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Montaigne and the Tolerance of Politics$
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Douglas I. Thompson

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190679934

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190679934.001.0001

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The Pleasure of Diversity

The Pleasure of Diversity

(p.44) 2 The Pleasure of Diversity
Montaigne and the Tolerance of Politics

Douglas I. Thompson

Oxford University Press

This chapter investigates Montaigne’s fascination with the irreducible diversity of human beliefs, opinions, and forms of life. Montaigne uses his literary self-portrait to model a new attitude toward this diversity. Instead of fearing or fighting it, Montaigne portrays himself as experiencing pleasure in direct contact and dialogue with a diverse range of people, especially members of other religions and cultures. He expresses this pleasure both directly, by telling us about his own joy in these encounters, and indirectly, with comical, carnivalesque forms of prose. The chapter then compares this theme of the Essais with Judith Shklar’s use of Montaigne as a model for her conception of a “liberalism of fear.”

Keywords:   Michel de Montaigne, Judith Shklar, liberalism of fear, affect, diversity, modus vivendi

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