Scepticism, Stoicism and Subjectivity: Reappraising Montaigne's Influence on Descartes

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According to the standard view, Montaigne’s Pyrrhonian doubts would be in the origin of Descartes’ radical Sceptical challenges and his cogito argument. Although this paper does not deny this influence, its aim is to reconsider it from a different perspective, by acknowledging that it was not Montaigne’s Scepticism, but his Stoicism, which played the decisive role in the birth of the modern internalist conception of subjectivity. Cartesian need for certitude is to be better understood as an effect of the Stoic model of wisdom, which urges the sage to build an inner space for self-sufficiency and absolute freedom.
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Archival date: 2016-03-03
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