Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Distinguo: Reading Montaigne Differently$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Steven Rendall

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780198151807

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198151807.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 01 December 2020



(p.15) 2 Distinguo
Distinguo: Reading Montaigne Differently

Steven Rendall

Oxford University Press

The question posed at the beginning of this opening chapter of the Essais is what one should do when at the mercy of an adversary who seeks vengeance. Should one proudly stand one's ground or fall on one's knees and beg for clemency? The second book of the Essais seems to begin with the same problem as the first — the inconstancy of human conduct. Meanwhile, the term distinguo derives from the language of medieval dialectics, where it refers to the act of drawing a distinction, and eventually came to designate the distinction itself. Montaigne returns to the theme of difference throughout the Essais, notably at the beginning of ‘De l'experience’, where he remarks that since experience is no less diverse than reason, it is equally incapable of producing reliable generalizations.

Keywords:   clemency, distinguo, De l'experience, constancy, human conduct

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .