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Summary Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia (born Elisabeth Simmern van Pallandt, 1618-1680) is known primarily for her correspondence with René Descartes. Within these letters, Princess Elisabeth engages with Descartes primarily on the mind and body, specifically with respect to their distinct natures and the possibility of their interaction. Though her correspondence with Descartes comprise the substantive majority of her philosophical writings, she also corresponded with John Penn and Quakers such as Robert Barclay and William Penn.
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  1. Context and self-related reflection: : Elisabeth of Bohemia’s way to address the moral objectiveness – forthcoming/last draft.Katarina Peixoto - forthcoming - In Women in the History of Philosophy and Sciences.
    In this work I intend to explore the textual and conceptual roots of the moral view in the Early Modern Rationalism of Cartesian spectrum as detected by Elisabeth of Bohemia. To this intent, I will drive my analysis, first, to the remark Descartes adds to his own provisional morality of the Discourse in the Letter of August 4th, 1645 to Elisabeth. Second, I will approach the two aspects of her reply to Descartes, both in her Letter of September 13th 1645, (...)
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  2. What did Elisabeth ask Descartes? A reading proposal of the first Letter of the Correspondence.Katarina Peixoto - forthcoming - Revista Seiscentos.
    In May 1643 Elisabeth of Bohemia addressed a question to Descartes which inaugurated a six-year Correspondence, until his death. He dedicates his mature metaphysical work to the Princess (Principles of First Philosophy, 1644) and writes Passions of the Soul (1649) as one of the results of the dialogue with the philosopher of Bohemia. The silencing of the last hundred years of historiography on Elisabeth of Bohemia's legacy in this epistolary exchange caused distortions and, in some cases, underpinned the bias as (...)
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  3. Elisabeth of Bohemia (1618–1680): A Philosopher in her Historical Context.Rebecca Wilkin - forthcoming - Intellectual History Review.
    Sabrina Ebbersmeyer and Sarah Hutton have assembled a rich collection of essays on Elisabeth of Bohemia that were initially presented at a 2018 conference at the Center for the History of Women Phi...
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  4. Elisabeth of Bohemia (1618–1680): A Philosopher in Her Historical Context ed. by Sabrina Ebbersmeyer and Sarah Hutton (review). [REVIEW]Allauren Samantha Forbes - 2023 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 61 (3):521-523.
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  5. Humors, Passions, and Consciousness in Descartes’s Physiology: The Reconsideration through the Correspondence with Elisabeth.Jil Muller - 2023 - In Andrea Strazzoni & Marco Sgarbi (eds.), Reading Descartes. Consciousness, Body, and Reasoning. Florence: Firenze University Press. pp. 59-80.
    By pushing Descartes to more clearly explain the union of body and soul beyond the functioning of a ‘strong’ passion, namely sadness, Elisabeth wants Descartes to review his idea of the passions, and his understanding of the ‘theory of the four humors’. This chapter aims at showing that Descartes turns away from Galen’s theory of the humors, which he globally adopts in the 1633 Treatise of Man. With the shift in his conceptualization of the humors between this Treatise and the (...)
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  6. Elisabeth of Bohemia on the Soul.Eric Stencil - 2023 - Journal of Modern Philosophy 5 (4):4.
    In the 1640’s Elisabeth of Bohemia and René Descartes engaged in a philosophically rich correspondence. The most well-known aspect of the correspondence begins with a question Elisabeth asks Descartes about his account of the interaction between soul and body. This objection, often called the ‘problem of interaction’, has received much attention in contemporary scholarship and this attention frequently focuses on the exchange between Elisabeth and Descartes. Following the lead of Descartes himself, the majority of scholars treat the problem of interaction (...)
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  7. Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia as a Cartesian, de Lisa Shapiro.Jonathan Alvarenga - 2022 - Kant E-Prints 17 (1):144-149.
    O que esta resenha busca é a apresentação e análise do artigo Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia as a Cartesian – publicado como o décimo sétimo capítulo do livro The Oxford Handbook of Descartes and Cartesianism –, da comentadora Lisa Shapiro, também tradutora das correspondências entre Descartes e Elisabeth para a língua inglesa e grande pesquisadora do tema.
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  8. Elisabeth of Bohemia.Clara Carus - 2022 - New Historia.
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  9. Elisabeth of Bohemia’s Aristocratic Upbringing and Education at the Prinsenhof, Rapenburg 4–10, Leiden, c. 1627/8–32.Nadine Akkerman - 2021 - In Sabrina Ebbersmeyer & Sarah Hutton (eds.), Elisabeth of Bohemia (1618–1680): A Philosopher in Her Historical Context. Springer Verlag. pp. 17-31.
    This chapter is a note on the education of Elisabeth, Princess Palatine, and as such presents what information there is regarding the instructors, curriculum and atmosphere she would have experienced at the so-called Prinsenhof, the school-cum-court of the Palatine princes and princesses that was located in Leiden, a mere three-hour journey from their parents and the court-in-exile in The Hague. While the limited sources allow only for mere glimpses of the education Elisabeth received, they do reveal new information, such as (...)
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  10. The Soul’s Extension: Elisabeth’s Solution to Descartes’s Mind–Body Problem.Lilli Alanen - 2021 - In Sabrina Ebbersmeyer & Sarah Hutton (eds.), Elisabeth of Bohemia (1618–1680): A Philosopher in Her Historical Context. Springer Verlag. pp. 145-161.
    This paper examines and reflects on Princess Elisabeth’s of Bohemia exchange with Descartes concerning the notorious difficulties of his doctrine of human nature as a union of two independent and mutually exclusive substances mind and body. The aim is to situate her questions in the context of the debate Descartes’s doctrine spurred among his contemporaries and to show the philosophical interest of her own contribution to the understanding of and clarification of the issues confronting Descartes.
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  11. Elisabeth of Bohemia’s Lifelong Friendship with Anna Maria van Schurman.Mirjam de Baar - 2021 - In Sabrina Ebbersmeyer & Sarah Hutton (eds.), Elisabeth of Bohemia (1618–1680): A Philosopher in Her Historical Context. Springer Verlag. pp. 33-49.
    The friendship between Elisabeth of Bohemia and Anna Maria van Schurman started in the early 1630s and continued for more than forty years. That their friendship lasted so long is really a matter for some surprise, if we consider that Elisabeth clearly developed an intellectual interest in Descartes’s new thinking and Anna Maria van Schurman adhered to the Aristotelian-Christian tradition and the scholastics. This paper seeks to address the following questions: How and when did the first contact between the young (...)
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  12. Elisabeth of Bohemia and the Sciences: The Case of Astronomy.Sabrina Ebbersmeyer - 2021 - In Sabrina Ebbersmeyer & Sarah Hutton (eds.), Elisabeth of Bohemia (1618–1680): A Philosopher in Her Historical Context. Springer Verlag. pp. 51-70.
    The purpose of this paper is to highlight an aspect of Elisabeth’s intellectual life that has received little scholarly attention so far, namely Elisabeth’s involvement with the sciences of her day. Firstly, this paper provides a survey of Elisabeth’s interest in and engagement with various scientific disciplines, such as mathematics, medicine, natural philosophy, and microscopy, drawing on her letter exchange with Descartes and several other intellectuals as well as additional documents, such as dedications of scientific works to Elisabeth. Secondly, this (...)
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  13. Introduction.Sabrina Ebbersmeyer & Sarah Hutton - 2021 - In Sabrina Ebbersmeyer & Sarah Hutton (eds.), Elisabeth of Bohemia (1618–1680): A Philosopher in Her Historical Context. Springer Verlag. pp. 1-13.
    Elisabeth of Bohemia, Princess Palatine was famous in her own time for her learning, her philosophical acumen and her mathematical brilliance. Her wide-ranging interests extended to religion, science, politics and philosophy, and she was well-connected with seventeenth-century intellectual circles. But she has since suffered the fate of so many brilliant women of the past.
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  14. Elisabeth of Bohemia (1618–1680): A Philosopher in Her Historical Context.Sabrina Ebbersmeyer & Sarah Hutton (eds.) - 2021 - Springer Verlag.
    This book showcases Elisabeth of Bohemia, Princess Palatine, one of the foremost female minds of the 17th century. Best known today for her important correspondence with the philosopher René Descartes, Elisabeth was famous in her own time for her learning, philosophical acumen, and mathematical brilliance. She was also well-connected in the seventeenth-century intellectual circles. Elisabeth’s status as a woman philosopher is emblematic of both the possibilities and limitations of women's participation in the republic of letters and of their subsequent fate (...)
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  15. Princess Elisabeth and Anne Conway : The Interconnected Circles of Two Philosophical Women.Sarah Hutton - 2021 - In Sabrina Ebbersmeyer & Sarah Hutton (eds.), Elisabeth of Bohemia (1618–1680): A Philosopher in Her Historical Context. Springer Verlag. pp. 71-86.
    Princess Elisabeth and Anne Conway were contemporaries whose lives present many striking parallels. From their early interest in Descartes’ philosophy to their encounter with Van Helmont and the Quakers in their maturity, both were brought into contact with the same sets of ideas and forms of spirituality at similar points in their lives. Despite their common interest in philosophy, and their many mutual acquaintances, it is difficult to ascertain what either knew about the other, and whether either knew anything about (...)
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  16. What Is Elisabeth’s Cartesianism?Denis Kambouchner - 2021 - In Sabrina Ebbersmeyer & Sarah Hutton (eds.), Elisabeth of Bohemia (1618–1680): A Philosopher in Her Historical Context. Springer Verlag. pp. 205-214.
    The aim of this paper is twofold: to clarify the nature of Elisabeth’s adherence to Cartesian philosophy; to discover whether, on the question of the interaction between the mind and the body, Elisabeth’s objections really caused Descartes difficulty. On the first point, one should acknowledge that Elisabeth considers Cartesian philosophy less as an unquestionable doctrine than as a superior form of the culture of reason. On the second, the main difficulty concerns the “power of the soul to move the body.” (...)
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  17. Elisabeth and Descartes Read Machiavelli in the Time of Hobbes.Gianni Paganini - 2021 - In Sabrina Ebbersmeyer & Sarah Hutton (eds.), Elisabeth of Bohemia (1618–1680): A Philosopher in Her Historical Context. Springer Verlag. pp. 109-126.
    While most scholars who have discussed the letters of Elisabeth and Descartes exchanged in 1646 on the subject of the Prince focused on Descartes, whether he was Machiavellian or not, I shall deal here more in depth with the position of Elisabeth. I shall address then four main points: the so-called “methodological” question raised by Descartes about the Prince and quickly dismissed by Elisabeth; the issue of political realism, that is one of the great themes of Machiavelli’s thought; the problem (...)
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  18. A Persistent Princess: How Elisabeth of Bohemia Constructed Her Personal Politics.Carol Pal - 2021 - In Sabrina Ebbersmeyer & Sarah Hutton (eds.), Elisabeth of Bohemia (1618–1680): A Philosopher in Her Historical Context. Springer Verlag. pp. 89-107.
    This essay presents Elisabeth of Bohemia’s intellectual trajectory as a completely consistent lifelong investigation. Elisabeth’s intellectual work has generally been parsed in a way that construes the years of her philosophical correspondence with Descartes, from 1643 to 1649, as the apex of her thinking life, after which her scholarly investigations were gradually subsumed into a morass of family quarrels and questionable forays into religion. This essay argues instead that throughout her thinking life, Elisabeth was always seeking to extract the strongest, (...)
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  19. The Feminine Body in the Correspondence Between Descartes and Elisabeth.Marie-Frédérique Pellegrin - 2021 - In Sabrina Ebbersmeyer & Sarah Hutton (eds.), Elisabeth of Bohemia (1618–1680): A Philosopher in Her Historical Context. Springer Verlag. pp. 193-204.
    The correspondence between Descartes and Elisabeth contains the analysis of different female bodies: that of Elisabeth, that of Descartes’ mother, and that of the pregnant woman. The study of their appearances shows that the idea of a weak sex is not Cartesian. For Elisabeth, the idea has a certain validity at first, but the exercise of philosophy, her discussions with Descartes as a doctor of both the soul and the body, allow the patient Elisabeth to recover all her strength. She (...)
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  20. Is Our Happiness up to Us? Elisabeth of Bohemia on the Limits of Internalism.Dominik Perler - 2021 - In Sabrina Ebbersmeyer & Sarah Hutton (eds.), Elisabeth of Bohemia (1618–1680): A Philosopher in Her Historical Context. Springer Verlag. pp. 177-192.
    This paper examines Elisabeth of Bohemia’s critique of Descartes’ internalist conception of happiness. According to this conception, we can all become happy because we can all make full use of our rational faculties and constantly follow our best judgments. Happiness is nothing but an “internal satisfaction” that arises when we act in accordance with these judgments. Elisabeth challenges this conception by pointing out that it is far too optimistic and that it neglects what is external to our own mind. Quite (...)
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  21. Elisabeth on Free Will, Preordination, and Philosophical Doubt.Martina Reuter - 2021 - In Sabrina Ebbersmeyer & Sarah Hutton (eds.), Elisabeth of Bohemia (1618–1680): A Philosopher in Her Historical Context. Springer Verlag. pp. 163-176.
    Elisabeth is widely known as a critic of René Descartes’ account of mind–body interaction and scholarly interpretations of her view on the will most often pose the question about the freedom of the will in relation to bodily impulses such as the passions. This chapter takes a different perspective and focuses on the problem of the compatibility of free will and providence, as it is discussed in a sequence of six letters that Elisabeth and Descartes wrote between September 1645 and (...)
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  22. Elisabeth, Princess of Bohemia.Lisa Shapiro - 2021 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  23. Princess Elisabeth and the Challenges of Philosophizing.Lisa Shapiro - 2021 - In Sabrina Ebbersmeyer & Sarah Hutton (eds.), Elisabeth of Bohemia (1618–1680): A Philosopher in Her Historical Context. Springer Verlag. pp. 127-141.
    This paper explores Elisabeth’s remark that ruling and studying each demands an entire person, with the aim of understanding why she might think ruling and intellectual pursuits like philosophy are incompatible with one another. While Elisabeth identifies several barriers to philosophizing, she does not suggest that time constraints are an impediment to both philosophizing and ruling. Situating Elisabeth with respect to Plato, Machiavelli, and Aristotle suggests that she holds there are many similarities between governing and philosophizing. The methodology and skill (...)
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  24. Descartes E Elisabeth.Rafael Teruel Coelho - 2020 - Cadernos Espinosanos 43:399-427.
    The “problem of voluntary actions”, traditionally known asthe “problem of substantial union”, is one of the most controversialissues in the Cartesian doctrine. It is about seeking to understand howthe soul, being just an immaterial substance, whose nature consists onlyin thinking, could determine the animal spirits to carry out voluntary actions.The modus operandi, from which Descartes intended to explain howthe thinking substance would determine the movements of the pinealgland, is what greatly botheredElisabeth of Bohemia. In this article, we will present the (...)
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  25. An Inventory of the Extant Correspondence of Elisabeth of Bohemia, Princess Palatine.Sabrina Ebbersmeyer - 2020 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 58 (2):325-398.
    This article provides a first inventory of the extant correspondence of Elisabeth of Bohemia, Princess Palatine and later Abbess of Herford. Elisabeth, one of the most famous women philosophers of the seventeenth century, is best known today for her comprehensive exchange of letters with the French philosopher René Descartes. Additionally, her relation to the Quakers, especially to Robert Barclay and William Penn, has received some scholarly attention.1 Less known is the fact that, throughout her lifetime, Elisabeth corresponded with family members, (...)
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  26. Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia on the Cartesian Mind: Interaction, Happiness, Freedom.Tad M. Schmaltz - 2019 - In Eileen O’Neill & Marcy P. Lascano (eds.), Feminist History of Philosophy: The Recovery and Evaluation of Women’s Philosophical Thought. Springer. pp. 155-173.
    This chapter is a re-consideration of the powerful set of objections to the Cartesian theory of mind that Princess Elisabeth offered in her 1643–49 correspondence with Descartes. Much of the scholarly discussion of this correspondence has focused on Elisabeth’s initial criticisms of Descartes’ views of mind–body interaction and union, and has presented these criticisms as assuming the general principle that objects with heterogeneous natures cannot interact. However, this account of the criticisms fails to capture not only their basic import, but (...)
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  27. Elisabeth of Bohemia's Neo-Peripatetic account of the emotions.Ariane Cäcilie Schneck - 2019 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 27 (4):753-770.
    This article examines Elisabeth of Bohemia's account of the emotions. I argue that Elisabeth's objections against Descartes' ethics, which is often characterized as ‘Neo-Stoic’, show striking similarities to the arguments that the ancient Peripatetics made against classical Stoic approaches. Like the Peripatetics, she challenges the feasibility as well as the desirability of Descartes' ethical injunctions regarding emotional control. In particular, Elisabeth joins the Peripatetics in holding that certain external goods are essential for happiness and that the emotions are necessary for (...)
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  28. Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia as a Cartesian.Lisa Shapiro - 2019 - In Steven Nadler, Tad M. Schmaltz & Delphine Antoine-Mahut (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Descartes and Cartesianism. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
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  29. Elisabeth of Bohemia as a Naturalistic Dualist.Frederique Janssen-Lauret - 2018 - In Emily Thomas (ed.), Early Modern Women on Metaphysics. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. pp. 171-187.
    Elisabeth was the first of Descartes' interlocutors to press concerns about mind-body union and interaction, and the only one to receive a detailed reply, unsatisfactory though she found it. Descartes took her tentative proposal `to concede matter and extension to the soul' for a confused version of his own view: `that is nothing but to conceive it united to the body. Contemporary commentators take Elisabeth for a materialist or at least a critic of dualism. I read her instead as a (...)
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  30. Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia: The Philosopher Princess.Renée Jeffery - 2018 - Lexington Books.
    This study provides a comprehensive intellectual biography of Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia. The author highlights Elisabeth’s place in the Western intellectual tradition and contextualizes her contributions within the social and cultural landscape of seventeenth-century Europe.
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  31. The origins of the modern emotions: Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia and the embodied mind.Renée Jeffery - 2017 - History of European Ideas 43 (6):547-559.
    In the history of European ideas, Princess Elisabeth is conventionally viewed as little more than a curiosity, a clever but ultimately unimportant exiled princess who became the confidant, critic, and muse of a far more famous man, René Descartes. Contrary to this view, however, this article argues that Elisabeth made a significant contribution to the development of western philosophy in her own right. Drawing on her letters to Descartes, as well the diaries and correspondence of her associates and a range (...)
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  32. Élisabeth de Bohême face à Descartes, deux philosophes?Delphine Kolesnik-Antoine & Marie-Frédérique Pellegrin (eds.) - 2014 - Paris: Librairie philosophique J. Vrin.
    English summary: This book examines the philosophy of Elisabeth of Bohemia in conjunction with Descartess. She maintained a philosophical dialogue with another philosopher employing pertinent arguments. In addition, she perhaps developed her own theses, truly philosophical theses which can be better understood in consideration with her numerous correspondents. The study seeks to better understand Elisabeths role in Cartesian thought, and to determine her own philosophical thought. French description: Le titre meme de ce volume, sous forme d'interrogation, est a comprendre comme (...)
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  33. The Significance of the Mind/Body Problem in the Correspondences between Descartes and Elizabeth.M. Shahraeeni & P. Mesbahi Jamshid - 2012 - Metaphysics (University of Isfahan) 4 (13):1-14.
    Although the correspondences between Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia and René Descartes cover a vast range of philosophical topics, their discussions were mainly focused on what has become one of the most central issues in contemporary philosophy—the mind-body problem. Elizabeth had identified a fundamental anomaly in the interaction between mind and body, and she asked her question as follows: “How can the human soul, which is only a thinking substance, determine the movements of the animal spirits in order to perform a (...)
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  34. Princess Elisabeth and the Mind–Body Problem.Jen McWeeny - 2011-09-16 - In Michael Bruce & Steven Barbone (eds.), Just the Arguments. Wiley‐Blackwell. pp. 297–300.
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  35. Cogito Interruptus: The Epistolary Body in the Elisabeth-Descartes Correspondence, June 22, 1645-November 3, 1645.Kyoo Lee - 2011 - philoSOPHIA: A Journal of Continental Feminism 1 (2):173-194.
    In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:Cogito Interruptus:The Epistolary Body in the Elisabeth-Descartes Correspondence, June 22, 1645-November 3, 1645Kyoo LeeCogito interruptus is typical of those who see the world inhabited by symbols and symptoms. Like someone who, for example, points to the little box of matches, stares hard into your eyes, and says, "You see, there are seven...," then gives you a meaningful look, waiting for you to perceive the meaning concealed in that unmistakable (...)
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  36. The Correspondence between Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia and René Descartes.Eileen O'Neill - 2009 - Philosophical Review 118 (4):551-555.
  37. The Correspondence Between Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia and René Descartes (review). [REVIEW]Seth Bordner & Alan Nelson - 2008 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 46 (4):642-643.
    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 (...)
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  38. Review of Lisa Shapiro (ed.), The Correspondence Between Princess eLisabeth of Bohemia and Rene Descartes[REVIEW]Margaret Atherton - 2007 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2007 (10).
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  39. The Correspondence Between Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia and René Descartes.René Descartes - 2007 - University of Chicago Press.
    Between the years 1643 and 1649, Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia and René Descartes exchanged fifty-eight letters—thirty-two from Descartes and twenty-six from Elisabeth. Their correspondence contains the only known extant philosophical writings by Elisabeth, revealing her mastery of metaphysics, analytic geometry, and moral philosophy, as well as her keen interest in natural philosophy. The letters are essential reading for anyone interested in Descartes’s philosophy, in particular his account of the human being as a union of mind and body, as well as (...)
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  40. The Correspondence Between Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia and René Descartes.Lisa Shapiro (ed.) - 2007 - University of Chicago Press.
    Between the years 1643 and 1649, Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia and René Descartes exchanged fifty-eight letters—thirty-two from Descartes and twenty-six from Elisabeth. Their correspondence contains the only known extant philosophical writings by Elisabeth, revealing her mastery of metaphysics, analytic geometry, and moral philosophy, as well as her keen interest in natural philosophy. The letters are essential reading for anyone interested in Descartes’s philosophy, in particular his account of the human being as a union of mind and body, as well as (...)
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  41. Princess Elisabeth and the problem of mind-body interaction.Deborah Tollefsen - 1999 - Hypatia 14 (3):59-77.
    : This paper focuses on Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia's philosophical views as exhibited in her early correspondence with René Descartes. Elisabeth's criticisms of Descartes's interactionism as well as her solution to the problem of mind-body interaction are examined in detail. The aim here is to develop a richer picture of Elisabeth as a philosophical thinker and to dispel the myth that she is simply a Cartesian muse.
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  42. Busy lives : Descartes and Elisabeth on time management and the philosophical life.Genevieve Lloyd - unknown
    This is an analysis of the philosophy behind the exchange of letters between Descartes and Princess Elizabeth of Bohemia.
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