The politics of emancipation: From self to society [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Human Studies 21 (1):27-43 (1998)
Emancipation is a legitimate human interest. It may be said that Foucault in his last works is concerned with putting forward a strategy for emancipation. The strategy consists in an aesthetic construction of the self. It is argued that this strategy ultimately fails and that, instead of retreating to the self, we need to return to the community level and to examine the rules of discourse that operate there. Contrary to Foucault's strategy, Habermas argues that what we need is a communicative rationality capable of correcting discursive distortions. Coming from a different angle, Lyotard argues that what we need at the community level is a set of rules that prevent any one discourse totalizing all others. Such rules would ensure just gaming. Together, Lyotard and Habermas offer us an ethics that has the potential to serve the human interest in emancipation.
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