For the latest episode in our NEH-supported Wise Women series, we’re exploring the life and thought of 17th-century philosopher-princess Elisabeth of Bohemia. These days, she’s most famous for her correspondence with René Descartes, in which she raised several objections to his mind-body dualism.
What Is It
Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia (1618–1680) is best known for her correspondence with 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? What can we ascertain about her moral and political concerns based on her various 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.
Who was Elisabeth of Bohemia?
What did she have to say about the mind-body problem?
And how is she still relevant today?