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Home Oliva Sabuco and the Matter of the Matter


Steven BARBONE *

Abstract. This exploratory study investigates the work of Oliva Sabuco de Nantes Barrera (1562–1626?). Sabuco’s major work, New Philosophy of Human Nature neither Known to nor Attained by the Great Ancient Philosophers, which Will Improve Human Life and Health (1587), in many ways foresees the Cartesian system but avoids some of its problems even though or perhaps because her philosophical system rests heavily on the foundations of hylomorphism. The mind/soul is separate from the body, but the two function as a holistic unit. Mind and body affect and are affected by each other within or through the pia mater. This study’s aim is to summarize Sabuco’s thought and to indicate how her work may be able to address or to lend support to contemporary philosophical concerns.

Keywords: Sabuco, chilo, hylomorphism, individuation, mind-body problem

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