Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Iride. Filosofia e discussione pubblica, n. 66 maggio-agosto 2012

One of the most important philosophical journals in Italy, Iride has published its 66th issue which is largely devoted to Michel Foucault.

Pdf of table of contents

Abstracts in English are below

Nota introduttiva. Sesso come cultura di Arnold I. Davidson
Michel Foucault, L’arte di divenire gay (translated into Italian by Daniele Lorenzini)

Foucault, l’etica antica e lo scandalo della verità /Foucault, Ancient Ethics and the Scandal of Truth
(a cura di/edited by Daniele Lorenzini)

Frédéric Gros, Foucault e la verità cinica

David Owen and Clare Woodford, Foucault, Cavell and the Government of Self and Others. On Truth-telling, Friendship and an Ethics of Democracy

Judith Revel, Vita altra, attitudine critica, sperimentazione

Religioni, politica e liberalismo
(a cura di Domenico Melidoro)

Domenico Melidoro, Premessa. Limiti e prospettive del secolarismo

Neera Chandhoke, Ri-presentare il secolarismo

Jocelyn Maclure, L’accomodamento ragionevole e la concezione soggettiva della libertà di coscienza

Jeff Spinner-Halev, Liberalismo, pluralismo e religione

Daniele Lorenzini, Foucault, il cristianesimo e la genealogia dei regimi di verità

Maurizio Ferraris, Filosofia globalizzata

Abstracts in English

Michel Foucault
The Art of Becoming Gay

In these texts, preceded by an Introductory notice in which Arnold I. Davidson highlights their methodological background and their philosophical value, Foucault discusses, on the one hand, Kenneth J. Dover’s revolutionary book Greek Homosexuality, pointing out the differences between our experience of sexuality and the Greek; on the other hand, he explains his reasons for thinking that, today, we should use our sexual choices as a means to change our existence and to invent new relations and new ways of living.

Keywords: Greek Homosexuality, Art of Living, Sex, Pleasures, Culture of the Self.

SYMPOSIA – Foucault, Ancient Ethics and the Scandal of Truth
(edited by Daniele Lorenzini)

Frédéric Gros
Foucault and the Cynic’s Truth

In his last series of lectures at the Collège de France, Foucault offers a completely new analysis of the Cynic school of philosophy in Ancient Greece. He shows that the Cynic movement inaugurates an innovative characterization of truth as a test for life, rather than as a criterion for the differentiation of logos. This exam allows Foucault to trace an original distinction, within philosophy, between two branches: the Platonic one, which poses the problem of the access to a transcendent world starting from an askesis and knowledge of the soul, and the Cynic one, which instead poses the question of the transformation of the world, beginning with the proofing of one’s own life and a continuous provocation of others.

Keywords: Foucault, Cynicism, Truth, Parrhesia, Resistance.

David Owen & Clare Woodford
Foucault, Cavell and the Government of Self and Others. On Truth-telling, Friendship and an Ethics of Democracy

This essay addresses the ethical and political significance of Foucault’s late work on the ethics of care of the self and parrhesia. We argue, first, that understanding this significance requires seeing Foucault’s investigation of these classical practices against the backdrop of his identification of, and attempt to make perspicuous, the problem of biopolitical governance – specifically the paradox of relations of power and capacity. On this basis we go on, second, to consider how this turn may inform an ethics of democratic governance. In constructing this case, we demonstrate the relationship between the ethics of care of the self as a practice of freedom and the tradition of moral perfectionism identified by Stanley Cavell. This allows us to show how Cavell and Foucault mutually complement each other in the articulation of an approach to an ethics of democracy and we outline the fundamental features of such an approach.

Keywords: Ethics of Care of the Self, Parrhesia, Moral Perfectionism, Friendship, Democracy.

Judith Revel
Life Other, Critical Attitude, Experimentation

How are we to interpret the last sentences of Michel Foucault lectures at the Collège de France, on the 28th of March 1984, where he seems to allude to the necessity to found ethics on the decentralization of one’s position and the assumption of a posture of otherness? And how are we to explain the fact that, after decades of research on the forms of reintegration of the figures of otherness (madness, the pathological, social deviance…) within what he often calls «hegemony of the same», the vast domain of the identity to oneself – and, a contrario, the quest for a radical difference – Foucault returns to this ethical centrality of the position of otherness? The explanation, perhaps, can be found in what the passage from Socratic to Cynic parrhesia secretly contains: a shift that, far from keeping the ethical task within the domain of Logos, makes it somehow slip into the field of Bios, of life. From words to practices of existence, from the search for adequation between discourse and philosophical life to the attempt, at the same time simpler and more radical, to live philosophy, in the last lectures of Foucault emerges an otherness eventually freed – differential, productive, ontologically powerful: the truth-telling becomes truth-living, emancipated from the boundaries and the traps of the order of discourse, and which requires courage while affirming its irreducible freedom.

Keywords: Foucault, Ethics, Truth-telling, Life, Difference.


Daniele Lorenzini
Foucault, Christianity, and the Genealogy of the Regimes of Truth

Beginning with the 1979-1980 lectures at the Collège de France, Du gouvernement des vivants, this article aims at a reconstruction of Foucault’s shift: from a study of knowledge-power systems to an archaeological-genealogical analysis of the government of human beings by means of truth; or, better yet, a study of the relations between the manifestation of truth, the constitution of subjectivity, and the government of self and others. Therefore, it seeks to explore the meaning of the fundamental notion of «regime of truth» (in its connection with the notion of «truth games»), as well as the Foucauldian project of a genealogy of the modern subject in Western civilization. The conclusion suggests that Foucault’s last series of lectures at the Collège de France are a way to urge us to undertake a «politics of ourselves», and consequently to get rid of the hermeneutics of the self, no matter whether Christian or scientific.

Keywords: Truth, Subjectivity, Christianity, Confession, Politics of Ourselves.

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