Foucault News

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

Svoboda, T. (2020). Foucault on Correspondence as a Technique of the Self. Le Foucaldien, 6(1), 1.
DOI: 10.16995/lefou.69

Open access

This paper begins with a discussion of Foucault’s examination of Seneca’s epistles in his late essay, “Self Writing.” I argue that Foucault offers an accurate and interesting account of the practices Seneca employs in his epistles pursuant to his art of living. This paper then considers Foucault’s interpretation of Seneca’s art of living as an aesthetics of existence. I argue that this interpretation is unsatisfactory, instead suggesting that Seneca’s art of living is a plausible response to the problem of suffering. I close by arguing that such a conception of Seneca’s art of living makes it relevant for present-day human beings, who, like Seneca, are subject to the problem of suffering.

Keywords: aesthetics of existence, care of the self, philosophy, seneca, writing

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