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Title [sv]
Descartes vid skiljevägen. Cartesianska perspektiv på estetik
Title [en]
Descartes at the Crossroads. Cartesian Perspectives on Aesthetics
Abstract [en]
The hypothesis of this project is that René Descartes (1596-1650) explores an aesthetic form of knowledge, without certainty, in his writings on the sensory experience of sleep and dreams as well as in his reflections on emotions, and the encounter with and work on aesthetic artifacts and performances. Thereby the project aims to contribute to the ongoing re-evaluation of Descartes. Today,he is seen not only as a philosopher of consciousness. He is also exploring issues of taste and judgement, as well as the epistemological status of imagination, dreams and aesthetic objects, Descartes contributed to what was to become field of aesthetics a century after his death. The project proposes to contribute to a deeper understanding of Descartes through exploring lesser known aspects of his work. The material studied consists, primarily, of Descartes philosophical texts and letters. However, his drawings, music and (possible) ballet will also be considered, as well as early textual documents, fragments and notes. For this reason, relevant archives will be consulted. The interest shown in Descartes engagement in the senes, and actual practice, of the arts, is fairly recent. Therefore, th field in the arts has not been fully researched. Moreover, with the re-discovery and edition of Descartes’ early textual notes known today as `Olympiques´ (Hallyn, 1995), more attention must be paid to Descartes’ interest in sleep and dreams as part of the search for a new path and method. Here, as Jean-Luc Marion argues, he heads towards the “awakening” of the modern philosopher. What still remains to examine, however, is to explore the relation between Descartes reflections on sleep, dreams and imagination, together with his reflections on the passions and aesthetic objects and performances. The project will consider these aspects as two facets of Descartes inquiries into a form of knowledge that cannot reach certainty. It relies on the assumption that Descartes epistemological method of self-inquiry is of relevance not only for the philosophy of mind, but also for the aesthetic subject of the senses.This project involves two scholars, a professor of philosophy and a professor of aesthetics, who will work closely together and exchange discoveries in the archive as well as textual evidence. Cecilia Sjöholm, in The Art of Cartesian Passions, will focus on Descartes´ multifaceted work on affects and emotions. She proposes that it contributes to an aesthetic form of knowledge through exploring the way affect may contribute to corporal memory as well as imagination, Moreover, affects contribute to the way the subject experiences him/herself, and develop over time. Marcia Cavalcante, in Descartes on Sleep, Dream and Imagination will explore the cognitive status of things that appear as if they were between determinate states. She proposes that Descartes explores a form of aesthetic knowledge when he describes things as if they can be seized between reason and passion.These phenomena can be found both in Descartes’ early writings and in major works. The scholars, who have no researchtime allocated to their position, propose a three-year project with employment halftime. The expected outcome is individual articles, as well as an antologi with international schalars. Throughout, international schalars will be inviter to Stockholm to lectures, and a symposium on Descartes and the arts will be organized. It is expected that the project will contribute to the body of knowledge on Descartes, and image of him, internationally and in Sweden.
Publications (2 of 2) Show all publications
Sjöholm, C. (2022). Figures of Snow: Preconceptual Dimensions of Descartes’s Meteorology. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy, 26(2), 325-345
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Figures of Snow: Preconceptual Dimensions of Descartes’s Meteorology
2022 (English)In: Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy, ISSN 1085-1968, E-ISSN 2153-8603, Vol. 26, no 2, p. 325-345Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Philosophy Documentation Center, 2022
National Category
Philosophy Arts
Research subject
Critical and Cultural Theory
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-50555 (URN)10.5840/epoche202224206 (DOI)2-s2.0-85152746337 (Scopus ID)
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2015-01209
Available from: 2023-01-08 Created: 2023-01-08 Last updated: 2023-05-08Bibliographically approved
Sjöholm, C. (2021). The Thinking Fetus: Descartes at the Brink of Psychoanalysis. Emotions: History, Culture, Society, 5(2), 234-258
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Thinking Fetus: Descartes at the Brink of Psychoanalysis
2021 (English)In: Emotions: History, Culture, Society, ISSN 2206-7485, E-ISSN 2208-522X, Vol. 5, no 2, p. 234-258Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Descartes’s philosophy of the passions is central for an understanding of seventeenth-century ideas of affects and emotions and for the history of emotions overall. But does it have bearing today? In this article, I argue that Descartes raises the question of how the infantile relation to the maternal body influences the emotional life of the adult, a question that is still relevant for psychoanalysis and neuropsychology. In the philosophical scholarship on Descartes, the passages which pertain to the infant, or the fetus, and its alleged ‘confused thought’, are often quoted to demonstrate the challenges to dualism that are inherent in his own writings. However, I argue that these discussions point also to the complexity of the development of affects and emotions. In my reading, I show that Descartes’s ideas of the passions can be seen as precursory to psychoanalytic theories of object relations. This opens the way for a new trajectory of research involving fantasy, instincts and repression in the Cartesian analysis of emotions and affects.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Brill Academic Publishers, 2021
Keywords
Descartes, infantile life, object relations theory, affects, repression
National Category
Philosophy
Research subject
Critical and Cultural Theory
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-47980 (URN)10.1163/2208522X-02010129 (DOI)000737058000004 ()2-s2.0-85122833450 (Scopus ID)
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2015-01209
Available from: 2022-01-07 Created: 2022-01-07 Last updated: 2022-07-20Bibliographically approved
Principal InvestigatorSjöholm, Cecilia
Co-InvestigatorSchuback, Marcia Sá Cavalcante
Coordinating organisation
Södertörn University
Funder
Period
2016-01-01 - 2018-12-31
National Category
Other Humanities not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
DiVA, id: project:1733Project, id: 2015-01209_VR

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