The practice of freedom

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


This chapter seeks to explicate Foucault's conclusion about the divorce of subjectivity and truth. It shows that the modern, strictly epis-temological understanding of truth removes us from the possibility of having an ethical relationship to the truth. Ancient philosophy was the pursuit of the kind of life that would lead to knowledge, not just an analysis of what could be known and how one could know it. Scepticism, which in the ancient world had to do with the limits of human understanding, became the epistemological standard bearer and pacesetter. Foucault laments that modern philosophy does not have ancient philosophy's parrhesiastic features. The Cynics were the masters of frank risk-taking truth-telling. Scandalous behaviour, particularly personified in Diogenes the Cynic, was a public way to show the truth and the relationship one had to the truth. The modern period sees the body mechanically, so there is no automatic connection between one's moral self and the body as medical object.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMichel Foucault
Subtitle of host publicationKey Concepts
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781317492054
ISBN (Print)9781844652341
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


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