The Correspondence Between Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia and René Descartes (review) [Book Review]

Journal of the History of Philosophy 46 (4):642-643 (2008)
Descartes’s correspondence with Elisabeth is among the most important we have for understanding the philosophical thought of a canonical figure. Elisabeth’s perspicacious queries drew forth Descartes’s very famous elaboration of mind/body union. The correspondence also contains the bulk of Descartes’s important statements on morality—a topic touched on only briefly in his books. It seems likely that this part of the correspondence helped set Descartes on the course that resulted in his last book, The Passions of the Soul. Moreover, Elisabeth’s letters to Descartes are her only extant philosophical writings. In Lisa Shapiro’s volume we have, for the first time, translations of the thirty-three letters of Descartes and the twenty-six of Elisabeth complete and unabridged. This is, therefore, a very welcome addition to existing English editions of Descartes’s works and an important resource for studying early modern philosophy written by women.
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DOI 10.1353/hph.0.0059
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