Visual <i>Parrhesia</i>?: Foucault and the Truth of the Gaze

Martin Jay

in A Time for the Humanities

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9780823229192
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235063 | DOI:
Visual Parrhesia?: Foucault and the Truth of the Gaze

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How is it possible to conceive the future of the visual beyond the global “world picture” and its dominating gaze? This chapter answers this question by examining the genealogy of scopic that begins with the shift from the premodern ascetic regimes of truth to the practices of modern science, based on visual evidence. It focuses on the relationship between truth and the visual in the work of Michel Foucault, who is usually taken to exemplify French criticisms of the “ocularcentric” bias of Western thought. Consequently, the chapter considers the possibility of alternative visual practices that would oppose the power of the eye to dominate what it viewed and thereby dislodge the notion of truth as evidence or representation, embodying instead the risk of “truth-telling”.

Keywords: truth–visual relationship; Michel Foucault; gaze; scopic domination; truth-telling

Chapter.  5718 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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