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Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy Volume VI$
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Daniel Garber and Donald Rutherford

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199659593

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199659593.001.0001

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What Someone May Have Whispered in Elisabeth’s Ear

What Someone May Have Whispered in Elisabeth’s Ear

(p.1) 1 What Someone May Have Whispered in Elisabeth’s Ear
Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy Volume VI

Vlad Alexandrescu

Oxford University Press

This chapter looks at Elisabeth’s arguments in the framework of Descartes’ program to collect valuable objections from members of the Republic of Letters. The analysis of Elisabeth’s first letters reveals astonishing resemblances between Elisabeth’s position and the one Gassendi had expressed in his Fifth Objections. In order to explain this fact, the chapter proposes that Samuel Sorbière, present in the Low Countries since 1642, was an agent of Gassendi’s who worked his way into Queen of Bohemia’s court at the Hague and who, during several encounters with Princess Elisabeth, explained to her Gassendi’s views and worked with her on a Gassendist interpretation of Meditation Six. The chapter also shows that later on, Sorbière was to depart from a number of Gassendist positions and that Descartes’ ideas eventually permeated his philosophical writings.

Keywords:   René Descartes, Elisabeth of Palatine, Pierre Gassendi, Samuel Sorbière, meditations, Republic of Letters, mind-body union

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