Nov 30, 2015

Monday Morning Quote - Montaigne and Shakespeare's Philosophy

Monday Morning Quote - Montaigne and Shakespeare's Philosophy
Truth for us nowadays is not what is, but what others can be brought to accept.

This aphorism comes from the famous Montaigne, a significant figure in the philosophy of the French Renaissance in the 1500s. This statement is a criticism of the economical view of truth that we still see in advertising, politics, and really anywhere there is an incentive to spin the truth in one's favour.

This man invented the concept of the essay, so I guess I have him to thank for my lack of a nightlife. He's also an important figure to understand if you want to investigate the philosophical backbone of the works of Shakespeare. Many of the concepts Shakespeare worked on have their origins in Montaigne, a figure scholars typically agree Shakespeare read.

For a more enlightened reading on that connection I would recommend Colin McGinn's 2006 book Shakespeare's Philosophy. An important element is Montaigne's unwillingness to accept a teleological view of causation - which then allows bad things to happen to good people and visa-versa.

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