The Princess and the Philosopher: Letters of Elisabeth of the Palatine to René Descartes

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Rowman & Littlefield, 1999 - 187 Seiten
For a number of years, those interested in recovering women's thought have known about Princess Elisabeth, a seventeenth-century correspondent and friend of Descartes whose questions provoked the philosopher to think more seriously about ethics and the passions. Up to now, only a few of her letters have found their way into print. This volume includes translations of all of Elisabeth's extant letters to Descartes, as well as of other materials relevant to understanding her philosophical perspective and her life. Nye has supplemented the translations with a running commentary on the historical, biographical, and intellectual context of the letters. The letters were during a tumultuous time in European history. A devastating Thirty Years War had ruined Elisabeth's family and devastated their principality, the Palatine. On his part, Descartes was increasingly embroiled in bitter controversies surrounding his work in relatively free-thinking Holland. In her commentary Nye shows how personal experiences energized his and Elisabeth's different views of the relation between mind and body, the existence of God, and the nature of morality. What Nye evokes, along with the thinking of an extraordinary woman, is an alternative model for philosophy, a nonadversarial form of dialogue that does not pretend to objective theorizing. Such a philosophy depends on mutual respect and trust, on concern for the other's sensibilities and views, on friendship between women and men with a common concern for human life.
 

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Inhalt

The First Overtures
5
Body and Soul
11
The Scent of a Rose
16
An Initial Disappointment
21
The Uses of Mataphysics
24
A Test
30
The Philosophic Muse
34
DoctorPhilosopher
38
The Prince
102
Magic Powers
109
An Ungrateful Disciple
114
An Accusation of Blasphemy
120
A New Patroness
125
The Purloined Letters
132
Affairs of State
138
On the Advantages of Partition and Death by Beheading
145

A Life Blessed with Happiness
48
The Burden of Civility
58
A Discourse on Prudence
61
The Consolations of Theology
72
Traitor to the Cause
77
A Silence between Friends
84
Master of Passion
89
A Certain Languor
96
Murder in the Streets
99
A Royal Summons
151
Reason in the Service of Sense
158
In the Land of Ice and Snow
163
The Abbess of Herford
169
Notes
175
Bibliography
183
Index
185
About the Author
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Seite iii - Rhine, of right claimeth a memorial in this discourse ; her virtue giving greater lustre to her name than her quality, which yet was of the greatest in the German empire. She chose a single life as freest of care, and best suited to the study and meditation she was always inclined to ; and the chiefest diversion she took, next the air, was in some such plain and housewifely entertainment, as knitting, &c. She had a small territory which she governed so well, that she shewed herself fit for a greater.
Seite 185 - ... Synthese (Fall 1995) on feminism and science. She is coeditor with Jack Nelson of two forthcoming volumes Feminism, Science, and the Philosophy of Science and Rethinking the Canon: Feminist Perspectives on Quine. ANDREA NYE is professor of philosophy at the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater. Her books include Feminist Theory and the Philosophies of Man, Words of Power: A Feminist Reading of the History of Logic, Philosophia: The Thought of Rosa Luxemburg, Simone Weil and Hannah Arendt, and...

Über den Autor (1999)

Andrea Nye is professor of philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Her books include Philosophia: The Thought of Rosa Luxemburg, Simone Weil, and Hannah Arendt (1994) and Words of Power: A Feminist Reading of the History of Logic (1990).

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