Montaigne’s Essays: A Humanistic Approach to Fear

Chapter

Abstract

Montaigne’s Essays is of major importance for the philosophy of fear. In this work, Montaigne provides narratives of a variety of fears, and in doing so describes a full palette of fear-related emotions, from individual doubts and avoidance, to terror and generalised panic. Montaigne’s analysis and treatment of fear is unique because he is among the first philosophers to openly discuss his own fears and the variety of philosophical therapies he used to subdue them. After employing Stoic and Epicurean remedies, Montaigne found the most useful philosophical therapy in the sceptical Pyrrhonian tradition. Thus, the Essays express an open-minded, particularistic and anti-dogmatic approach to life. Montaigne’s motto ‘What do I know?’ reflects his non-partisan approach and receptiveness to improving his emotional well-being, as well as increasing his knowledge and joy of life by accepting life events as these unfold.

References

  1. Bakewell, S. (2010). How to live—Or a life of Montaigne in one question and twenty attempts at an answer. Great Britain: Chatto & Windus.Google Scholar
  2. Barsky, A. J. (1988). Worried sick: Our troubled quest for wellness. Boston: Little, Brown and Co.Google Scholar
  3. Beckwith, C. I. (2015). Greek Buddha: Pyrrho’s encounter with early Buddhism in Central Asia. Princeton: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bermúdez Vázquez, M. (2015). The skepticism of Michel de Montaigne (Vol. 216). Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brockliss, L., & Jones, C. (1977). The medical world of early modern France. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  6. Calhoun, A. (2015). Montaigne and the lives of the philosophers: Life writing and transversality in the Essais. Newark: University of Delaware Press.Google Scholar
  7. Foucault, M. (1986). The care of the self (H. Hurley, Trans., Vol. 3). New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  8. Frame, D. M. (1955). Montaigne’s discovery of man: The humaization of a humanist. New York: Columbia Unversity Press.Google Scholar
  9. Frame, D. M. (1984). Montaigne: A biography. San Francisco: North Point Press.Google Scholar
  10. Friedrich, H. (1991). Montaigne (D. Eng, Trans., P. Desan, Ed.). Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  11. Hartle, A. (2013). Montaigne and the origins of modern philosophy. Evanston: Northwestern University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Justman, S. (2015). Montaigne on medicine: Insights of a 16th-century skeptic. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 58(4), 493–506.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Lazar, D., & Madden, P. (2015). After Montaigne (D. Lazar & P. Madden Eds.). Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press.Google Scholar
  14. Montaigne, M. (1965). The complete essays of Montaigne (D. M. Frame, Trans.). Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Montaigne, M. (2003). The complete essays (M. A. Screech, Trans.). London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  16. Robert, J. (2015). Pa/enser bien le corps: Cognitive and curative language in Montaigne’s essais. Journal of Medical Humanities, 36, 241–250.Google Scholar
  17. Roberts, H. (2009). Medicine and nonsense in French Renaissance moch prescriptions. The Sixteenth Century Journal, 40(3), 721–744.Google Scholar
  18. Scholar, R. (2010). Montaigne and the art of free-thinking. Oxford: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  19. Starr, R. (2012). Should we be writing essays instead of articles? A psychotherpist’s reflection on Montaigne’s marvelous invention. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 52(4), 423–450.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Wittgenstein, L. (2001). Philosophical investigations (G. E. M. Anscombe, Trans.). Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Western AustraliaFremantleAustralia

Personalised recommendations