Elisabeth of Bohemia

Sunday, October 22, 2023

What Is It

Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia (1618–1680) is best known for her correspondence with Enlightenment philosopher René Descartes. In her letters, she articulated a devastating critique of his dualist theory of mind, in particular on the impossibility of mind-body interaction. So what was Elisabeth's own position on the nature of mind and how mind and body affect one another? What can we ascertain about her moral and political views based on her other correspondences? And how are her ideas still relevant to current debates in philosophy? Josh and Ray explore Elisabeth's life and thought with Lisa Shapiro from McGill University, editor of The Routledge Handbook of Women and Early Modern European Philosophy.

Part of our series Wise Women, supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.