Search results for: montaignes-discovery-of-man

The Politics of Skepticism in the Ancients Montaigne Hume and Kant

Author : John Christian Laursen
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This book brings out the profound influence of the tradition of philosophical skepticism on political thought. Beginning with the political implications of the ideas of the ancient skeptics, it moves ahead to the role of skepticism in the political thought of three early modern founders of liberalism as we know it today, Montaigne, Hume, and Kant.

Montaigne s Discovery of Man

Author : Donald Murdoch Frame
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The School of Montaigne in Early Modern Europe

Author : Warren Boutcher
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This major two-volume study offers an interdisciplinary analysis of Montaigne's Essais and their fortunes in early modern Europe and the modern western university. Volume One focuses on contexts from within Montaigne's own milieu and on the ways in which his book made him a patron-author or instant classic in the eyes of his editor Marie de Gournay and his promoter Justus Lipsius. Volume Two focuses on the reader/writers across Europe who used the Essais to make their own works, from corrected editions and translations in print, to life-writing and personal records in manuscript. The two volumes work together to offer a new picture of the book's significance in literary and intellectual history. Montaigne's is now usually understood to be the school of late humanism or of Pyrrhonian scepticism. This study argues that the school of Montaigne potentially included everyone in early modern Europe with occasion and means to read and write for themselves and for their friends and family, unconstrained by an official function or scholastic institution. For the Essais were shaped by a battle that had intensified since the Reformation and that would continue through to the pre-Enlightenment period. It was a battle to regulate the educated individual's judgement in reading and acting upon the two books bequeathed by God to man. The book of scriptures and the book of nature were becoming more accessible through print and manuscript cultures. But at the same time that access was being mediated more intensively by teachers such as clerics and humanists, by censors and institutions, by learned authors of past and present, and by commentaries and glosses upon those authors. Montaigne enfranchised the unofficial reader-writer with liberties of judgement offered and taken in the specific historical conditions of his era. The study draws on new ways of approaching literary history through the history of the book and of reading. The Essais are treated as a mobile, transnational work that travelled from Bordeaux to Paris and beyond to markets in other countries from England and Switzerland, to Italy and the Low Countries. Close analysis of editions, paratexts, translations, and annotated copies is informed by a distinct concept of the social context of a text. The concept is derived from anthropologist Alfred Gell's notion of the "art nexus": the specific types of actions and agency relations mediated by works of art understood as "indexes" that give rise to inferences of particular kinds. Throughout the two volumes the focus is on the particular nexus in which a copy, an edition, an extract, is embedded, and on the way that nexus might be described by early modern people.

Michel de Montaigne

Author : Ann Hartle
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Michel de Montaigne, the inventor of the essay, has always been acknowledged as a great literary figure but has never been thought of as a philosophical original. This book treats Montaigne as a serious thinker in his own right, taking as its point of departure Montaigne's description of himself as 'an unpremeditated and accidental philosopher'. Whereas previous commentators have treated Montaigne's Essays as embodying a scepticism harking back to classical sources, Ann Hartle offers an account that reveals Montaigne's thought to be dialectical, transforming sceptical doubt into wonder at the most familiar aspects of life. This major reassessment of a much admired but also much underestimated thinker will interest a wide range of historians of philosophy as well as scholars in comparative literature, French studies and the history of ideas.

The Concept of Judgment in Montaigne

Author : Raymond C. La Charité
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Many critics seem to consider it inappropriate or unnecessary to ask what Montaigne means by the faculty of judgment. Laumonier speaks of "Ie bon sens, qu'il oppose si souvent a la memoire et qu'il appelle encore 'jugement' et 'entendement', c'est-a-dire la faculte de penser et de reflechir juste." 1 Our appreciation of what is implied by judgment, that is by Montaigne's notion of judgment, has been delayed perhaps by a too facile acceptance of a so-called synonymity of meaning among the psychological terms used by Montaigne. In a discussion of key concepts in Montaigne, Donald M. Frame has accurately summarized the present situation with regard to our knowledge of Montaigne's notion of judgment and other key concepts: "We all have our hunches, but we need more than that." 2 For the expression of his interest and concern for the intellectual and moral activities and capabilities of the mind, Montaigne draws upon a broad and elementary semantic field. These primary psychological terms are jugement, entendement, sens, raison, discours, and conscience. Al though these words may be used synonymously, Montaigne does seem to maintain certain basic distinctions among them; frequent substi tutions of terms must be the result of semantic and ideational differ ences. Moreover, the association of several psychological words within a single sentence implies gradations, however slight they may be.

Are You Alone Wise

Author : Susan Schreiner
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The topic of certitude is much debated today. On one side, commentators such as Charles Krauthammer urge us to achieve "moral clarity." On the other, those like George Will contend that the greatest present threat to civilization is an excess of certitude. To address this uncomfortable debate, Susan Schreiner turns to the intellectuals of early modern Europe, a period when thought was still fluid and had not yet been reified into the form of rationality demanded by the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Schreiner argues that Europe in the sixteenth century was preoccupied with concerns similar to ours; both the desire for certainty -- especially religious certainty -- and warnings against certainty permeated the earlier era. Digging beneath overt theological and philosophical problems, she tackles the underlying fears of the period as she addresses questions of salvation, authority, the rise of skepticism, the outbreak of religious violence, the discernment of spirits, and the ambiguous relationship between appearance and reality. In her examination of the history of theological polemics and debates (as well as other genres), Schreiner sheds light on the repeated evaluation of certainty and the recurring fear of deception. Among the texts she draws on are Montaigne's Essays, the mystical writings of Teresa of Avila, the works of Reformation fathers William of Occam, Luther, Thomas Muntzer, and Thomas More; and the dramas of Shakespeare. The result is not a book about theology, but rather about the way in which the concern with certitude determined the theology, polemics and literature of an age.

Montaigne and the Art of Free thinking

Author : Richard Scholar
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We know a great deal of what Michel de Montaigne (1533-92), Shakespeare's near-contemporary and fellow literary mastermind, thinks. We know, because he tells us on page after page of his Essais, which have marked literature and thought since the European Renaissance and remain to this day compelling reading. It might seem surprising, with this wealth of evidence at hand, that Montaigne could prove so elusive in his thinking. Yet elusive he proves, as volatile as he is voluble. What, we are left wondering, does all that thinking amount to? How is it to be understood? And what value might it have for us? Montaigne has too often seen his thinking reduced to the expression of an '-ism'. Richard Scholar investigates the nature - and detail - of Montaigne's evolving attempts to seek out that elusive thing called truth. Examining at close quarters passages from across the Essais, Scholar provides twenty-first-century readers with a companion guide to a text that is rooted in the time and place of its composition and yet continues to speak to the present, to haunt its readers, to ask them the questions that matter.

Montaigne and Bayle

Author : Craig B. Brush
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It is traditional in the literature on Pierre Bayle to make some refer ene e to iVlontaigne as one of the masters of skepticism in whose tracks he follows, albeit hardly so eloselyas Charron had. Time and again critics feel the need to mention Montaigne and Bayle in the same context, sometimes to contrast their brands of Pyrrhonism, more often to explain similarities in their ideas and methods, which have frequent ly been regarded as important steps in the gradual evolution of un Christian, even anti-Christian, thought. Their names were already associated during Bayle's life, for example, in the mediocre work by Dom Alexis Gaudin, La Distinction et la Nature du Bien et du MaI, Traite ou l'on combat l'erreur des Manicheens, les sentimens de Jvfontaigne & de Charron, & ceux de J. Vfonsieur Bayle. In the nineteen th century, the author of the Dictionnaire historique et critique wa~ generally elassified as a skeptic; and his name was inevi tably linked with the essayist's. In his Port-Royal, Sainte-Beuve pictured Bayle as one of the avowed skeptics in Montaigne's funeral cortege and spoke of both men as "d'autant pIus fourbes qu'ils ne le sont pas toujours." His later works show that he revised his opinion on each somewhat, l but in this he was unusual for his century.

The Oxford Handbook of Montaigne

Author : Philippe Desan
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In 1580, Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) published a book unique by its title and its content: Essays"R. A literary genre was born. At first sight, the Essays resemble a patchwork of personal reflections, but they engage with questions that animate the human mind, and tend toward a single goal: to live better in the present and to prepare for death. For this reason, Montaigne's thought and writings have been a subject of enduring interest across disciplines. This Handbook brings together essays by prominent scholars that examine Montaigne's literary, philosophical, and political contributions, and assess his legacy and relevance today in a global perspective. The chapters of this Handbook offer a sweeping study of Montaigne across different disciplines and in a global perspective. One section covers the historical Montaigne, situating his thought in his own time and space, notably the Wars of Religion in France. The political, historical and religious context of Montaigne's Essays requires a rigorous presentation to inform the modern reader of the issues and problems that confronted Montaigne and his contemporaries in his own time. In addition to this contextual approach to Montaigne, the Handbook also establishes a connection between Montaigne's writings and issues and problems directly relevant to our modern times, that is to say, our age of global ideology. Montaigne's considerations, or essays, offer a point of departure for the modern reader's own assessments. The Essays analyze what can be broadly defined as human nature, the endless process by which the individual tries to impose opinions upon others through the production of laws, policies or philosophies. Montaigne's motto -- "What do I know?" -- is a simple question yet one of perennial significance. One could argue that reading Montaigne today teaches us that the angle defines the world we see, or, as Montaigne wrote: "What matters is not merely that we see the thing, but how we see it."

Liberating Judgment

Author : Douglas John Casson
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Examining the social and political upheavals that characterized the collapse of public judgment in early modern Europe, Liberating Judgment offers a unique account of the achievement of liberal democracy and self-government. The book argues that the work of John Locke instills a civic judgment that avoids the excesses of corrosive skepticism and dogmatic fanaticism, which lead to either political acquiescence or irresolvable conflict. Locke changes the way political power is assessed by replacing deteriorating vocabularies of legitimacy with a new language of justification informed by a conception of probability. For Locke, the coherence and viability of liberal self-government rests not on unassailable principles or institutions, but on the capacity of citizens to embrace probable judgment. The book explores the breakdown of the medieval understanding of knowledge and opinion, and considers how Montaigne's skepticism and Descartes' rationalism--interconnected responses to the crisis--involved a pragmatic submission to absolute rule. Locke endorses this response early on, but moves away from it when he encounters a notion of reasonableness based on probable judgment. In his mature writings, Locke instructs his readers to govern their faculties and intellectual yearnings in accordance with this new standard as well as a vocabulary of justification that might cultivate a self-government of free and equal individuals. The success of Locke's arguments depends upon citizens' willingness to take up the labor of judgment in situations where absolute certainty cannot be achieved.