Life as Art: Concerning Some Paradoxes of an Ethical Concept

Estetika 46 (1):49-61 (2009)
During the last thirty years or so, there has been a veritable renaissance of the classical ethical idea of the ‘art of living’. Far from being restricted to philosophical discourse, it has also successfully entered the arena of popular culture. This renaissance is closely linked to the late work of Foucault, in which he attempts to restore this classical idea, which he thinks is lacking in modern Western societies. The author aims to assess the Foucaultdian idea of the art of living, and argues that Foucault greatly transformed the Graeco-Roman idea by radicalizing the dimension of artistic activity. In the second part of the paper the author asks whether this radicalized idea can live up to Foucault’s own emancipatory expectations. Lastly, the author argues that the radicalization of the aesthetic dimension has a contradictory effect.
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