Foucault News

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

Sacha Golob (2015) Subjectivity, Reflection and Freedom in Later Foucault, International Journal of Philosophical Studies, 23:5, 666-688, DOI: 10.1080/09672559.2015.1091029

This paper proposes a new reading of the interaction between subjectivity, reflection and freedom within Foucault’s later work. I begin by introducing three approaches to subjectivity, locating these in relation both to Foucault’s texts and to the recent literature. I suggest that Foucault himself operates within what I call the ‘entanglement approach’, and, as such, he faces a potentially serious challenge, a challenge forcefully articulated by Han. Using Kant’s treatment of reflection as a point of comparison, I argue that Foucault possesses the resources to meet this challenge. The key, I contend, is to distinguish two related theses about reflection and freedom: Foucault’s position is distinctive precisely because he accepts one of these theses whilst rejecting the other. I conclude by indicating how this reading might connect to the longstanding question of Foucault’s own right to appeal to normative standards.

Keywords: Foucault, freedom, reflection, subjectivity, subject, critique

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