Negotiating the Divide: Descartes and Malebranche

Susan James

in Passion and Action

Published in print November 1999 | ISBN: 9780198250135
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597794 | DOI:
 Negotiating the Divide: Descartes and Malebranche

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Among seventeenth‐century philosophers who produced novel and systematic theories of the passions, two of the most important are Descartes and Malebranche, who attribute the physical and psychological aspects of the passions to the dual substances of body and soul. The first part of this chapter examines Descartes’ attempt to deal with the Aristotelian heritage; it concentrates on his reconfiguration of the soul, his account of the function of the passions, and his analysis of their physical and psychological aspects. The second part shows how these themes are developed by Malebranche, for whom the passions are social phenomena designed by God to realize our collective good.

Keywords: Aristotelianism; body; Descartes; dualism; Malebranche; passions; soul

Chapter.  20625 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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