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Baroque Science$
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Ofer Gal and Raz Chen-Morris

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226923987

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226923994.001.0001

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Passions, Imagination, and the Persona of the New Savant

Passions, Imagination, and the Persona of the New Savant

(p.233) Chapter Seven Passions, Imagination, and the Persona of the New Savant
Baroque Science

Ofer Gal

Raz Chen-Morris

University of Chicago Press

This chapter focuses on the persona of the new savant during the baroque period. It relates the story of how Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia sought the advice of Rene Descartes whom she considered the best doctor for her soul. It discusses Descartes’ recommendation of mathematics to Princess Elisabeth as a means to exercise the imagination and achieve the anxiously sought balance between body and soul, desire, and reason. This chapter also considers Descartes’ realization that imagination was as essential to morals as it was to mathematical reasoning.

Keywords:   new savant, Princess Elisabeth, rene descartes, mathematics, imagination, body, soul, desire, mathematical reasoning, morals

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