Essays on Descartes

Hardcover (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $10.20
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 86%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (17) from $10.20   
  • New (6) from $13.80   
  • Used (11) from $10.20   


This is a collection of Paul Hoffman's wide-ranging essays on Descartes composed over the past twenty-five years. The essays in Part I include his celebrated "The Unity of Descartes' Man," in which he argues that Descartes accepts the Aristotelian view that soul and body are related as form to matter and that the human being is a substance; a series of subsequent essays elaborating on this interpretation and defending it against objections; and an essay on Descartes' theory of distinction. In the essays in Part II he argues that Descartes retains the Aristotelian theory of causation according to which an agent's action is the same as the passion it brings about, and explains the significance of this doctrine for understanding Descartes' dualism and physics. In the essays in Part III he argues that Descartes accepts the Aristotelian theory of cognition according to which perception is possible because things that exist in the world are also capable of a different way of existing in the soul, and he shows how this theory figures in Descartes' account of misrepresentation and in the controversy over whether Descartes is a direct realist or a representationalist. The essays in Part IV examine Descartes' theory of the passions of the soul: their definition; their effect on our happiness, virtue, and freedom; and methods of controlling them.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Essays on Descartes is wellsuited both for grazing and for focused forays into specific issues, and for that reason, it is a good thing that the essays can be read independently of each other. I hope the collection will get an audience beyond students and scholars of Descartes, if only to give the lie to prevailing stereotypes of Cartesian dualism. One doesn't have to agree with all of Hoffman's benefit from having familiar assumptions shaken up."—Amy M. Schmitter, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195321104
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/17/2009
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Hoffman is Professor of Philosophy, University of California, Riverside, and co-editor of Contemporary Perspectives on Early Modern Philosophy: Essays in Honor of Vere Chappell (Broadview Press 2008)

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Part I - Hylomorphism and the Theory of Distinction
1. The Unity of Descartes's Man
2. Cartesian Composites
3. Descartes's Theory of Distinction
4. Descartes's Watch Analogy
5. The Union and Interaction of Mind and Body (Part I)
6. Descartes and Aquinas on Per Se Subsistence and the Union of Soul and Body
Part II - Causation
7. The Union and Interaction of Mind and Body (Part II)
8. Cartesian Passions and Cartesian Dualism
9. Passion and Motion in the New Mechanics
Part III - Cognition
10. Descartes on Misrepresentation
11. Direct Realism, Intentionality, and the Objective Being of Ideas
Part IV - Moral Psychology
12. Three Dualist Theories of the Passions
13. Freedom and Strength of Will: Descartes and Albritton
14. The Passions and Freedom of Will

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)