those principles and knowledge his own rather than someone elses. In this way, many aspects of Montaigne's thinking can be considered as sceptical, although they were not used for the sake of scepticism. Through them, he learned repeatedly that rational appearances are deceptive. The paradigm of fideism, a word which Montaigne does not use, has been delivered by Richard Popkin in History of Scepticism. The work is so rich and flexible that it accommodates virtually any academic trend.
Montaigne demands a thought process that would not be tied down by any doctrinaire principle, a thought process that would lead to free enquiry. The comparative method can also be applied to the freeing of judgment: although lacking a universal standard, we can nevertheless stand back from particular customs, by the mere fact of comparing them.
Montaigne believes that the society is able to stay together.
Montaigne s philosophy can be clearly seen in The Essays.
Life is a process of self-discovery.
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In education, he favored concrete examples and experience over the teaching of abstract knowledge that is expected to be accepted uncritically. The use of judgment in every citing references in essay circumstance, as a warrant for practical intelligence and personal freedom, has to remain at the core of education. 18 Practised with restraint, it proves useful, whereas in excess it leads to eccentricity and insociability. 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. Metaphysical or psychological opinions, indeed far too numerous, come as a burden more than as a help. The original failure of commentators was perhaps in labelling Montaigne's thought as sceptic without reflecting on the proper meaning of the essay. Exercise of thought is the first counterweight we can make use of, for example when criticizing an existing law.