Seuils et discontinuités chez Michel Foucault : vers un sujet “post-cartésien” ?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Drawing from Michel Foucault's final research development (1980–1984), this article disputes Foucault's apparent discontinuity with his previous stands regarding the subject, and unveils a notion I propose to call the “post-Cartesian” subject, i.e. a subject whose ethics displays a congruent harmony between mathêsis (knowledge) and prâxis (action). Spending his last years in the company of Greco-Roman thinkers for whom philosophizing was less a mathêsis than a prâxis, Foucault claims that the disruption of the congruence between logos and ergon occurred at the beginning of Christianity, when the Delphic injunction “know thyself” (gnôthi seauton) took over a precept which had formerly ruled supreme: the “care of the self” (epimeleia heautou). Foucault asserts that Descartes ultimately confirmed this displacement, when the Cartesian subject was no longer required to go through any personal transformation in order to reach truth/knowledge. Challenging this threshold, I argue that the Socratic imperative has not supplanted the “care of the self” in the “post-Cartesian” subject whose task is to resist as much as possible the type of existence/identity which has been impressed on her/him.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-397
Number of pages9
JournalContemporary French and Francophone Studies
Volume21
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 8 2017

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Christianity
moral philosophy
Sujet
Michel Foucault
Cartesian
Care of the Self
Discontinuity
Dispute
Disruption
Philosophizing
Logos
Thinkers
Congruence
Harmony
Injunction
Precepts

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Literature and Literary Theory

Cite this

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abstract = "Drawing from Michel Foucault's final research development (1980–1984), this article disputes Foucault's apparent discontinuity with his previous stands regarding the subject, and unveils a notion I propose to call the “post-Cartesian” subject, i.e. a subject whose ethics displays a congruent harmony between math{\^e}sis (knowledge) and pr{\^a}xis (action). Spending his last years in the company of Greco-Roman thinkers for whom philosophizing was less a math{\^e}sis than a pr{\^a}xis, Foucault claims that the disruption of the congruence between logos and ergon occurred at the beginning of Christianity, when the Delphic injunction “know thyself” (gn{\^o}thi seauton) took over a precept which had formerly ruled supreme: the “care of the self” (epimeleia heautou). Foucault asserts that Descartes ultimately confirmed this displacement, when the Cartesian subject was no longer required to go through any personal transformation in order to reach truth/knowledge. Challenging this threshold, I argue that the Socratic imperative has not supplanted the “care of the self” in the “post-Cartesian” subject whose task is to resist as much as possible the type of existence/identity which has been impressed on her/him.",
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