Foucault News

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

Zhao, Guoping, From the Philosophy of Consciousness to the Philosophy of Difference: The subject for education after humanism, Educational Philosophy and Theory, Volume 47, 2015 – Issue 9

Biesta has suggested that education after humanism should be interested in existence, not essence, in what the subject can do, not in what the subject is—the truth about the subject—and this is the way inspired by Foucault and Levinas. In this article, I analyze Foucault’s alleged deconstruction and reconfiguration of the subject and Levinas’ approach to human subjectivity and suggest that Foucault’s early and later works have already implied certain concepts of the subject and that Levinas’ approach to human subjectivity does not, as has often been perceived in educational circles, avoid theorizing about human subjectivity. Drawing on the French philosophy of difference, particularly Levinas’ ideas of alterity and subjectivity, I propose a post-humanist subject as a singular existence that ‘announces, promises, and at the same time conceals’, that cannot be exhausted, totalized, and replicated. The singular and unique subject, open and responsible to the world and beyond, is indispensible to the educational mission of subjectification.

Keywords: the post-humanist subject, Biesta, Foucault, Levinas, the philosophy of difference,

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