Marie de Gournay and Michel de Montaigne: a lie as a vice for public utility

TALK | April 11, 2022 | 13.15 | Vice, sin, and sociability in early modern moral and political philosophy

Dr. Jil Muller will give a talk on April 11, 2022, from 13.15 to 14.15 on “Marie de Gournay and Michel de Montaigne: a lie as a vice for public utility” at the Workshop Vice, sin, and sociability in early modern moral an political philosophy, organised by the University of Jyväskyla, Finnland, on April 11-12, 2022.

In her paper, Jil Muller takes up the leitmotif of Marie de Gournay’s Advis, which is the theme of false or diverted speech and slander. Gournay’s philosophical reflexion especially on slander will be compared to Montaigne’s understanding of a lie, of a misleading word or speech. Montaigne distinguishes between lying and telling a lie,between the unvoluntary lie and the voluntary false speech. The same distinction can be found in Gournay’s text: she distingues between false speech which deceives only “the ear” and false speech, which deceives both the listener and the interlocutor.However, Gournay attacks this vice more severly as Montaigne does, probabaly because she was herself a victim of public slander. Nevertheless, the similarities between the two philosophers even go further: as Montaigne, Gournay has to accept one situation in which lying is acceptable, namely when slander has a public utility.

Further information about the workshop and the programme of the event can be found here

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