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Montaigne essays pdf english


montaigne essays pdf english

only known by God, he asserts in other chapters that these standards are somehow accessible to man, since they allow judgment to consider customs as particular and contingent rules. We have no communication with being. But no one accentuated this necessity more than Montaigne: what he was looking for, when reading historians or travellers such as Lopez de Gomara's History of Indies, was the utmost variety of beliefs and customs that would enrich his image of man. He practised philosophy by setting his judgment to trial, in order to become aware of its weaknesses, but also to get to know its strength. How to preserve our inborn clear-mindedness in front of all the threats and dangers of fanaticism, how to preserve the humanity of our hearts among the upsurge of bestiality? And also : It is good to know something of different people, in order to judge our own with more sanity, and not to think that everything that is against our customs and habits is ridiculous and against reason, as usually do those who have. He owes his cosmological freedom to his deep interest in ancient philosophers, to Lucretius in particular. He comes out in favor of the former, without ranking his own evaluation as a truth. It is thus not correct to interpret Montaigne's philosophy as a criticism of prejudice from a Cartesian stance. On the contrary, it offers the reader a sort of jubilation which relies on the modest but effective pleasure in dismissing knowledge, thus making room for the exercise of one's natural faculties.

Montaigne s Essays - SMI: Liberty, Property Peace Essays of Michel de, montaigne Translated by Charles Cotton

Montaigne essays pdf english
montaigne essays pdf english

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31 The Apologie de Raimond Sebond, the longest chapter of the Essays, bears the sign of intellectual despair that Montaigne manages to shake off elsewhere. In a more tragical way, he denounces the fanaticism and the cruelty displayed by Christians against one another, during the civil wars in France, through a comparison with cannibalism: I think there is more barbarity in eating a man alive than in eating him dead. Commentators now agree upon the fact that Montaigne largely transformed the type of scepticism he borrowed from Sextus. The power of custom, indeed, not only guides man in his behavior, but also persuades him of its legitimacy. The use of judgment in every circumstance, as a warrant for practical intelligence and personal freedom, has to remain at the core of education. As the young Descartes left the Collège de La Flèche, he decided to travel, and to test his own value in action. The work is so rich and flexible that it accommodates virtually any academic trend. In the same way that Circe's potion has changed men into pigs, custom turns their intelligence into stupidity.

Montaigne essays pdf english
montaigne essays pdf english

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