Of late, within emerging environmentalist and ecological discourses, it has become a fundamental and necessary practice to question any anthropocentric views of the world that we inhabit. Such questions arise to facilitate the idea of a “multispecies world” that can be constituted by a “multispecies polity”, especially when one is reminded of Donna Haraway’s affirmation that it “matters which worlds world worlds and which stories tell stories” (Cosmopolitan Animals, vii). From this more contemporary standpoint, Sakhi Thirani’s essay acquires even greater relevance as she discusses and evaluates Michel de Montaigne’s “Man is no better than animals”— an excerpt from his “Apology for Raymond Sebond” (1580-92)—to elucidate how “Montaigne posits a fluid view of parity between humans and animals by disrupting, destabilising, and dislocating the supremacy of hegemonic human institutions of intelligence, reason as well as language via his skeptical engagement with antecedent texts.”
The fact that Montaigne presented such ideas in the 16th century is as interesting and relevant as Sakhi’s observations in her critical engagement with the French Renaissance philosopher’s writing as she relies on various theoretical and philosophical ideas and sources to give shape to ideas that transcend Montaigne’s own—and not only exist in the realm of contemporary discourses but are pertinent to discourses on “multispecies sustainability” found in First Nation and Indigenous practices. While relatively brief, Thirani’s essay maintains a complexity that can facilitate multiple conversations and invite greater inquiry into multiple subjects/topics, from “cosmopolitical ecologies”, Critical Animal Studies, and the posthumanities to the “emergence of multispecies ethnography”—with her study remaining consistently focused on Montaigne’s ““Man is no better than the animals”.