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Single Idea 6263

[catalogued under 1. Philosophy / A. Wisdom / 3. Wisdom Deflated]

Full Idea

Take a beam wide enough to walk along: suspend it between two towers: there is no philosophical wisdom, however firm, which could make us walk along it just as we would if we were on the ground.

Gist of Idea

No wisdom could make us comfortably walk a wide beam if it was high in the air


Michel de Montaigne (Apology for Raymond Sebond [1580], p.0672)

Book Reference

Montaigne,Michel de: 'The Complete Essays', ed/tr. Screech,M.A. [Penguin 1987], p.672

A Reaction

This proposes great scepticism about the practical application of philosophical wisdom, but if we talk in terms of the wise assessment of risk in any undertaking, our caution on the raised beam makes perfectly good sense.