Foucault discusses introduces the notion of bio-power in the last section of
The History of Sexuality, Vol. One: An Introduction. You also might look at
James Bernauer's discussion of bio-power in his book Michel Foucault's Force
of Flight: Toward and Ethics for Thought.
With respect to ethics, Foucault himself never presents a prescriptive
ethical theory, which all people would be subject to. Instead, Foucault's
works seem to indicate that he affirmed the notions of treating one's life
like a work of art and the notion of caring for oneself. The best places to
look for Foucault's views on ethics are the later interviews collected in
Ethics and Subjectivity: The Essential Works of Michel Foucault, vol. one.
There Foucault discusses what it is that we might learn from the Greeks and
Romans even though we cannot apply their answers to our problems.
I hope that this is helpful,
Behalf Of Bryan C
Sent: Sunday, January 28, 2001 2:41 AM
Subject: Bio-Power and Ethics
I am a High school debater who is running a Foucauldian critique for
this year's topic of privacy. I also generally find Foucault's work
intriguing personally. I have read a primer on Foucault as well
as some stuff on the internet, but I am still confused on a few key
First, what exactly is Bio-Power and where can I read about it. I
think I have gathered that it is generally the medical categorization
of life or perhaps just valuing life. Furthermore we have evidence
from a man named Bernauer talking about how Bio-Power creates the
possibility for the annihilation of the human race. I would like to
know why that is.
Second, what are Foucault's ethics and where did he formulate his thesis
on them? I know that he generally thought that we should examine
ourselves and create ourselves like a work of art. But what exactly,
if anything, is the art we are trying to make ourselves into? Is it an
objective standard, a relativistic standard based on individual nature,
or perhaps a mixture of the two?
Anyone who answers this message is my personal savior. We have a
tournament coming up in two weeks and if we don't know what we are
talking about we will be in trouble.
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