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The concept of habit in Descartes' The Passions of the Soul

Grant number: 20/03010-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2021
Effective date (End): May 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Philosophy - History of Philosophy
Principal researcher:Homero Silveira Santiago
Grantee:Abel dos Santos Beserra
Home Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


The Cartesian dualism has been criticized since its formulation and, according to Merleau-Ponty, it may seem contradictory without an idea of the positive infinite that operated in the great rationalism of the 17th century. In this perspective, Cartesian dualism is designed as: or a flagrant antinomy; or dependent on the concept of positive infinity. It is therefore necessary to question whether Descartes has already established suggestions capable of resolving certain impasses of his system. In this sense, The Passions of the Soul emerges as central, as it presents how the body, something determined, joins the soul, which is free, without this annulling each other. Descartes, thus, details the terms of his dualism when developing the idea of union of soul and body, that is, the human condition of being a soul united to a body. In turn, deepen the concept of union requires proper consideration of the concept of habit, as this allows the soul to reorganize its passions, direct the body and act virtuously. Thus, this project considers Merleau-Ponty's indications about Cartesian dualism and uses the concept of habit in the The Passions of the Soul to investigate whether Descartes points out possible solutions, or innovations, for the issues engendered by the dualism of his philosophy. (AU)

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