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N.1/2022 Libertinismo: Filosofia e Scrittura

Scrivere la verità tra Montaigne e Diderot: Socrate e Seneca modelli di parresìa

Valentina Sperotto

Published in June, 2022

Writing the truth between Montaigne and Diderot: Socrates and Seneca models of parrhesìa

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In his analysis of parrhesìa, M. Foucault had considered the two models of the philosopher capable of speaking the truth before power embodied by

Socrates and Seneca. These also constitute a fundamental reference for Diderot,
who oscillates, over time, between one and the other, searching for a viable way
to tell the truth in times when writing was not free, as in the Ancien régime. A
fundamental link in the analysis of the possible attitude of the sincere writer and
the parresiastic philosopher is the work of Montaigne, who in early modernity

had already shown the complexity of these two roles. Thus Diderot, as a passionate reader of Montaigne, learns the lesson, while not renouncing his role as a

critical reader, even of the Essais. Starting with Montaigne and going beyond the
elitist libertinism of the previous century, he seeks useful elements in Antiquity,
first in Socrates and then in the more complex figure of Seneca, to construct a
valid model of modern philosophical wisdom.


Diderot, Montaigne, parrhesìa, truth, Socrates, Seneca, libertinism of
XVIIIth century, philosophy and politics.



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