After studying the introduction of Michel de Montaigne by Dr. M. A. Screech, one might be genuinely left amazed yet in a nonchalant state due to the complex philosophy over his authentic nature, which were perceived through his recorded thoughts in writing.
Needless to say, an observant insight provided by Dr. Screech prominently reinforces an admiration for Montaigne especially in the component of his stance on employing himself as the sole subject in his own analytical assessment rather than using another individual. This act of Montaigne abruptly impresses the readers as it implies that — his sense of ego is not in display assertively but in turn utilized against his own conscience to be critiqued and criticized — in hopes of discovering the nature of his soul. By doing so, he has positioned himself as an inferior; a man of no extraordinary, compared to other notable literary figures, which prepares him well with lesser bias to intercept in searching for himself in depth as well as in sense of human nature. Instead of dictating personal principles and codes of moral towards the readers, Montaigne pursues his quest for knowledge through experience; the meaning of concepts is not set down by means of a definition, it is related to common language or to historical examples.
One of the crucial elements of experience is the ability to reflect on one’s actions and thoughts. Although his views are never fully original, they always bear his unmistakable mark. Montaigne navigates easily through an abundance of classical knowledge, proposing remarkable literary and philosophical innovations along the way. By emphasizing on anecdotal experience, it seems that Montaigne has achieved in establishing the modern moral philosophy, which can be exploited by the philosophers of today.
He surrenders the moral ambition of telling how men should live, in order to arrive at a non-prejudiced mind for knowing man, as he is. Our experience of man and things should not be perceived as limited by our present standards of judgment.