Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 21 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Elisabeth Simmern van Pallandt, or as she is more commonly referred to, Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia, is most well known for her extended correspondence with Descartes and for being the subject of the dedication of Descartes’s Principles of Philosophy. In that dedication, Descartes notes that “the outstanding and incomparable sharpness of your [Elisabeth’s] intelligence is obvious from the penetrating examination you have made of all the secrets of these sciences”, that she is the only person who “completely understood all my previously published works”, both metaphysics and geometry, that her “intellect is … unique in finding everything equally clear”, and finally that she exhibits “all the necessary conditions for perfect and sublime wisdom”. Given his admiration for her, it is reasonable to think that Descartes saw Elisabeth not simply as a political patron but also as a philosophical ally, and so to think of Princess Elisabeth as a Cartesian. This chapter examines this claim in more detail. After briefly outlining some salient details of Elisabeth’s biography, it considers three different senses in which Elisabeth might be thought of as a Cartesian.

Keywords: Elisabeth of Bohemia, metaphysics, mind, body, ethics

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.