Descartes's Ballet: His Doctrine of Will and His Political Philosophy

Descartes's Ballet: His Doctrine of Will and His Political Philosophy

by Richard A. Watson


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In his 54th year, Rene Descartes went to Stockholm at the invitation of Queen Christina. He caught pneumonia there and died on February 11, 1650. It is said that because Descartes refused to dance, Queen Christina charged him with writing the verses for a court ballet, La Naissance de la Paix. What a wonderful story! Alas, the evidence of Descartes's authorship is virtually nonexistent. Watson provides the first translation of The Birth of Peace into English, and he examines exhaustively the question of its authorship based on original archival research. He also examines Descartes's doctrine of the will to construct a political philosophy for Descartes. The great individualist is found to be a royalist in support of the powers that be, although he chose in fact to live in republican Holland rather than in his homeland France.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781587311758
Publisher: St. Augustine's Press
Publication date: 10/20/2006
Edition description: 1
Pages: 152
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

Table of Contents

Preface     ix
Methodology     xiii
Transcript and English Translation of La Naissance de la Paix     xvii
Analysis of La Naissance de la Paix     28
Did Descartes Write La Naissance de la Paix?     37
Descartes's Doctrine of the Will     59
Did Descartes Read Corneille?     75
Descartes's Political Philosophy     86
Endnotes     115
Bibliography     121
Index     129

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