Michel de Montaigne

Michel de Montaigne
Birth 1533
Death 1592

French philosopher, writer and politician. Like the Greeks before him, he didn’t see philosophy as an elite discipline, but rather as a means to understand what’s important: friendship, love, family, child-rearing and death. He thought life was about finding happiness and he prioritised healthy egoism and self-development above moral ideas and religious ‘salvation’; this became the subject of his book Of Experience. He wasn’t a fan of revolution; wanting to change the status quo, with its inevitable defects, was like wanting to cure an illness by death. Voltaire said that Montaigne will always be looked upon fondly and Nietzsche was convinced that his writings had made the world a happier place.

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