Deep Ethical Pluralism In Late Foucault

Brian Lightbody
Brock University
In the essay “What is Enlightenment?”, Foucault espouses a novel and emancipatory“philosophical ethos” which challenges individuals to undertake an ongoing, aesthetic project oftotal self-transformation. By advocating a view of the self---and moreaccurately the relationship one has to oneself --as a free creation on the part of thesubject, Foucault seems to be espousing a pluralistic ethical position. However, I argue that whilethis interpretation is not entirely false, it is not altogether accurate either. Quite simply, it is toobroad in scope. Instead, I argue that Foucault’s philosophical ethos is best described as a DeepEthical Pluralist position. Furthermore, I demonstrate that the two most common objectionsto Foucault’s new ethos for the contemporary subject in the secondary literature, namely theregressive and dandyist objections miss their mark precisely because they are successful onlyagainst ethical pluralism but not DEP.
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