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Lecture 8: spiritual combat March 27, 2009

Posted by Andy in Foucault, Le Courage de la Vérité.
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The penultimate lecture of the 21st March sets out to conclude Foucault’s study of Cynic philosophy so that he may move on to early Christianity in the final lecture. Once again, he is ill at the point, and warns that he may not be able to complete. There is no sign that this lecture was any shorter than the others though. It is certainly packed full of insight: he founds the philosophical life and later asceticism on the notion of the sovereign self militantly exercising its athletic reason to change the world. He argues that the ascesis of enduring insults, celibacy and separation from the world are all logical outcomes of the ethical thought of the classical world. Cynics are at the centre of occidental ethics by their installation of love in the relation between insulter and victim. Their disgrace is part of their pedagogical task of teaching the world the difference between happiness and unhappiness. That is their political program. (more…)

Le Courage de la Vérité 4: Plato’s Laches March 11, 2009

Posted by Andy in Le Courage de la Vérité.
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Foucault’s fourth lecture on the Courage of truth is a reading of the Plato’s Laches. He says that no self-respecting professor of philosophy can avoid giving a course on Socrates and his death at some point in his life, and so this is it (“Salvate animam meam” he adds). This lecture sketches out a few more details concerning Socratic parrhesia before he leaves the period and goes on to talk about the Cynics. This is also the only lecture he gave this year without a break. I don’t think that’s significant… (more…)

Lecture 2: Parrhesia in democracy and autocracy March 7, 2009

Posted by Andy in Foucault, Le Courage de la Vérité.
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The second lecture continues Foucault’s analysis of parrhesia, and takes into consideration the political context. Parrhesia is argued to be suited to monarchies rather than democracies, and in its relation to the prince, its essential character is to be found. He starts off with some reflections on democracy, and curiously ends up with an almost Trinitarian-shaped account of philosophy. (more…)

Le Courage de la Vérité: summaries March 5, 2009

Posted by Andy in Foucault, Le Courage de la Vérité.
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So I decided to do what Anthony says and write down some lecture summaries of the latest Foucault course, Le Courage de la Vérité: Le gouvernement de soi et des autres II. It’s a curious little book, and as I mentioned before, eagerly awaited by a number of us, not least because the status of the “ethical Foucault” may depend on its interpretation. We shall see. (nb all the below translations are mine) (more…)

The City of God October 27, 2007

Posted by Andy in theology.
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Here comes my contribution to our reading group on Augustine’s city of God, taking place in the department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Nottingham.