Sartre on Violence, Foucault on Power: <i>A Diagnostic</i>

in Sartre, Foucault, and Historical Reason

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print February 2005 | ISBN: 9780226254708
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226254722 | DOI:
Sartre on Violence, Foucault on Power: A Diagnostic

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Foucault's interest in courageous speech (parrhesia) formed the topic of his last courses at Berkeley and at the Collège de France. This chapter compares parrhesia with Sartrean authenticity as well as parrhesiastic history with “authentic” history. The similarity between Sartre ‘s theory of history as a tale of violence and oppression and Foucault's appeal to strategy and tactics as the conceptual vehicle for making sense of history have been alluded occasionally. The chapter examines the nature and ground of these claims in detail, locating them in the broader context of each author's reflections on violence and/or power. In both cases, they have immediate relevance to the general problem of the nature of historical reason. The topic of violence is one of a number of areas where the interests and writings of these two major theorists overlap. In proposing these reflections, the chapter casts some light not only on the nature and forms of violence and their relevance to historical understanding but also on the larger question of the possibilities and limits of dialogue between existentialist and poststructuralist philosophers in general.

Keywords: Sartre; Foucault; spatialized reasoning; courageous speech; history; violence; existentialist philosophers; poststructuralist philosophers

Chapter.  12440 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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