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978-1-4985-2235-9 • Hardback • November 2015 • $121.00 • (£93.00)
978-1-4985-2237-3 • Paperback • August 2017 • $52.99 • (£41.00)
978-1-4985-2236-6 • eBook • November 2015 • $47.50 • (£37.00)
Richard F. Hassing is research associate professor in the School of Philosophy at Catholic University.
1 Background: What was Rejected?
2 Early Cartesian Psychophysics: The Treatise of Man
3 Baseline Teleology: Sensation and the Teaching of Nature in Meditation 6
4 Human Difference: Speech and the “True Man” in Discourse 5
5 The Passions of the Soul, Part I, aa. 1–44: General Theory of the Passions (the Use of Physics)
6 The Passions of the Soul, Part I, aa. 45–50: The Soul’s Power in Relation to its Passions
(Leaving Physics Behind)
Interim Conclusions: “the Whole Nature of Man” or Descartes’s Final Dualism
7 The Passions of the Soul, Part II, aa. 51–67: The Causes, Use, and Derivation of the Principal
Passions (to the Standpoint of the Self-Conscious I)
8 Art. 68: On Descartes’s Rejection of the Distinction between Concupiscible and Irascible
Appetites (art. 47, continued)
9 Arts. 144–146: Fortune, Providence, and the Regulation of Desire (a Theological
Accompaniment to the Self-Conscious I)
10 On Generosity and the Meaning of Cartesian Individualism (Wholes, Parts, and the
Redirection of Thumos)
11 Gravitas: Autobiography of a Childhood but Persistent Prejudice (the Psychogenesis of
Appendix Descartes: Concepts Engineer
Richard Hassing’s monograph is to my knowledge the first full-length study of Descartes’s Passions of the Soul…. Hassing’s excellent study should be of interest not just to Descartes scholars, although that group clearly is its primary intended audience, but to anyone interested in the Cartesian origins of modern self.
— Review of Metaphysics
Hassling’s carefully argued book will be of great use to anyone attempting to wrap their arms around the whole of the Cartesian corpus, the mechanics of the Cartesian self, the history of neuroscience, and the implications of all of the above for human freedom and autonomy.... The jewel of this book, though, is Hassing’s extremely careful treatment of Descartes’s psychophysical model of the human being.... This is a dense, carefully argued, and finely focused book that draws material from throughout the Cartesian corpus and offers a persuasive holistic interpretation of a centrally important idea.... [A]n extremely useful and thoughtful book. It should become required reading for anyone seriously interested in these matters.
— The Review of Politics
Richard Hassing's much-awaited book is an important study of Descartes's account of human psychophysical unity and its rejection of Aristotelian hylomorphism, i.e., the soul as general and holistic biological principle. Demonstrating impressively that the Passions of the Soul is both a scientific account of the emotions and a prescientific or phenomenological inquiry into "the whole nature of man," Hassing contests common conceptions of Cartesian substance dualism. Moreover, he reveals that Descartes's philosophic goal is to develop a therapeutic "highest and most perfect moral science" of the passions, employing esteem to ameliorate the disorders of a world wracked by religious conflict. This is a deeper account of Descartes's project than one has possessed hitherto, one that treats a strikingly timely set of questions.
— Richard Velkley, Celia Scott Weatherhead Professor of Philosophy, Tulane University
Richard Hassing presents in this volume the rich, sweeping, sometimes unprecedented harvest of his decades-long study of Descartes. He shows how Descartes derives from an all-too-familiar metaphysics and physics a sophisticated, all-too-unfamiliar conception of 'the whole nature of man' and 'the highest and most perfect moral philosophy.' Descartes himself experienced as a 14-year-old boy the funeral of Henri IV, assassinated at the hands of a religious fanatic, and Hassing shows here how Descartes’s mature conception of generosity rests on an individualism that vaccinates against extremism. He suggests that we today, our souls scarred by the likes of 9/11, may well return with new awareness to Descartes’s diagnosis of—and therapy against—'the greatest crimes man can commit.'
— Stephen Voss, Bogazici University