A fundamental assumption of the Renaissance movement was that the remains of classical antiquity constituted an invaluable source of excellence to which debased and decadent modern times could turn in order to repair the damage brought about since the fall of the Roman Empire. It was often assumed that God had given a single unified truth to humanity and that the works of ancient philosophers had preserved part of this original deposit of divine wisdom.
Book 2, Chapter Man is the most sensitive and frail of all creatures, and the most given to pride. He sets himself above the Moon, brings the very heavens under his feet. He equals himself to God and sets himself apart from all other creatures.
Although they are his fellows and brothers, he imagines them having limited force and faculty. How can he presume to know the hidden, inner life of other creatures?
What leads him to conclude that they have the attributes of senseless brutes?
When I play with my cat, how do I know that she is not passing time with me rather than I with her? We entertain ourselves with mutual monkey-tricks. There are times when I initiate and she refuses, and vice versa.
Why do we assume it is a defect in the animals and not in us that we cannot communicate with them? We do not understand them any more than they understand us. They may think of us as brute beasts for the same reasons as we think of them to be so. We have a vague understanding of what animals mean: They fawn on us, threaten us and entreat us — as we do them.
Between themselves, they can converse perfectly. They understand each other, not just within one species but across different species. A horse knows when there is anger in a certain bark of a dog, and with other barks, it does not react the same way.
Their very movements serve as arguments and ideas. What aspects of our human competence cannot be found in animals? Is there any system more organized and efficient in the allocation of tasks or maintained with greater constancy than that of the bees?
How can we imagine that something so striking in its orderliness is conducted without reasoned discourse and foresight?
Take the swallows; when spring comes they ferret through all the corners of the house and find the best place to build their nests.
Is that done without judgment or discernment? Then, the nest itself is so beautifully and wondrously woven together. Do they bring water and then clay without realizing that hardness can be softened with damp?
When they cover the floors of their palaces with moss or down, do they not foresee that the tender limbs of their little ones will lie more softly and be more comfortable?
And why does the spider make her web denser in one place and slacker in another, using this knot here and that knot there, if she cannot reflect, think or reach conclusions? We should realize how superior they are to us in most of their works and how weak our artistic skills are when it comes to imitating them.
Our works are coarser, and yet we are aware of the faculties we use to construct them: Why do we not consider that the same applies to animals? Why do we have to imagine they have some slavish natural inclination just because their work surpasses all that we can do by nature or by art?
Now, some people complain that Nature has clad all other creatures in shells, pods, husks, hairs, wool, spikes, hide, down, feathers, scales, fleece, or silk according to their necessities.
She has also armed them with claws, teeth and horns for attack and defense, and taught them to swim, run, fly, or sing.Montaigne Essays Simplified - essays in days (Almost) everyday, I intend to take one of Montaigne's essays, and summarise it here as clearly, concisely, and comprehensively as possible.
Everything in each essay is taken directly from Montaigne's work.
Montaigne's essay "On the Education of Children" is dedicated to Diana of Foix. English journalist and politician J. M. Robertson argued that Montaigne's essays had a profound influence on the plays of William Shakespeare, citing their similarities in language, themes and structures.
In defense of Raymond Sebond. by Michel de Montaigne starting at $ In defense of Raymond Sebond. has 1 available editions to buy at Alibris Save 10% through Sunday.
In Defense of Raymond Sebond. Chapter II, Section 3, Man's superiority over the animals a delusion based on pride.] If you know cats, you likely understand Montaigne's suspicion. Montaigne in his Apology for Raymond Sebond begins his exploration into the human capacity for knowledge with this belief that only though God can one achieve true knowledge.
God is the only infinite, all seeing, being with divine wisdom. Essays in defense of raymond sebond The Renaissance, that is, the period that extends roughly from the middle of the fourteenth century to the beginning of the seventeen century, was a time of intense, all-encompassing, and, in many ways, distinctive philosophical activity.