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Of the masks and dissimulation in Montaigne's essays

Grant number: 12/12764-2
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2012
Effective date (End): August 31, 2014
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Philosophy - History of Philosophy
Principal researcher:Roberto Romano da Silva
Grantee:Mateus Masiero
Home Institution: Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas (IFCH). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil


The question about appearances and their relations with the idea of society is a very important matter to Michel de Montaigne, as we can perceive in the Essays. Indeed, the French philosopher gives great attention to observe how much of the so-called civilized society is grounded on the practice of the dissimulation, in the constant use of the masks by individuals who intend to participate in social life and in public issues. The mask is a basic tool for life in society and it will be a recurrent subject in the course of the Essays. Montaigne, however, distinguishes two forms of applications of the mask: on one hand, a morally licit, and on the other hand, a reproachable one; the first is necessary to life in society, whereas the second is worthy of harsh punishments. According to Montaigne, the mask should be used only as a mean to obtain a honest end, never to benefit from others and, mainly, never to make her a end in itself, that is, to be transformed in the mask itself. Thus, we can perceive a double moral valuation of the mask; it is licit since superficial, but, if rooted in our being it becomes a moral vice. In this manner, Montaigne is in accordance with the Renaissance's moralists tradition, for which there was a clear distinction between simulation and dissimulation. And, as from the moral critique undertaken against his own epoch's society (immersed in the practices of the bad uses of dissimulation), Montaigne's thought unfolds in a critique against the established rhetoric as well as in the proposal of a new type of rhetoric to be adopted. (AU)

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Academic Publications
(References retrieved automatically from State of São Paulo Research Institutions)
. About masks and dissimulation in Montaigne's Essays. 2015. 163 f. Master's Dissertation - Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas.

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