Elisabeth, who was the Princess Palatine of Bohemia is famous for her lengthy writing with Rene Descartes. Elisabeth, asks Descartes by writing him a letter about the relation between the soul and the body, which are completely different things in terms of their forms. She also requests an explanation significantly on the part that contains how the interactions between soul and body affects each other. She asks this question after considering Descartes’s allegations concerning the relationship between body and soul. In one of his claims, Descartes asserts that body and soul stand as connected systems and that each of these systems has independent activities. This theory is called the “Cartesian Dualism” in philosophy.
The duty of the a person’s brain is to ponder and take dacisions. On the other hand, the function of a body is to make movements. By considering this undeniable fact, Elisabeth thinks how these two independent functions are connected, and how the soul has to do anything with a person’s body’s activity. She believed that the person who is called the father of the modern philophy, has the answer for her curiosity. Elisabeth, found it exteremely hard to apprehend such different functions connectivity. After her own research, she end up with the understanding that a person’s physical body movement is kind of a thing that can only be affected by another phisycal body activity. It was more of an enigma to Elisabeth, that how the soul handles managing body movements, even tough it is completely seperated from a physical act. Finally she thought that Descartes can provide reasonable answers for her.
In his first answer, Descartes said that not all reasons of movement contains material things, the physical activity, touching other material things. He means that a phiscal activity does not always need to be influenced by another physical activity, it maybe caused by other immaterial things. In his second answer, Descarted claimed that mind is known by real intelligence, and the body is known by imagination and inteligence, and he also says that the mind and body union can only be lived and experienced, so there is no reason to contemplate on it.
I do believe that Descartes did not give an satisfactory answer because he actually does not answer Elisabeth’s questions, he only explains what are his ideas about. Elisabeth herself, does not deny the connection between mind and the body, she only asks how does this connection happen.
Work Cited
Sellars, John. “Stoicism and Early Modern Philosophy.” Week 5. Descartes and
Elisabeth, 1 Jan. 1970, earlymodernstoicism.blogspot.com/2013/02/week-5-descartes-and-elisabeth.html.