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Montaigne's Radical Skepticism

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Chapter Summary

In his criticism of the vanity of human knowledge (incapable of finding the truth it covets), Michel de Montaigne offers a presentation of skeptical philosophy through its principal concepts: epokhé or suspension of judgment, ataraxía or tranquility, antinomic argument, skeptical expressions, and the practical criterion that allows the philosopher to get on with his life, the phainómenon. Montaigne recognizes in Pyrrhonian skepticism an example of a radical doubting philosophy "an endless confession of ignorance, or a power of judgment that never inclines to one side or to the other" and the importance of controversies around the question of how a Pyrrhonian could live his philosophy.

Keywords: Michel de Montaigne; Pyrrhonian diagnosis; radical skepticism; skeptical philosophy



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