University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Physics and Astronomy Calendar

Friday, September 25th 2015
Speaker: Harold Cook, Brown University
Subject: A Different Descartes: The New Galen
Refreshments served at 3:15 p.m. A Charles E. Culpeper Lecture in the History of Medicine. Co-sponsored with the Center for Early Modern History.

Descartes is often said to be the French philosopher who gave us the mind-body problem. But he only began to write philosophy seriously in his 30s, living abroad. In his youth he apparently became we acquainted with libertine writers; when the assassination of the Queen Regent’s favorite, Concini, took place in 1617 he left to learn the art of war and became deeply immersed in French entanglements related to the Thirty Years War. After another short period in Paris his personal and political involvements seem to have caused him and his friends to feel threatened by the chief minister, Cardinal Richelieu. He spent the last twenty years of his life (1629-49) as an exile in The Netherlands, where he indeed had the leisure and ambition for writing about the nature of the world. Can we re-connect his mind and body?

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