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Neither Angel nor Beast by Francis X.J. Coleman

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16

MAN WITHOUT GOD

The dialectic of the Apology begins with rejection – rejection of a philosophy that epitomizes everything opposed to the entire project of the Apology itself: the philosophy of Montaigne. It is a form of extreme skepticism – Pyrrhonism – secular, impressionistic, anti-theological, basically pagan, hedonistic, self-satisfied, and smug. Pascal first chides Montaigne for following no method, and for ‘jumping from subject to subject … The stupid project that he had of painting himself!’ (76). Pascal does not condemn the attempt to know oneself; on the contrary, self-knowledge is the starting point of ‘Man without God.’ It is Montaigne’s self-satisfied silliness, his pretentious foppery, that Pascal cannot countenance. ‘For to say ...

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