Michel Eyquem de Montaigne (1533 – 1592) is a french humanist, philosopher and essayist, influential in reviving and popularizing greek sceptical theories during the Renaissance. His influence is reflectied in the writings of Blaise Pascal, René Descartes, or Nicolas Malebranche, and their several followers.
A sceptical philosophy
Montaigne’s own sceptical philosophy was set out in his essay Apologie de Raimond Sebon, defending the views of a 15th century spanish rationalist theologian. Supported by examples from Sextus Empiricus, Montaigne argued that rationality is no more than a form of animal behaviour.
In summary, despite their alleged superiority, men can often ne shown to be, through vanity, stupidity, and immorality, inferior to animals. We do not succeed in living as happily as they do. Failure of all attempts to achieve knowledge, shown by disagreements through the ages between the experts in every science, leads to the conclusion that the only true principles men can possess, and their only hope of achieving contact with reality, is through divine revelation.