While not one of my normal abnormal interests, I found this report in The Chronicle of Higher Education abnormally interesting.
A long-lost letter by René Descartes has come to light at Haverford College, where it had lain buried in the archives for more than a century, and the discovery could revolutionize our view of one of the 17th-century French philosopher’s major works.
. . .
The president of the Pennsylvania college, Stephen G. Emerson, said this week that when he found out the letter had been stolen—from Paris’s Institut de France about 170 years ago—he knew it must be returned. So in June, Mr. Emerson will fly to France with the letter in his carry-on bag, and give it back.
Actually, Haverford has known of the letter for some time; they just didn’t know it was from Descartes (or stolen).
The letter is particularly important in understanding the prepublication history of Descartes’ flawed but seminal Meditations on First Philosophy.
It’s good that Haverford is returning the letter to the Institut de France; its good that the Institut de France for giving Haverford a reward. It’s good for the rest of us that this important letter will soon be published.
Via Leiter Reports: A Philosophy Blog