Questions and Answers

Essays by Michel De Montaigne (Part 2)


  1. Why is Montaigne so interested in the law in the early parts of "On Experience"? How does his discussion of law fit into the broader themes of the chapter?
  2. Look, on p.370, at the passage beginning "tartness and pungency were agreeable to me in sauces when I was young..." A historian-philosopher friend of mine commented to me on the weekend: "It's an important Essay. I was just trying to explain to my student the other day why Montaigne's expression of his tastes in sauces is important for understanding the emergence of modern philosophy." What might my friend have had in mind?

My Response:

2. This passage shows how the mind can change due to experience. For Montaigne, it is first a physical reaction (it upsetting his stomach), but then transforms into a mental reaction ("his palate immediately following suit" (p.370)). How we think and perceive the world is first grounded in our physical sensations (i.e. what makes us feel good/bad) and what we perceive as causing those feelings. Modern philosophy may have emerged as a way of trying to explain this connection between physical sensations and mental emotions.


I was pretty proud of this answer. For this quiz, I hadn't done the reading for this class, so I really had no information going into it. I don't really know what "modern philosophy" is, but I liked that it was more of a passage response rather than one about a theme of the book. I feel like my response did touch on a good idea. I got a check plus as a grade for this one!

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