History of the Human Sciences 24 (4):25-41 (2011)

Authors
Arnold I. Davidson
University of Chicago
Abstract
Without access to Michel Foucault’s courses, it was extremely difficult to understand his reorientation from an analysis of the strategies and tactics of power immanent in the modern discourse on sexuality (1976) to an analysis of the ancient forms and modalities of relation to oneself by which one constituted oneself as a moral subject of sexual conduct (1984). In short, Foucault’s passage from the political to the ethical dimension of sexuality seemed sudden and inexplicable. Moreover, it was clear from his published essays and interviews that this displacement of focus had consequences far beyond the specific domain of the history of sexuality. Security, Territory, Population (Foucault, 2007) contains a conceptual hinge, a key concept, that allows us to link together the political and ethical axes of Foucault’s thought. Indeed, it is Foucault’s analysis of the notions of conduct and counter-conduct in his lecture of 1 March 1978 that seems to me to constitute one of the richest and most brilliant moments in the entire course. It is astonishing, and of profound significance, that the autonomous sphere of conduct has been more or less invisible in the history of modern (as opposed to ancient) moral and political philosophy. This article argues that a new attention should be given to this notion, both in Foucault’s work and more generally
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DOI 10.1177/0952695111411625
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Les Cyniques Grecs: Fragments Et Témoignages.Léonce Paquet (ed.) - 1988 - Presses De l'Université D'Ottawa.

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