Don’t philosophers die just like all other men? In order to speak of the death of philosophers, why choose an author like Boureau-Deslandes, who collected anecdotes of insolence in the face of death? Undoubtedly, free minds could only disarm theology by joking about it. The mental, moral and playful mechanisms of the mind can be taken apart to reveal the bans inscribed in the conscience through the workings of institutions. Against the philosophies of melancholy, fear, death and power, a philosophy of banter is a cheerful philosophy, an ethics of taste that destabilises the rules. It is this practice of bantering insolence that turns temperament into virtue and a man into a philosopher.
Keywords: Taste, play, libertine, masque, Montaigne, fear, to joke, power, Saint-Evremond, scepticism, theology