Chapter

Melancholia and the Passions 1643–1650

Stephen Gaukroger

in Descartes: An Intellectual Biography

Published in print May 1997 | ISBN: 9780198237242
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597480 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198237243.003.0011
Melancholia and the Passions 1643–1650

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Examines Descartes's later years through the large volume of correspondence from that period, much of it with Princess Elizabeth of Bohemia. This correspondence was mainly concerned with the passions, mind/body dualism, the nature of the soul, automata, and the doctrine of substantial union. Mind/body dualism is discussed in the usual seventeenth‐century context of the passions, in his work Passions, which also deals at length with the problem of evil. Reviews the work Descartes undertook at the end of his life—unfinished works on botany (no longer extant), anatomy, physiology, and a reply to Regius’ disagreement with him on the need for a metaphysical grounding for natural philosophy that expanded on his doctrine of innate ideas.

Keywords: automata; doctrine of innate ideas; mind/body dualism; nature of the soul; passions; Princess Elizabeth of Bohemia; problem of evil

Chapter.  16867 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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