idea is never anything other than that of a judgment which relates this idea to an object which is necessarily for it a non-object, an impossible object. Speaking of an idea which represents cold-privation to me, cold which is not a real quality, as something real, Descartes, says Arnauld, “confuses the judgment with the idea [51 ]  Ibid. ". Arnauld does not mean that Descartes confuses the false judgment “cold is a real quality”, on the hypothesis that cold is a deprivation, with a false idea of cold. The accusation of transforming into a false idea what has only judicial falsity seems to me to go further. The observation attributed by Arnauld to Descartes that my idea of cold is false because it is not the idea of cold, that it represents to me as a real quality whereas it is only a deprivation, is based according to Arnauld on the false judgment that the idea in me of something positive is the idea of cold. The falsity taken by Descartes as a falsity of the idea of cold is the falsity of the belief that the idea of a non-positive thing can show it to me as a positive thing. For Arnauld, this is a misjudging of Descartes at the level of his very theory of ideas. If I have a positive idea in my mind, it is not the idea of something non-positive: first relate it to this non-positive as to its object and then affirm that it does not is not the idea, this is Descartes' error, the false judgment which he subsequently transforms into a falsity of the positive idea itself.
38Even if Arnauld does not go so far as to explain this point during his demonstration, but leaves it to be supplemented or at least conjectured from it, it seems that in his eyes, in the supposition of cold-deprivation , the esse objectivum of the idea of cold should consist of an ens privativum , to the extent that the objective being of an idea is never one with the way of being objectively in the mind of that which is represented by this idea   The explanation then provided by Arnauld of his demonstration…. Arnauld does not seem to want to affirm, at the same time as the impossibility of a positive idea of cold-deprivation, the impossibility of an idea tout court of cold-deprivation. What completes in the Fourth Objections the demonstration of the impossibility for a positive idea to be the idea of cold-privation – and thereby of the impossibility of it being the false idea of cold-privation – that is the thesis according to which, whether we say that the idea of cold represents something which is not positive, or whether we say that it represents something positive, it is impossible to conclude the falsity of the idea that we call the idea of cold :
39 This idea of cold, which you say is materially false, what does it show [ exhibit ] to your mind? A deprivation? So it is true. A positive entity? So it is not the idea of cold   AT IX-1, p. 161-162 (translation slightly modified).. 40The question “what does the idea of cold mean to me?” » confronts me with an alternative: the idea of cold represents to me either a deprivation or a positive entity. Whatever the case, both ideas are true, one insofar as it is the idea of cold, the other insofar as it is not the idea of cold. We therefore see, with the final introduction of this alternative, that Arnauld is not content with asserting that an idea which represents a positive entity cannot be the idea of cold-deprivation, and therefore that it cannot could be the false positive idea of cold, as Descartes would have it. It is not only a question of renewing what has just been established and of repeating that the idea which represents something positive to me is necessarily true, but that it is not the idea of cold. Another answer to the question relating to the objective being of the idea of cold is held to be possible by Arnauld, which is precisely the answer rejected by Descartes: the idea of cold represents a deprivation to me. This is again a true idea, the necessity of being true for an idea not being ultimately linked to the representation of something real and positive, but to the conformal representation of its object, which it either something positive or something non-positive. The idea of cold-deprivation which represents deprivation to me is necessarily true. It is the true idea of cold, just as the idea which represents cold to me as something positive is another true idea, even if (or rather because) it is not the idea of cold . It is true insofar as its objective being conforms to the positive nature of an object other than cold.
41The question of the object represented by the idea of cold therefore allows Arnauld to make room for a non-positive idea of this non-positive object that is cold-deprivation. By means of the alternative either a deprivation or a positive entity in response to the question "what does the idea of cold represent to the mind?" », Arnauld completes his work of decomposing the Cartesian thesis, because this alternative dissolves and radically eliminates Descartes' bad answer to the same question. According to Descartes, the idea of cold represents to me that which has no reality as something real and positive (in Arnauld's terms: the idea of cold shows a deprivation to the mind as a positive entity )   For Arnauld, there is no doubt that, in his definition…. But it must be one or the other: either the idea of cold represents a deprivation, or it represents a positive entity. It cannot represent one (deprivation) in the same way as the other (the positive entity), because the nature of its objective content is by definition the same as the nature of what it represents. The disjunction of deprivation and the positive entity to determine the objective content of the idea of cold is necessary. In Arnauld's eyes, according to Descartes' own definition of the idea, this unique representation that the Third Meditation calls the idea of cold and which would show the mind a deprivation as a positive entity cannot exist. Representing it as a thing ( repraesentare tanquam rem ) of Descartes has no meaning in itself for Arnauld, representation as something real and positive amounts to the representation of something real and positive . The duality, in Descartes' definition of material falsity, of the representation which remains referred to a deprivation even if it is not a representation of this deprivation, and of the representation as a positive thing, thus amounts to a double relation of representation assumed by a single idea, which absolutely contradicts Descartes' definition of the representative nature of an idea. We must therefore separate what Descartes combines in the notion of materially false idea and, by dissociating them, return to these two representations that the Third Meditation contains in one and the same idea (the idea of cold), their mode of distinct existence in the mind. Where Descartes sees only one idea, which he declares false because it represents that which is not a thing as a thing, there necessarily exist two, and they are both necessarily true. One represents cold-deprivation to the mind and must therefore, by definition, have as its esse objectum a non-positive entity : only this idea is the idea of cold, and it is true, since its objective being has the same ontological status as the non-positive entity which is its object. The other represents to the mind something positive, and whatever the positive entity which constitutes its objective content, this idea is not the idea of cold, but another true idea than the true idea of cold. Of the two true ideas, one is the non-positive idea of cold-deprivation, the other the positive idea of something real.
42The necessary alternative deprivation or positive entity , in the conclusion of Arnauld's objection, draws another ontological division than that with which Descartes is satisfied by opposing deprivation and real quality or thing   Stephen MENN (“The Greatest Stumbling Block: Descartes’…as if this opposition were the same as that of a non res or non-thing and a res or thing. It seems rather that Arnauld, when he applies the Cartesian definition of the idea, varies the esse objectum of an idea other than according only to the degrees of perfection or reality admitted in the Third Meditation for what is real and positive within the dichotomy aliquid reale and positivum / nihil reale . Descartes inscribes his thesis of the material falsity of the idea in the ontological split between non-thing / privation / no thing / nothing real on the one hand, and thing / real quality / something real and positive / everything that is real and true on the other hand   For the different terms of these two opposite series, see…. Arnauld relies on another division, for which in addition to non res and res , it is appropriate to take into account, as the Cartesian example itself implies, the ontological status of deprivation, which is not nothing of real, even if it is neither substance nor accident inherent in a substance. For the opposition between res and non res , Arnauld thus prefers to substitute the opposition between ens positivum and privatio , which in fact constitutes a division within the res itself: privation according to Descartes is not maintained there where Descartes places it, in the nihil reale . The way in which Arnauld bases his criticism of the falsity of the idea on the application to deprivation of the principle of objective esse rei in intellectu shows that, for him, there is not, as for Descartes, synonymy between quid reale and quid positivum , but that ens reale can be subdivided into ens reale positivum (which takes up the substance/mode hierarchy to which Descartes limits himself) and ens reale privativum   It would be interesting to trace the medieval lineage of this…. Besides the “objective positive entity” ( ens positivum objectivum ) which constitutes the content of a positive idea, and which Arnauld does not distinguish from the positive objective being of the idea itself ( esse objectivum positivum ideae ), it seems that we must make room, with Arnauld, for an objective privative entity of cold as it is conceived by the mind, and for an objective being privative of the idea of cold-privation itself.
43So make no mistake. When Arnauld denounces what is doctrinally contradictory in the Cartesian thesis of the material falsity of ideas, his objection, which is founded in the consideration of the objective esse rei in intellectu per ideam , does not relate to the idea cold as an idea of a sensible quality, but as an impossible idea, the positive idea of a deprivation. His point in 1641 is not to maintain that an idea of sensible quality is not false, but that no idea, positive or non-positive, can be false. It seems interesting to me, in this regard, to note that in 1662, Logic or The Art of Thinking did not content itself with making honorable amends with regard to Descartes by integrating the doctrine of a falsity of ideas of qualities sensitive. Arnauld clearly maintains, like Descartes at the end of the First Part of the Principles of Philosophy , that the ideas of sensible qualities are confused ideas, because they are not the ideas immediately caused in us by bodies, but that they result from false judgments added since childhood to these natural ideas. Because of these judgments which had the invariable structure of the affirmation of a resemblance of external bodies to the ideas formed in the soul “on [their] occasion   Logic, or The Art of Thinking, ed. cit., I, VIII, p. 212 (see…", sensitive ideas can be called false . But Arnauld in 1662 also admits another sense of the falsity of ideas, in the chapter On ideas considered according to their objects . Ideas, whether of substances, of real and substantial modes, or of negative modes (when a substance is represented "with a negation of some real or substantial mode"), are called true, when their objects "are in fact as they are represented to us. But
44 if they are not such, they are false in whatever way they can be ; and this is what we call in the school beings of reason, which ordinarily consist in the assembly that the mind makes of two real ideas in itself, but which are not joined in truth to form the same one. idea, like that which one can form of a mountain of gold, is a being of reason, because it is composed of the two ideas of mountain and of gold, which it represents as united, although they are not truly so   Logic, or The Art of Thinking, op. cit., I, II, p. 177 (I…. 45The ontological vein exploited against Descartes in 1641 did not consider entia rationis . When the latter were taken into account in 1662, and a degree of falsity was thereby recognized in the ideas themselves, this did not constitute a correction of the first approach, but a complement. These two changes (falsity of the confused ideas of sensation, falsity of the ideas- being of reason ) introduced into the Logic in relation to the Fourth Objections leave intact the principle of the refutation of the material falsity of ideas by the young Arnauld. The permanence of this principle is still attested in 1683 against Malebranche, in Des Trues et des False Ideas . Arnauld establishes there, claiming to be Descartes, that “all perception [is] essentially representative of something, and according to this is called [the] idea”. Now, what he then gives as a synonym for the word idea is the circumlocution " the objective reality of the thing", and the example which illustrated in the First Responses the definition of the idea (the idea of the sun is the sun itself existing objectively in the understanding) becomes the example of “the objective reality of the sun   Antoine ARNAULD, True and False Ideas, edition,… ". Denis Kambouchner was rightly surprised by this equivalence, and described the modification imposed by Arnauld on the Cartesian notion of the objective reality of the idea, as a “complete change of conceptual coordinates [61 ]  Denis KAMBOUCHNER, “Remarks on the Arnaldian definition of… ". But the continuity between this terminological innovation of 1683 and the principle of the refusal of the falsity of ideas in 1641 is in my eyes remarkable, because it indicates that Arnauld, if he was led to admit in the Logic a double way for the ideas of being false, has in any case never returned to the exclusion of their falsity under the strict point of view of the objective esse rei in intellectu per ideam .
 Antoine ARNAULD and Pierre NICOLE, Logic, or The Art of Thinking , critical edition by Dominique Descotes, Paris, Honoré Champion, 2011, I, IX , p. 220.
 For references to the Meditations , I will sometimes cite, rather than the translation by the Duke of Luynes  in Œuvres de Descartes published by Charles Adam & Paul Tannery (henceforth AT IX-1), Paris, Vrin, 1964, the translation by Michelle Beyssade, Le Livre de Pocket, 1990 (henceforth MB, with the corresponding pagination in AT IX-1). The Objections and Responses (Clerselier's translation) will be cited in AT IX-1. For the present quotation, see MB, p. 91 (translation slightly modified)/AT IX-1, p. 29.
 MB, p. 91/AT IX-1, p. 29 (my emphasis).
 See Third Meditation , AT IX-1, p. 27 (cf. Second meditation , AT IX-1, p. 22-23).
 AT IX-1, p. 29.
 AT IX-1, p. 28.
 MB, p. 91, p. 93 (translation slightly modified)/AT IX-1, p. 29.  Meditationes de Prima philosophia , AT VII, p. 37: “ vix mihi ullam errandi materiam dare possent ”. Cf. René DESCARTES, The Interview with Burman , edition, translation and annotation by Jean-Marie Beyssade, Presses Universitaires de France, Paris, 1981, p. 39: even in the absence of a referre ad extra of ideas, there is the possibility of error in ipsa earum natura , when false judgments are made as to their nature or that of their objects.  AT IX-1, p. 160-161 (modified Clerselier translation; cf. AT VII, p. 206).  AT IX-1, p. 34 (modified Luynes translation; cf. AT VII, p. 43).  We cannot simply say that for Arnauld “this notion is in contradiction with Descartes' explicit theory of ideas, according to which falsity is only found in judgments” (Lilli ALANEN, “A certain material falsity: Descartes and Arnauld on the "origin of error in sensory perception", in Jean-Marie Beyssade and Jean-Luc Marion ed., Descartes. Object and respond , Paris, PUF, 1994, p. 205).  See ARISTOTLE, Categories, 2 to 7-9. Norman J. WELLS (“Material Falsity in Descartes, Arnauld and Suarez”, Journal of the History of Philosophy , vol. 22, no. 1, 1984, p. 27, note 15) underlines the asymmetry, in the Peripatetic tradition, between the truth recognized in simple apprehensions (and not only in propositions) by virtue of their adequacy with their object, and the falsity which is absolutely refused to them.  AT IX-1, p. 160.  AT VII, p. 206.  AT IX-1, p. 161 (completed Clerselier translation: cf. AT VII, p. 206).  Wells writes ( op. cit ., p. 41): “From the outset of his Objections , Arnauld is convinced that Descartes' position on the material falsity of ideas can only be destructive of the cherished Cartesian principles on clear and distinct ideas”.  AT VII, p. 40: “ab invicem valde diversas” (cf. AT IX-1, p. 31 and MB, p. 101).  AT IX-1, p. 32; cf. AT VII, p. 40.  AT IX-1, p. 32.  MB, p. 111 (translation slightly modified)/AT IX-1, p. 34.  MB, p. 103 /AT IX-1, p. 32.  MB, p. 105 (emphasis added)/AT IX-1, p. 32.  MB, p. 111-113 (modified translation)/AT IX-1, p. 34.  Nullae ideae nisi tanquam rerum esse possunt (AT VII, p. 44). This principle is an application of the designation of ideas in the literal sense as those of my thoughts which are “like images of things”, tanquam rerum imagines (AT VII, p. 37; MB, p. 91/AT IX-1 , p. 29).  AT IX-1, p. 35 ( tanquam reale quid et positivum , AT VII, p. 44).  The unreality of cold and heat is given only as a possibility alongside others; it could also be two real qualities, or a real quality (either heat or cold) and its deprivation. Thus, when the idea of cold constitutes the paradigm of a false idea representing that which has no reality as something real, it is not as a sensible quality , but because it is deprivation of the real quality of heat, that cold has no reality.  See contra Alan NELSON, “The Falsity in Sensory Ideas: Descartes and Arnauld”, in Elmar J. Kremer ed., Interpreting Arnauld , Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1996, p. 29, which holds the falsity of the ideas of sensation to be the object of Arnauld's disagreement with Descartes.  AT VII, p. 92: “ Est ipsa res cogitata, quatenus objective est in intellectu ”.  MB, p. 105 (translation slightly modified)/AT IX-1, p. 33.  I cite the translation of the Praefatio ad lectorem by Clerselier for his edition of the Meditations in 1661, reproduced in DESCARTES, Méditations metaphysiques , Jean-Marie Beyssade and Michelle Beyssade ed., GF-Flammarion, Paris, 1979, p. 54 (cf. AT VII, p. 8).  AT IX-1, p. 81 (modified translation).  First objections , AT IX-1, p. 74.  MB, p. 107/AT IX-1, p. 33; cf. AT VII, p. 42. See for Descartes' refutation of the thesis of extrinsic naming, First responses , AT IX-1, p. 82.  AT IX-1, p. 82 (I modify the translation a little).  AT IX-1, p. 161 (modified translation).  Arnauld considers as a principle of Descartes , and not as a principle external to his philosophy, the thesis that the idea of x is x itself as x an objective existence in the understanding. According to Paul David HOFFMAN (“Descartes on Misrepresentation”, Journal of the History of Philosophy , vol. 34, no. 3, 1996, p. 365-366), “Arnauld's objection to Descartes's notion of material falsity is based on an account of cognition that is fundamentally Aristotelian”, and to say that the idea of cold is cold itself insofar as it exists objectively in the understanding “is just the sort a claim that a seventeenth-century Aristotelian would make”. But it seems more important to me to note that for Arnauld this affirmation comes from Descartes himself.  For the use of the expression esse objectivum ideae in the Third Meditation , see AT VII, p. 47.  In his analysis of the idea of cold, Arnauld defends as an ontological interpretation of the objective reality of the idea what Richard Glauser proposed to call the thesis of the double existence (formal and objective) of the thing-subject of the thought. See Berkeley and the 17th-century philosophers. Perception and skepticism , Sprimont, Mardaga, 1999, p. 53-59.  Fourth objections , AT IX-1, p. 161 (modified translation). See MB, p. 121/AT IX-1, p. 36/AT VII, p. 46: the idea of God has “the highest degree of truth” in that it has “the highest degree of clarity and distinction.” Maxime vera , because maxime clara et distincta . Descartes duplicates this equivalence with another: the idea of God is itself a maxim clara et distincta because it contains everything that the self perceives clearly and distinctly as real and true . So to speak, the clarity and distinction of perception mediates between the ontological truth and the ideal truth .  AT VII, p. 54.  “The same thing can be said of any positive idea” (AT IX-1, p. 161).  Ibid . ; cf. AT VII, p. 207.  AT IX-1, p. 161 (modified translation; cf. AT VII, p. 207).  It is appropriate not to identify, in Arnauld's objection, the "principles" in relation to which he denounces an inconsistency of Descartes, with the "first foundations" (nothingness cannot produce something real) which he emphasizes to end the shock – at the cost of an interesting distortion of Descartes' text – when we relate to the imperfection of our nature, in other words, to nothingness in us, the mental transformation of the non-real into of reality (the representation in the mind of a non-thing as a thing).  See, for example, Norman J. WELLS, op. cit ., p. 43.  Norman J. WELLS, op. cit ., p. 39-40.  Arnauld's abbreviation for Descartes' tanquam reale quid et positivum (AT VII, p. 206 and p. 44).  Lionel SHAPIRO, “Objective Being and 'Ofness' in Descartes”, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research , vol. LXXXIV, No. 2, 2012, p. 378-418: see p. 379 and p. 381-383. On the principles of the Cartesian doctrine contradicted according to Arnauld by the thesis of the material falsity of ideas, see also Raffaella DE ROSA, Descartes and the Puzzle of Sensory Representation , Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2010, 1.3 and 1.4, p. 20-30 (for De Rosa also, Arnauld attacks a conception of the material falsity of the idea as a misrepresentation of its object).  AT IX-1, p. 161.  Ibid .  Ibid .  The explanation subsequently provided by Arnauld of his demonstration does not seem to me to authorize the conclusion that Cecilia Wee draws from her remark (which seems correct to me) that, for Arnauld, the Cartesian analysis of different quantities of objective reality means that objective reality of an idea is determined by what is presented by the idea. Wee infers that the idea presenting a deprivation, since it cannot be a positive idea, can never have an objective reality derived from what it presents (see Material Falsity and Error in Descartes' Meditations , London-New York, Routledge, 2006, p. 5). In my opinion, we should not confuse Arnauld's refusal of a positive idea of cold-deprivation (that is to say an idea which presents it as a positive thing) with the refusal of an objective being to the idea of cold-deprivation. Arnauld refuses that the esse objectivum of the idea of cold-deprivation is an ens positivum , but his refutation of Descartes admits for deprivation an esse objective in intellectu per ideam .  AT IX-1, p. 161-162 (translation slightly modified).  For Arnauld, there is no doubt that, in his definition of material falsity ( non rem tanquam rem repraesentare ), Descartes unequivocally uses the verb repraesentare , whether it relates to non rem or to tanquam rem (for a reading, in contrary, of this definition as equivocal both for repraesentare and for res , see Jean-Marie BEYSSADE, “Descartes on Material Falsity”, in Philip D. Cummins & Guenter Zoeller ed., Minds, Ideas, and Objects. Essays on the Theory of Representation in Modern Philosophy , Ridgeview, 1992, pp. 9-10).  Stephen MENN ("The Greatest Stumbling Block: Descartes' Denial of Real Qualities", in Roger Ariew and Marjorie Grene ed., Descartes and His Contemporaries: Meditations, Objections, and Replies , Chicago, The University of Chicago Press, 1995, p. 184) rightly emphasizes: “A real quality is a quality that is a res”. The ontological status of the alternative between deprivation and positive entity seems to me to make it difficult to reduce it to “a question of physics, and of scholastic physics” (Jean-Marie BEYSSADE, “Sensation and idea: le patron rude”, in Jean-Claude Pariente ed., Antoine Arnauld. Philosophy of language and knowledge , Paris, Vrin, 1995, p. 136).  For the different terms of these two opposite series, see MB, p. 113 and p. 121; cf. AT VII, p. 43, 44.  It would be interesting to trace the medieval filiation of this broadening of the notion of ens reale in Arnauld's objection in relation to the Cartesian notion of res . The Conclusiones philosophicae, almost contemporary with the reading of the Meditations (see ARNAULD, Philosophical Texts , introduction, translation and notes by Denis Moreau, Paris, Presses Universitaires de France, 2001), do not contain any indication in this regard. Norman J. WELLS (“Descartes and Suárez on Secondary Qualities. A Tale of Two Readings”, The Review of Metaphysics , vol. 51, no. 3, 1998, p. 565-604) criticizes Arnauld – unlike Descartes – a misunderstanding of the doctrine of late scholasticism according to which privatio is an ens rationis when it is conceived as an ens positivum . The use in the Fourth Objections of categories of scholastic ontology merits a discussion that I cannot consider here.  Logic, or The Art of Thinking , ed. cit., I, VIII, p. 212 (see Jean-Claude PARIENTE, The Analysis of Language at Port-Royal. Six logical-grammatical studies , Paris, Les Éditions de Minuit, 1985, p. 72-81).  Logic, or The Art of Thinking, op. cit ., I, II, p. 177 (emphasis added).  Antoine ARNAULD, True and false ideas , edition, presentation and notes by Denis Moreau, Paris, Vrin, 2011, chap. VI, p. 73.  Denis KAMBOUCHNER, “Remarks on the Arnaldian definition of the idea”, in Jean-Claude Pariente ed., Antoine Arnauld. Philosophy of language and knowledge , Paris, Vrin, 1995, p. 183-184; ID., “Bodies without a middle: Descartes in the light of Arnauld”, in Kim Sang Ong-Van-Cung ed., The path of ideas? The status of representation 17th-20th centuries , Paris, CNRS, 2006, p. 82. Posted on Cairn.info on 02/02/2015 https://doi.org/10.3917/aphi.781.0049