Foucault News

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

Herer, M.
The Courage of Untruth?
(2022) Eidos: A Journal for Philosophy of Culture, 6 (2), pp. 62-69.

DOI: 10.14394/eidos.jpc.2022.0016

Michel Foucault defined parrhesia as “the free courage by which one binds oneself in the act of telling the truth.” Could telling objective untruth also be a parrhesiastic act, insofar as it requires courage and initiates subjectivation? Climate deniers, anti-vaccinationists and other groups that delegitimize the authority of science present themselves as courageously standing up against the dominant discourse, as rebellious subjects who speak the inconvenient and unaccepted truths. It is not difficult to prove that their truths are untruths, but it remains problematic to distinguish true courage from its simulacra. This article argues that Foucault’s investigations of truth, subjectivity, and power become of great use in the face of today’s confusion. The phenomenon of post-truth cannot be explained simply as the product of postmodern relativism. The will-to-truth, along with the will to constitute oneself as a truth-telling subject, persists, requiring critical analysis more than ever. What may prove politically efficient is to engage in the kind of critique that would account for actual power relations and unmask false courage rather than debunk specific concepts or ideas. © 2022, University of Warsaw. All rights reserved.

Author Keywords
courage; Michel Foucault; parrhesia; post-truth; power; subjectivity; truth

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: