GE Cluster 21A: History of Modern Thought - Lecture 4 Notes

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General Education Clusters
Peter Stacey

Michel de Montaigne on Knowledge, Happiness, and Diversity Skepticism, Diversity, Humanism and the Enlightenment • Life of Montaigne Took notes throughout his time in Italy Nouveau riche family Retired to his library at 37 (from being a courtier) Published first edition 1580, many other editions published later Elected as mayor at some point Outwardly he was a Catholic At the time there was a lot of conflict between Catholics and Protestants Religiously moderate/tolerant • Montaigne's Humanism France meddled in Italy's affair Montaigne's father was sent there (in service) and exposed to humanism Montaigne was a native speaker of Latin (because of humanist tutor, rare) He later learned Greek and French Essayer in French - means to try/attempt "I am myself the matter of my book." What is an author? First memoir of its kind (no one wrote about their inner selves) No real order to book, represented natural reflection of mind • Difference, Diversity & Interiority World in which he grew up was diverse (lots of cultures colliding) Diversity also inspired by the readings that he did One of the most knowledgable of greek and latin writings Was around right as the new world was being discovered Before: they were culturally isolated After: circulation of people, ideas, and experiences • Doubt & Skepticism Although he was the more learned person of his day, at the end he wasn't sure he really knew anything "Que sais-je?" "What do I know?" -APOLOGY for Raymond Sebond Identified this as a certain endpoint At the root of all his learnings is the root of skepticism Helps to replace Renaissance with Enlightenment • From the Renaissance to the Enlightenment Discussion on Montaigne's Essays • "Of Cannibals" Mostly about the New World, from someones recount of their experiences First recognition that everyone see things from different points of view "Each man calls barbarism whatever is not his own practice" Interaction goes both ways An essay a
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