Crisis and Transition: The Late Foucault and the Vocation of Philosophy

Noys, B. (2022) Crisis and Transition: The Late Foucault and the Vocation of Philosophy. South Atlantic Quarterly, 121 (4). pp. 675-691. ISSN 0038-2876

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Abstract

The work of the late Foucault, especially the turn to the care of the self and the problem of subjectivity, has often been regarded as a narcissistic withdrawal from politics. Instead, this essay argues that such a charge ignores how Foucault was responding to arguments highly-critical of individualism developed in the late 1970s, especially Christopher Lasch’s The Culture of Narcissism (1979). Not only was Foucault concerned with rehabilitating a notion of individualism, his historical reconstruction of the care of the self emphasized that this philosophical practice was not a withdrawal from public space but a new way of conceiving ethics and politics. Focusing on the issues of crisis and transition this essay reconstructs Foucault’s historical reflections on Greek and Roman practices of the care of the self as mediated responses to the crisis of politics in the late 1970s and as re-conceptualizations of the practice of philosophy. In particular, Foucault’s late work is read as the attempt to reconstruct or construct a sense of the vocation of philosophy. The philosophical vocation developed by Foucault is one concerned with the intensification of experience within the subject conceived of as the possibility for a new engagement with the world.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Foucault, subjectivity, critical theory, cultural theory, philosophical practice, subjectivity, individualism, cultural politics, crisis of politics.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR > N61 Theory. Philosophy. Aesthetics of the arts
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0441 Literary history
Divisions: Academic Areas > Institute of Arts and Humanities > English and Creative Writing
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Benjamin Noys
Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2022 14:26
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2022 10:49
URI: https://eprints.chi.ac.uk/id/eprint/6175

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