Technologies of self-cultivation how to improve Stoic self-care apps
(2020) Human Affairs, 30 (4), pp. 549-558.
Self-care apps are booming. Early iterations of this technology focused on tracking health and fitness routines, but recently some developers have turned their attention to the cultivation of character, basing their conceptual resources on the Hellenistic tradition (Stoic Meditations™, Stoa™, Stoic Mental Health Tracker™). Those familiar with the final writings of Michel Foucault will notice an intriguing coincidence between the development of these products and his claims that the Hellenistic tradition of self-cultivation has much to offer contemporary life. In this article, I explore Foucault’s cryptic remarks on this topic, and argue that today’s self-care developers can improve future products by paying attention to the Hellenistic exercises of self-cultivation he identifies as especially important.
app-based technology; Foucault; Hellenistic philosophy; self-care