Foucault, Cavell and the Government of Self and Others. On Truth-telling, Friendship and an Ethics of Democracy

David Owen, Clare Woodford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This essay addresses the ethical and political significance of Foucault’s late work on the ethics of care of the self and parrhesia. We argue, first, that understanding this significance requires seeing Foucault’s investigation of these classical practices against the backdrop of his identification of, and attempt to make perspicuous, the problem of biopolitical governance – specifically the paradox of relations of power and capacity. On this basis we go on, second, to consider how this turn may inform an ethics of democratic governance. In constructing this case, we demonstrate the relationship between the ethics of care of the self as a practice of freedom and the tradition of moral perfectionism identified by Stanley Cavell. This allows us to show how Cavell and Foucault mutually complement each other in the articulation of an approach to an ethics of democracy and we outline the fundamental features of such an approach.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-315
Number of pages17
JournalIride
VolumeXXV
Issue number66
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2012

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Friendship
Government
Truth-telling
Democracy
Governance
Care of the Self
Ethics of Care
Bio-political
Paradox
Articulation
Perfectionism
Stanley Cavell
Fundamental
Parrhesia

Keywords

  • Ethics of Care of the Self
  • Parrhesia
  • Moral Perfectionism
  • Friendship
  • Democracy

Cite this

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Foucault, Cavell and the Government of Self and Others. On Truth-telling, Friendship and an Ethics of Democracy. / Owen, David; Woodford, Clare.

In: Iride, Vol. XXV, No. 66, 01.05.2012, p. 299-315.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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