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Montaigne's science of oneself: pleasure and scepticism in On some verses of Virgil

Grant number: 22/05497-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2022
Effective date (End): January 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Philosophy - History of Philosophy
Principal Investigator:Plinio Junqueira Smith
Grantee:Plinio Junqueira Smith
Host Investigator: Thierry Gontier
Host Institution: Escola de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (EFLCH). Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP). Campus Guarulhos. Guarulhos , SP, Brazil
Research place: Université Jean Moulin Lyon III, France  


This project focus on one of the longest chapters of book III of Montaigne' Essays: "On some of Virgil' verses" (III, 5). It intends not only (1) to describe its place in book III, but also (2) analyst its argumentation in detail. (1) This chapter plays a crucial role in book III, because it provides what Montaigne calls "my philosophy", and it must be read together with "Of experience"(III, 13), where he presents his "science of oneself" The hypothesis to be examined is that Montaigne's philosophy turns around a fundamental rule: to dare to say all that he dares to do. This rule concerns his project of painting a portrait of himself and it seems to lead to a virtuous and pleasurable life. (2) Since nature and society forbid to speak about love or, when we do, we do not speak well, Montaigne treats love as his first, and perhaps most difficult, exemple of application of this rule. Thus, this project aims at explaining what Montaigne understands by "my philosophy" and, next, how its fundamental rule contributes to a happy life, examining its benefits for his relationship with women, both in his marriage and outside it. It also aims at showing that his philosophy is sceptical (not Epicurist): it is a criticism of dogmas and has a practical aspect. This project is in continuity with my current researches, carried out in the context of a project between Jean Moulin University (Lyon 3) and FAPESP (UNIFESP USP UFABC). (AU)

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