Re: Re: Miller and the gay F.

Malgosia asks whether I am being too extreme in wanting to exclude 'F.
the gay man' from a reading of, say, 'The History of Sexuality'.

I think my point was to bring into question the nature and purpose of
a complete reading. That is, there are some points of view from which
it may be interesting or useful to take into account all we know
about an author in reading their work. These points of view, however,
are not the only ones, and indeed are not likely to be very useful at
all in understanding works of philosophy and history. What I want
firmly to reject is the perspective that a work can only be
understood as a manifestation of the complete moral personality of
its author.

The most interesting Foucaldian take on this, I think, is the remarks
made in his 1983 interview 'Politics and Ethics' (in Rabinow's 'The
Foucault Reader, and elsewhere). He says
'The key to the personal poetic attitude of a philospher is not to be
sought in his ideas, as if it could be deduced from them, but rather
in his philosophy-as-life, in his philosophical life, his ethos.'

I take from that also the converse - that the ethos of the
philosopher is not the key to their ideas. There are matters which
ought to be reserved for an aesthetics and ethics of existence, but
these are different from the concerns of either politics or critique.


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