Platonic Threat to Mind-Body Union

  • C. F. Fowler
Part of the International Archives of the History of Ideas / Archives Internationales D’Histoire des Idées book series (ARCH, volume 160)


Antoine Arnauld, recent licentiate in theology from the Collège du Mans at the University of Paris and aspiring doctor of the “Maison et Société de Sorbonne”, had taken Descartes at his word when in the Letter of Dedication the author of the Meditationes had asked the Faculty of Theology to examine his work and to correct any mistakes it might contain, and to suggest ways in which it might be “supplemented, completed and clarified”.1 Arnauld considered that Descartes had shown himself to be modestissimus in this submission to the theologians.2 However, from the private correspondence with Mersenne in which the idea of this dedication was first expressed, it is clear that Descartes’ motivation in offering his work to the Sorbonne was not the humble one of seeking the Faculty’s corrections, but rather the self-interested need for the protection and promotion that their official approbratio could give. Descartes wanted the theologians’ stamp of approval in the form, of the words “cum approbatione doctorum” for his title page, together with the traditional statement signed by two members of the faculty to the effect that they had read the text and, having found in it nothing contrary to the “Catholic, Apostolic and Roman faith”, that they approved publication and recommended it to the faithful.3


Human Person Human Soul Substantial Form Real Distinction Aristotelian Theory 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. F. Fowler
    • 1
  1. 1.The Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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