Foucault News

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

Leonard Lawlor, From Violence to Speaking Out. Apocalypse and Expression in Foucault, Derrida and Deleuze, Edinburgh University Press, 2019

Review by Jeffrey A. Bell

Develops the Derridean idea of the worst violence and creates new ways of speaking out against it

Leonard Lawlor’s groundbreaking book draws from a career-long exploration of the French philosophy of the 1960s in order to find a solution to ‘the problem of the worst violence’. The worst violence is the reaction of total apocalypse without remainder. It is the reaction of complete negation and death. It is nihilism.

Lawlor argues that it is not just transcendental violence that must be minimised: all violence must itself be reduced to its lowest level. He then offers new ways of speaking which will best achieve the least violence which he creatively appropriates from Foucault, Derrida and Deleuze and Guattari as ‘speaking-freely’, ‘speaking-distantly’ and ‘speaking-in-tongues’.


Introduction: From Violence to Speaking Out

Part I: On Transcendental Violence

1. A New Possibility of Life: The Experience of Powerlessness as the Solution to the Problem of the Worst Violence

2. What Happened? What is going to happen? An Essay on the Experience of the Event

3. Is it happening? Or the Implications of Immanence

4. The Flipside of Violence, or Beyond the Thought of Good enough

Part II: Three Ways of Speaking

5. Auto-Affection and Becoming: Following the Rats

6. The Origin of Parrēsia in Foucault’s Thinking: Truth and Freedom in The History of Madness

7. Speaking out for Others: Philosophy’s Activity in Deleuze and Foucault (and Heidegger)

8. ‘The Dream of an Unusable Friendship’: The Temptation of Evil and the Chance for Love in Derrida’s Politics of Friendship

9. Three Ways of Speaking, or ‘Let others be Free’: On Deleuze’s ‘Speaking-in-Tongues’; Foucault’s ‘Speaking-Freely’; and Derrida’s ‘Speaking-Distantly’

Conclusion: Speaking out against Violence

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