The self and human freedom in Foucault and zhuangzi

Journal of Chinese Philosophy 39 (1):139-156 (2012)
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Foucault and Zhuangzi share important insights on the role of knowledge practices play in the pursuit of human freedom. This article investigates Foucault's discussion of the subjectivation truth games of the ancient Greeks and Romans, and in light of the discussion, reconsiders Zhuangzi's approach to knowledge practices. It also examines the notion of self and freedom embedded in the knowledge practices of Foucault and Zhuangzi and suggests that, when trying to get away from the metaphysical subject, there is an inherent problem associated with Foucault's embrace of the Western notion of freedom as autonomy. The conclusion suggests that Zhuangzi's notion of freedom as breaking through our limits and entering into the larger whole; his notion of the self as non-being may make the human pursuit of freedom more successful



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