Practicing politics with Foucault and Kant: Toward a critical life

Philosophy and Social Criticism 29 (3):259-280 (2003)
This paper problematizes the claim that Michel Foucault's work is normatively lacking and therefore possesses only limited political relevance. While Foucault does not articulate a traditional normative framework for political activity, I argue that his work nonetheless reflects certain normative commitments to, for example, practicing freedom and improving the state of the world. I elucidate these commitments by sketching out Foucault's notion of critique as a mode of existence characterized by practices of the self, arguing that such practices possess political significance within the context of what Foucault refers to as a way of life, and analyzing points of intersection and departure between Kant's and Foucault's respective responses to the question `What is Enlightenment?' in order to clarify the connection Foucault makes between self-practices and freedom. Through this analysis I also show that Foucault reconceptualizes normative concepts such as obligation, freedom, autonomy and publicity in non-normalizing, politically compelling ways, and argue that his work opens onto a similar reconceptualization of the notion of political unity. I conclude with a preliminary investigation into the political efficacy of Foucault's ethos by discussing its relevance specifically for feminist politics
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 14,242
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA
Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

32 ( #85,358 of 1,699,807 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #362,609 of 1,699,807 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.