Christopher Donald Cordner
University of Melbourne
Foucault's resistance to a universalist ethics, especially in his later writings, is well-known. Foucault thinks that ethical universalism presupposes a shared human essence, and that this presupposition makes it a straitjacket, an attempt to force people to conform to an externally imposed 'pattern'. Foucault's hostility may be warranted for one - perhaps the usual - conception of ethical universality. But there are other conceptions of ethical universality that are not vulnerable to Foucault's criticism, and that are ethically and culturally important. I set out one such conception, and show why it matters. Paul Patton has argued that Foucault is best read as grounding his analyses of power in a 'conception of human being' traceable to Nietzsche. I explain why this does not amount to the ethical universalism that I sketch below.
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DOI 10.1080/00201740410004313
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References found in this work BETA

Role Obligations.Michael Hardimon - 1994 - Journal of Philosophy 91 (7):333-363.
External Justifications and Institutional Roles.A. John Simmons - 1996 - Journal of Philosophy 93 (1):28-36.
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Foucault.Paul Patton - 2009 - In David Boucher & Paul Kelly (eds.), Political Thinkers: From Socrates to the Present. Oxford University Press.

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