Descartes Critical And Interpretive Essays

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These details are found in a letter that John Worthington sent to Samuel Hartlib in May of 1661 (Worthington 1847—, I: 311), which means that More’s anticipation of her visit was public knowledge to some extent.

Instead of moving with her mother to England in 1661, however, Elisabeth chose instead to move to Herford in Germany.

Most prominently, her family’s fortunes were intertwined with the Thirty Years War, one of the most tumultuous events in Europe during the 17th century.

In his famous , David Hume called that war “the most destructive in modern annals” (Hume 1850, V: chapter 61, page 454).

The War upended her family’s life, sending them away from Prussia into exile in Holland, where they would remain for years.

Her family also gave her intriguing connections to many key early modern figures.Life in The Hague turned out to be the first crucial stage of Elisabeth’s intellectual development, for she used this opportunity to shape a major intellectual community of exiles in The Hague.For instance, in 1634, at the age of only sixteen, she arranged a debate between Descartes and a Protestant Scottish minister named John Dury.It was her last move to Herford that enabled her once again to create a rich and thriving community of intellectual and religious exiles.Henry More became aware of Elisabeth’s philosophical talents, and there is evidence that More hoped she would accompany her mother, Queen of Bohemia, on her trip to England so that they could speak in person.Years later, Elisabeth returned this generosity by providing van Schurman and some of her colleagues with safe haven in the face of potential religious persecution.Elisabeth demonstrated a keen interest in philosophical and intellectual controversy and discussion.Elisabeth, Princess Palatine of Bohemia, was a remarkable woman living during remarkable times.She experienced a devastating and protracted war, years of exile, political strife, executions of family members, and a final period as a political authority and protector of religious refugees.After a childhood in Germany, largely in Heidelberg and Berlin, her family went into exile in Holland, living in The Hague in the 1630s.During this time period, she was mentored by the great philosopher, linguist, and polymath Anna Maria van Schurman (the first woman to attend university in Europe), who advised Elisabeth on a range of subjects and suggested numerous readings for her to consider.


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