Guide Practice and Realization: Studies in Kant’s Moral Philosophy

Free download. Book file PDF easily for everyone and every device. You can download and read online Practice and Realization: Studies in Kant’s Moral Philosophy file PDF Book only if you are registered here. And also you can download or read online all Book PDF file that related with Practice and Realization: Studies in Kant’s Moral Philosophy book. Happy reading Practice and Realization: Studies in Kant’s Moral Philosophy Bookeveryone. Download file Free Book PDF Practice and Realization: Studies in Kant’s Moral Philosophy at Complete PDF Library. This Book have some digital formats such us :paperbook, ebook, kindle, epub, fb2 and another formats. Here is The CompletePDF Book Library. It's free to register here to get Book file PDF Practice and Realization: Studies in Kant’s Moral Philosophy Pocket Guide.

I find Weinrib's formulation superb, since it argues that the public duty to protect the poor is a development implied by Kant's doctrine of private right, that is, a consequence of his rational grounding of property. So, for Kant, economic activity should never become a sphere that threatens the material survival of people. Indeed, if something like that were ever implied, it would put the economy in direct competition with the political sphere, and it is well known which side Kant would be on.

Economic mechanisms allow the property and other assets of the citizens to increase unequally, depending on the capabilities of each one; but there must be limits put on this. In support of this thesis it is helpful to recall that Kant's definition of human being is not socio-economic, but political.

Therefore, young people must be educated in the idea that equality among people is a rational principle which underlies the social inequality that they notice in their milieu, so that they do not consider it as a matter of destiny or fate. So far, I have tried to show that moral and legal grounds support the commitment of the state to help both the politically disenfranchised and the poor, as Kant says:.

The very poor must be fed, and if they are children, must be cared for. Because they are men, not beasts. This does not stem from the right of the poor as citizens, but from their needs as men. The question is not whether the state or the citizen. For if it is the state that feeds them, so does it also the citizen, but whether it hangs on the free will of the citizen or on coercion, that is, on a gift or on a contribution.

Assessing the legitimacy of social justice in Kant's doctrine of right does not requires us to subsume this theory to a pragmatic condition that would ruin its theoretical purity. On the contrary, Kant's comments about the public commitment to social troubles are quite far from a pragmatic hybrid solution that would condemn the state to take care of certain disadvantaged classes. Thereby, I would suggest considering this extreme measure as the corollary of a theory based on reason. The statement Fiat iustitia, pereat mundus held in Perpetual Peace 35 might also be understood in the following sense, that no worldly device, whether economic, social or cultural, may give lessons to the state in order to provide justice.

By contrast, the utilitarian arguments of the business world belong to the sphere of physical laws, which also contains only technical-practical propositions, according to Kant's division of philosophy, but they never belong to the moral and political one. Moreover, paternalistic despotism, which every republican government must avoid, does not arise only when the subjective sense of happiness prevails over the common good fostered by the state. For the interests of economic corporations and affairs, even those which could become of "national interest", serve only to materialize particular purposes, and not the common good.

Following a line of argumentation repeatedly explored by H. Arendt, I would say that Kant's doctrine of right, and his notion of civil union, anticipate the possibility that "social paternalism" would be much worse than "state paternalism". Although the state is expected to enlighten civil society, Kant acknowledges that at times the reverse has to be the case, so that private initiatives and intellectual efforts deprived of any academic endorsement are burdened with the task of drawing the outline of how the state can become the state that ought to be.

Obviously, Kant could not foresee the problems that the state would have in circumstances that he did not know, like those of advanced capitalism. One can guess with some legitimacy that he would have discerned in the arguments of the present powerful industrial and financial trusts the interests of "monumental individuals"; individuals who, in effect, argue as frightening subjects, since they are no longer limited by birth and death, and are thus able to understand organic development only in terms of an infinite accumulation.

Finally, I want to claim that the blame placed on politicians for their effort to articulate only the legitimate path to freedom and happiness while excluding all others, might be better understood as a critique addressed not only to political rulers, but also and especially to the socio-economic structures that encompass public space, imposing their own interests and their own vision of happiness on the whole civil body:.

No one can compel me to be happy in accordance with his conception of the welfare of others, for each may seek his happiness in whatever way he sees fit, so long as he does not infringe upon the freedom of others to pursue a similar end which can be reconciled with the freedom of everyone else within a workable general law i. A government might be established on the principle of benevolence towards the people, like that of a father towards his children. Such a government is the greatest conceivable despotism, i. As I pointed out before, the sharp distinction between happiness and freedom included in Kant's doctrine of right does not assign to the state the direct task of turning passive citizens into active ones.

The dignity of the rational subject prevents treating someone as a simple subordinate. However, the state must nevertheless take unavoidable measures when social breakdown threatens the survival of the civil body itself. One consequence of this, however, when considering that businesses and company aggregates might similarly enter into crisis, and deserve the same support and help as that devoted to individuals, is that the citizenry would fall victim to a terrible political illusion. An illusion that would illegitimately dignify elements of social life by granting them the character of a person , threatening thereby the specifically human capacity to act autonomously MM, AA VI, p.

Indeed, in such a case, in a short time policy would be restricted in an astonishing manner, being limited to managing the governance of economic "concrete orders" in the sense labelled by Carl Schmitt, however postmodern, decentralized and flexible they might be. And as a result of it the state would become a mere subordinate in service to the genuine sovereign, and the "wild powers" would have seized political control. Paradoxes in Kant's account of citizenship.

Kant and the concept of community. Observaciones sobre Kant y el liberalismo. Araucaria , n. Citizenship and authority: a chastened view of citizenship. Theorizing citizenship. Wohlgeordnete Freiheit. Berlin, Rezension von W. KANT, Immanuel. Kants Gesammelte Schriften. Berlin: De Gruyter, Kant's political writings. Translated by H. Nisbet, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Writings on religion and rational theology. Wood and G. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, a. Metaphysics of Morals. Translated by M. Cambridge: Cambridge U. Critique of pure reason.

Guyer and A. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Anthropology, history, and education. Welfare in the Kantian state. Oxford: Clarendon Press, Politics, freedom, and order. The Cambridge companion to Kant. Kant's concept of the state. Essays on Kant's political philosophy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, b.

Veritas , v. Kant on Welfare. Canadian Journal of Philosophy , v. The Rights of reason : a study of Kant's philosophy and politics. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, Kant's conception of the Nation-State and the Idea of Europe. Kant's system of rights. Tennessee: Columbia University Press, NOUR, S.

A filosofia social de Kant. Anarchy, State and utopia. New York: Basic Books, Kant's Rechtslehre and ideas of reason. Politics and metaphysics in Kant. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, Theory of justice. Oxford: Oxford University Press, Private order and public justice: Kant and Rawls. Virginia Law Review , v. Kant's theory of justice. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, Rousseau, J. The Social contract and other later political writings. Is Kant's realm of ends a unum per se? British Journal for the History of Philosophy , v.

Poverty and property in Kant's system of rights. Notre Dame Law Review , v. Law as idea of reason. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, In some cases, I have supplied my own translation. Other Kant's works will be cited using the abbreviations suggested by the Kant Forschungsstelle of the University of Mainz, giving the volume of the Academy Edition and the page.

Patrone , p.

Kant's Moral Theory (Part 1 of 2)

Similarly, we can now say, concepts of public right make the rightful use of concepts of private right possible. They make the coherent application of all the claims involving possession possible, and thus provide us with the mark of political truth". See Ripstein's helpful remark , p. The state, however, has a universal significance, and is an end in itself". See Weinrib , p. Rather, it maps the intelligibility of any truly juridical association". The same reason that makes it impossible rationally to will the maxim of never helping others as a law of nature also makes it impossible rationally to consent to a law of political society that would permit the state to ignore the basic need of its citizens".

See Rosen , p. Meld Shell , p. All states are nation-states [ Without this shared double 'natality', for which being human is not enough, men, in their capacity as pure moral beings, would hover over the world like angels to borrow a concept from Pierre Manent. A juridical man is an embodied man a 'child of the earth' who takes up space and thus comes potentially into conflict with other human beings.

Everyone excludes others from some portion of the globe, beginning with the place where he or she is born. People arise, in both fact and right, from the debt of support that parents owe their children. Kant's account of citizenship acknowledges this debt to which myths as 'autochthony' fictionally attest , while subordinating to an ideal of civic re-creation".

The first refers to the whole with respect to its subordination under laws and to the administration of justice; the second one refers to the private happiness of each one. To take care of the latter belongs to the merits of a prince". Idem, b, and , n. Innate property including one's natural abilities is not common property. Accordingly, while individual may be treated unfairly by nature, the state may not rightfully interfere with this distribution, since its province of control lies only in the area of external objects and their distribution".

ROSEN, p. Of course, not so much to end up needing charity ourselves.


  1. Lesbian Dames: Sapphism in the Long Eighteenth Century.
  2. Banjo Paterson: His poetry and prose?
  3. Secrets in the Ice?

In such circumstances, the assistance that the rich could provide to the needy people, worth it the name of charity, which he [the rich] boasts so readily as a merit of? He remarks that the idea of a united law-giving will requires that citizens regard the state as existing 'in perpetuity'. By this, he does not mean to impose an absurd requirement that people live forever, but rather that the basis of the State's unity —the ability of the State to speak and act for everyone— survives changes in its memberships".

Beiner guesses , p. The state, however, represents this general will and makes it effective. As a result, the state must be regarded as the original public owner of all its territory and everyone's right to land must be conditional on the judgement of the political authority so long as the constitution of this state accords with the rightful attributes.

The state may, therefore, tax and to some degree redistribute wealth. But it can do this only by the provision of public welfare. The important point to see here is that needy members of the community have the right to welfare. Those wealthy members can achieve their wealth only through the cooperation provided by the original a priori act of the production of the general will. They may not claim that their right to property precedes and is independent of the general will, for one can have even a provisional right only if one agrees to submit to a civil condition".

The world will certainly not come to an end if there are fewer bad men. Moral evil has by nature the inherent quality of being self-destructive and self-contradictory in its aims especially in relations between persons of a like mind , so that it makes way for the moral principle of goodness, even if such progress is slow". All the contents of this journal, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License. Services on Demand Journal. Introduction Although Kant treated issues concerning social crises as involving corollaries, and not principles, of political right, this does not mean that his rational theory of right has nothing to say about such questions.

Therefore, the state does not arise, on Kant's view, as a kind of rational justification of existing customs and practices, but is an embodiment of reason itself, which is intended to regulate the way human life in society takes place on the Earth: A constitution providing for the greatest human freedom according to laws that permit the freedom of each to exist together with that of other not one providing for the greatest happiness, since that would follow of itself is at least a necessary idea, which one must make the ground not merely of the primary plan of a state's constitution, but of all the laws too 2.

Kant's political normativity and reason. Indeed, human beings would prefer to graze like sheep and to be led comfortably by a wise shepherd into a dream world that conceals despotism, cowardice and immaturity, but Nature forces them to strive by themselves to achieve their own social identity, as the Idea of a universal history highlights: Nature should thus be thanked for fostering social incompatibility, enviously competitive vanity, and insatiable desires for possession or even power. Thus, the perspective opened by the lawgiver acts as a key operator for civil dynamism: Now, a unilateral will cannot serve as a coercive law for everyone with regard to possession that is external and therefore contingent, since that could infringe upon freedom in accordance with universal laws.

Yet this measure should be considered as a mere parergon or secondary activity for guaranteeing the survival of the civil community as a whole: On this supreme proprietorship also rests the right to administer the state's economy, finances, and police. In such a context, in Kant's view, taxing those layers of the citizenry that enjoy civil independence would not be an outcome directly following from the nature of political right, but a consequence derived indirectly from the duties that the lawgiver has to abide: To the supreme commander there belongs indirectly, that is, insofar as he has taken over the duty of the people, the right to impose taxes on the people for its own preservation, such as taxes to support organizations providing for the poor, founding homes, and church organizations, usually called charitable or pious institutions.

Salus civitatis and Happiness The enigmatic passage in which Kant defines the right of the state to tax the citizenry in order to support the poorest people does not aim at blurring the tasks that the jus publicum has to take over with those of the institutions charged with supplying every citizen with the conditions for happiness that he is entitled to Other of Kant's texts, such as the following, keep carefully separated the spheres of external freedom and the struggle for happiness: The concept of an external right derives entirely from the concept of freedom in the external relations of human beings to one another and has nothing whatever to do with the end that all human beings have by nature the goal of happiness.

Kant does not spare appeals to the poor in order to convince them to resolve the problem of educating their offspring on their own, since attaining economic autonomy is equated with claiming one's own civil maturity: In the right of the state the principle of the constitution is not the happiness of citizens for they can take care of it by themselves , but their rights. This particular issue is emphasized in this excerpt from Theory and Practice : If the supreme power makes laws directed primarily toward happiness the prosperity of citizens, increasing population, and so on , this does not happen because it is the purpose of establishing a civil constitution.

Consider the following remarks by Kersting: The Kantian state is, to be sure, limited to the functions of the realization of right and the protection of freedom, but when one considers the dangers that threaten right, freedom, and the dignity of humans from a marketplace unsupervised by a social state and from radical libertarianism's politics of minimal state restriction, then one sees that the philosophy of right must require a compensatory extension of the principle of the state or right through measures toward a social and welfare state in the interest of the human right of freedom itself.

Consequently, the criterion by which Roman ethicists evaluated sexual conduct was whether it was born of desire conformed to the wisdom of nature. These practices are not to be conflated with an asceticism that strives for the goal of freeing oneself from all desires for physical pleasures. To be sure, all ascetic practices are, Foucault thinks, organized around principles of self-restraint, self-discipline, and self-denial.

Foucault maintains that the ethical work to be performed in ancient sexual ethics is that of self-mastery. For the ancient Greeks, mastering oneself is an agonistic battle with oneself, where victory is achieved through careful use of the pleasures according to need, timeliness, and social status.

Studies in Kant’s Moral Philosophy

Greek ethicists understood that this battle required regular training in addition to the knowledge of the things to which one ought to be attracted. The sort of training a man undertook was aimed at self-mastery through practices of self-denial and abstention, which taught him to satisfy natural needs at the right time consistent with his social status.

The moral end of such practices was not to cultivate the attitude that abstention is a moral ideal, but rather to train him to become temperate and self-controlled. As such, successful self-mastery was exhibited by the man who did not suppress his desires, but authoritatively controlled them in a way that contributed to his excellence and the beauty of his life.

Foucault suggests that this ideal is exemplified in the literature about the love of boys, which heroized the man who could express and maintain friendly love for a boy while at the same restraining his co-present erotic love. Foucault is clear in The Care of the Self that the ethical work in ancient Roman ethics is also self-mastery, and that the ethicists reconceived the nature of this kind of ethical work. Instead of an agonistic relationship in which a man struggles to subdue and enslave his desires for pleasures rather than be subdued and enslaved by them through their proper use, the work of self-mastery for Roman ethics was forcing the desires for pleasures into proper alignment with the designs of nature.

What becomes essential for this ethics is grasping that all pleasures that are not internal to oneself originate in desires that might not be capable of satisfaction, and whenever one chooses to engage such desires one subjects oneself to physical and spiritual risk. The intensification of the austerity of sexual ethics this change in self-mastery produced is emphasized in marital ethics. Their joint spiritual well-being was considered integral to the harmony of the human community. The telos of an ethics is the ideal mode or state of being toward which one strives or aspires in their ethical work.

The man who controlled his use of pleasures made himself personally prosperous — physically excellent and socially estimable — in the same way that a household or nation prospers as the result of the careful and skilled governance of a manager or ruler, and a man was not expected to be successful in managing his household or exercising political authority and influence without first achieving victory over his pleasures. The man who failed to master his pleasures and yet found himself in a position of authority over others was a candidate for tyranny, while the man who mastered his pleasures was considered the best candidate to govern.

Roman ethicists conceived the activity of self-mastery as aiming at a conversion of the self to itself, which they conceived as freedom in fullest form. Through the ethical work of self-mastery an individual conformed their desires to the rationality of nature, which resulted in a detachment from anything not given by nature as an appropriate object of desire. Roman ethicists did not understand the telos of self-mastery as the authority over pleasures that manifested itself in their strategic use, but rather it manifested itself as a disinterestedness and detachment from the pleasures such that one finds a non-physical, spiritual pleasure in belonging to the true self nature intends.

Nature does not recommend the mere pursuit of pleasures; it recommends the pursuit of pleasures insofar as those acts are consistent with other ends that it wants met. Foucault certainly claims in both those volumes that the care of self is foundational to ancient ethics UP 73, , ; CS , but curiously, and despite his titling of the third volume The Care of the Self , he does not provide significant discussion of the care of self in its generality.

This history emphasizes the integral relation between the care of self and the concern for truth, notably on display in the practice of parrhesia frank-speech , as its central mode of expression. For the ancients, Foucault claims, the care of the self was the foundational principle of all moral rationality. Today, however, caring for oneself is without moral content.

By explaining the ancient conception of the care of the self and its connection to the Delphic prescription to know oneself, famously observed by Socrates, Foucault wishes to diagnose the exclusion of the care of the self by modern thought and consider whether, given his diagnosis, the care of the self might remain viable in modern ethics. These two injunctions were originally expressed by Socrates — the exemplar par excellence, Foucault thinks, of the person who cares for himself — with the care of the self serving as the justification for the prescription to know oneself.

The prescription to know oneself was the means through which one cared for oneself, and Socrates cared for his own soul and the souls of others by using the practice of dialectic to force the examination of the truth of his own thought and conduct and that of his interlocutors. The salient point for Foucault is that Socrates did not practice philosophy merely as a means of arriving at true propositions.

Instead, his program was to use philosophy as a tool for examining and testing the consistency of the rational discourse he and his interlocutors employed to justify their lives and conduct.

Ethics, Knowledge, and Rule-Following

Foucault sees this as a philosophical activity that is fundamentally oriented to the care of the self, for truth is pursued in philosophy for its own good and the sake of ethical development. Foucault therefore distinguishes between philosophy simpliciter and philosophy as a spiritual activity. But philosophy as a spiritual activity — or philosophy undertaken according to the injunction to care for oneself — is philosophy conceived as ethical work that must be performed in order for an individual to gain access to the truth. This is not to say, of course, that philosophy as a spiritual activity does not seek to acquire knowledge of things as they are.

Rather, it is to say that such knowledge requires right conduct in addition to the justification of a true belief. Now, knowing oneself becomes merely a necessary epistemic, and not moral, condition for gaining access to the truth. Consequently, attending to oneself becomes judging the truth of a proposition, and self-knowledge is not a directive for spiritual and ethical development.

In modernity philosophy is, for the most part compare HS 28, where Foucault adds some qualification , not the activity of ethical transformation that aims at the existence transformed by truth. The modern shift in the construal of self-knowledge as self-evidence required changes in moral rationality. But this is predicated upon a fundamental misconception of the care of the self. The care of the self is the ethical transformation of the self in light of the truth, which is to say the transformation of the self into a truthful existence.


  • If it has not been the Lord: Psalm124.
  • An encyclopedia of philosophy articles written by professional philosophers.!
  • Nathan Rotenstreich, Practice and Realization. Studies in Kant's Moral Philosophy - PhilPapers.
  • Services on Demand;
  • In the final two years of his life, Foucault began to focus his attention on a particular ancient practice of caring for the self, namely, parrhesia alternatively, parresia or frank-speech. Parrhesia is the courageous act of telling the truth without either embellishment or concealment for the purpose of criticizing oneself or another.

    Foucault stipulates that there are five features of the parrhesiastic act. First, the speaker must express his own opinion directly; that is, he must express his opinion without or by minimizing rhetorical flourish and make it plain that it is his opinion. Second, parrhesia requires that the speaker knows that he speaks the truth and that he speaks the truth because he knows what he says is in fact true. Fourth, the function of parrhesia is not merely to state the truth, but to state it as an act of criticizing oneself for example, an admission or another.

    Finally, the parrhesiastes speaks the truth as a duty to himself and others, which means he is free to keep silent but respects the truth by imposing upon himself the requirement to speak it as an act of freedom FS ; see also GSO It is in Socrates, Foucault says, that the care of the self first manifests itself as parrhesia. But not only Socrates; Foucault considers parrhesiastic practices throughout the ancient Greek and Roman epochs.

    Socrates himself lived in a way that was in perfect conformity with his statements about how one ought to live, and those statements themselves were supported by a rigorous rational discourse defending their truth. Because Socrates bound himself in his conduct to his own philosophically explored standards, his interlocutors understood him to be truly free. Socratic parrhesia therefore manifests the care of the self because its intent is ethical, for it urges the interlocutor to pursue knowledge of what is true and conform their conduct to the truth as ethical work.

    Whether or not that was accidental is an interesting area of scholarship. Thus, around Kant, Foucault combines critical philosophy and ethics, and that connection provides greater insight into just how Foucault conceives of ethics and the history of ethics in relation to his own project. But his self-alignment with the tradition of critical philosophy has become the most contentious issue in the scholarship. The criticisms are diverse, but all offer some version of the thesis that Foucault either rejects or lacks the normative criteria required for critique.

    Late in his life Foucault often claimed to be a descendant of the tradition of critical philosophy established by Kant. Instead, he controversially claims to promote autonomy by engaging in a critical-historical ontology of the present, the purpose of which is to disclose the singular and arbitrary constraints that we impose upon ourselves so that we might, should we possess the courage, constitute ourselves differently. Allen disputes this view, maintaining that Foucault never rejects the notion of self-constitution, but rather rejects the uniquely modern conception of self-constitution as it appears in Kantian and post-Kantian philosophy.

    Michel Foucault: Ethics

    A possible alternative is presented by Norris , who claims that Foucault simply does not have a consistent position on the Kantian philosophy, but that need not necessarily diminish our appreciation of his later work. It is relevant to this discussion that Foucault himself says he is not above changing his mind.

    See AK 17, where Foucault famously responds to critics about his perceived shiftiness by asserting his right to change his mind, which is echoed later in his life at UP See also EW1 , , and FL , where admits to changing his views about power and other concepts. In his conclusion to his lectures at Berkeley on parrhesia Foucault very clearly connects parrhesia to the Kantian tradition of critical philosophy.

    Instead of explaining the former as being merely Cartesian and Kantian, he explains it as a concern with the correct processes of reasoning in determining whether a statement is true thus, Descartes and Kant exemplify a certain kind of analytics of truth, namely, that which grounds truth in the subject. On the other side is the critical tradition that is concerned with why it is important to tell the truth and who is entitled to speak it. In doing so Foucault establishes that his critical philosophy is a practice of parrhesia in a similar manner to the Kantian practice of parrhesia.

    Foucault understands his own critical activity as a form of parrhesia in a sense similar to that which Kant exemplifies in the essay on enlightenment.


    1. Book Series: Developments in Corporate Governance and Responsibility!
    2. Such Great Heights!
    3. India’s Literary History:Essays on the Nineteenth Century.
    4. Seeing the Unseen - How to Photograph Landscapes at Night;

    Disclosing the historicity and arbitrariness of the previously unquestioned constraints that we impose on ourselves is, Foucault thinks, a parrhesiastic act. Ethics, Foucault says, is the form that freedom takes when it is informed by reflection, and by this he means that freedom consists in reflectively informed ascetic practices or practices of self.

    One reason that he focused on ethical work, then, is to discover how human beings freely make themselves into moral subjects of their own conduct through techniques or practices of self-restraint and self-discipline. In The Government of Self and Others Foucault construes parrhesia as free practice of self par excellence.

    That is to say, it seems that the truth is for Foucault a moral value or a good one ought to pursue. Because autonomy is conceived as binding oneself to the truth, truth becomes the practical goal of Foucaultian critique.

    Product details

    This would entail that one is to pursue the truth in both its propositional and non-propositional or existential forms as the highest practice of self. When Kant engages in parrhesia by exhorting his peers to use their own reason he is not issuing merely an exhortation, but, per his moral philosophy, he is telling them that their own practical reason obligates the use of reason consistent with universal law. But Foucault intentionally steers clear of that project, which raises questions about the legitimacy and force of his critical philosophy.

    It is true, as Bernstein points out, that Foucault very often uses a value-laden rhetoric. However, it is also true that his project is critical in the peculiar sense of the unmasking of some previously concealed practice or aspect of some practice as an activity of frank-speech. His rhetoric is therefore charged not because he has some hidden normative criteria already in hand as Habermas alleges , but because, for example, certain individuals operate in a practice say, penitential practices under false opinions about its supposed noble goals for example, defending society.

    To this end Foucault need only unmask the tensions and inconsistencies in a practice through his historical labors to make his project critical. On the one hand, this appears to be a descriptive, historical statement of a matter of fact, namely, that the nature of moral approval has changed. There is no doubt that Foucault commends those who might undertake an aesthetics or arts of existence EW1 , or those who voluntarily and rigorously elaborate their existence according to a set of self-imposed standards that aim at what they take to be the good, fine, and beautiful life. It is unclear, however, if Foucault is merely commending or also recommending an aesthetics of existence.

    For this reason, critics see Thacker in addition to those noted above who interpret Foucault as recommending the aesthetics of existence find it to be an insufficiently articulated alternative to the alleged decline of modern morality. While Foucault does not always help himself out in playing up that content see EW1 , it is worth paying attention to the fact that an aesthetics of existence heeds the ancient injunction to care for oneself.

    This means it is ethically oriented by the care of the self and truth, such that one ought to fashion oneself in accordance with the life that one could reasonably maintain is truly fine and beautiful, and also that the practitioner of an aesthetics of existence demands of others, as he or she demands of himself or herself, that they provide a rational discourse for the life that they believe to be truly fine and beautiful. So, while Foucault is careful to say that a return to ancient Greek ethics — a male-oriented, class-centered ethics — is neither a solution to contemporary moral problems nor a remedy to the alleged decline of modern morality — and indeed expresses pessimism about its prospects HS — an aesthetics of existence properly reformulated to modernity might prove worthy of consideration as a mode of subjection.

    In the end, however, Foucault supplies only interesting suggestions and nothing too concrete. Bob Robinson Email: robert. Michel Foucault: Ethics The French philosopher and historian Michel Foucault does not understand ethics as moral philosophy, the metaphysical and epistemological investigation of ethical concepts metaethics and the investigation of the criteria for evaluating actions normative ethics , as Anglo-American philosophers do.

    Mode of Subjection Deontology The mode of subjection is the way in which the individual establishes its relation to the moral code, recognizes itself as bound to act according to it, and is entitled to view its acts as worthy of moral valorization. Foucault suggests that this ideal is exemplified in the literature about the love of boys, which heroized the man who could express and maintain friendly love for a boy while at the same restraining his co-present erotic love Foucault is clear in The Care of the Self that the ethical work in ancient Roman ethics is also self-mastery, and that the ethicists reconceived the nature of this kind of ethical work.

    Parrhesia Frank-Speech In the final two years of his life, Foucault began to focus his attention on a particular ancient practice of caring for the self, namely, parrhesia alternatively, parresia or frank-speech. Kant and Foucault Late in his life Foucault often claimed to be a descendant of the tradition of critical philosophy established by Kant. References and Further Reading a. Primary Sources and Abbreviations Foucault, Michel. Foucault, Michel. Sheridan Smith. Foucault lays out the structure of his archaeological method in both texts.

    Foucault examines the genesis of modern medical perception and experience, which he characterizes in the Preface as both historical and critical. Alan Sheridan. This book is primarily about modern penitential practices, which Foucault understands as one of the most important practices to develop, not coincidentally, at the same time as reform and liberation discourses. Colin Gordon. The History of Sexuality, vol.