Chapter

Volume Editor's Introduction

Lisa Shapiro

in The Correspondence between Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia and René Descartes

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2007 | ISBN: 9780226204413
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226204444 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226204444.003.0001
Volume Editor's Introduction

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The correspondence between Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia (1618–80) and René Descartes covers topics spanning the range of philosophical inquiry, but the letters were not written for the public. Early on in the correspondence, Elisabeth is quite insistent that their exchanges be kept private. In concluding her letter of 6 May 1643, she charges Descartes to refrain from making their exchange public, and her letter of 10 October 1646 demonstrates that they considered communicating in code. This introductory chapter presents biographies of Princess Elizabeth and René Descartes. It then provides an overview of the philosophical issues engaged in the correspondence, along with some essential background for understanding those issues. Next, it considers in greater depth Elisabeth's own philosophical position.

Keywords: Elisabeth of Bohemia; René Descartes; correspondence; philosophical background

Chapter.  22976 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literature

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