Critique as virtue: Buddhism, Foucault, and the ethics of critique
(2021) Comparative and Continental Philosophy
This article examines Michel Foucault’s views concerning the ethical salience of critique and compares those views to the Buddhist Madhyamaka tradition. As a critic of the Enlightenment, Foucault’s approach to ethics vacillated between deconstructing moral concepts such as “self” and “freedom,” and affirming them as the basis of an ethics conceived as “self-fashioning.” Madhyamaka thought provides a critical account of social reality that resonates with Foucault, particularly concerning the emancipatory potential of critique, but it arrives at different ethical conclusions, viewing compassion rather than vertiginous freedom as the outcome of any thorough critique of the self. © 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
Buddhism; critique; ethics; Foucault; post-structuralism