Re: fromm/the genealogy of ethics

Quetzil Castaneda writes:

>>now, its been a while since I looked at the late F. but I don;t buy or
>understand this proposition here about a subject being "differentiated" from
>power circuits by itself. perhaps if you mean authority structures, ok,
>yes; but if power relations and networks are what shape the discourses and
>practices that constitute subjects/subjectivities through the definition of
>the problems /"problematizations" of self then what could you mean by "a
>subject differentiates itself from the circulation of power?"

Choice, especially aesthetic choice, seems to imply a subjective
transcendental. It is different than resistance in which opposing power is
already apart of the act.

>>nowhere in f. that i know of, does foucault ever deny that individuals have
>choice or that there are other modes of power than the
>microphysical/disciplinary etc.; he does not deny individual choice/action,
>but neither does he study/analyze it per se. So, I would say that even in
>early and mid foucault, yes, subjects are in posit8ions of choice/choosing,
>but those are contained, shaped, regulated beyond the individ.

Yes, the specific intellectual is another Foucault alternative. One which
in an early post I noted seemed to fit Foucault better.

>>>I ask you, is choice in the late-Foucault a matter of purchasing a new
>VCR, television, computer, and the like. Is choice compulsive shopping at
>>>strip-malls and television watching? Is this an aesthetics of existence?
>>I don't understand your question/issue here. when you ask the question "is
>choice in F." it seems that you presuppose that choice has some essential
>nature quality; that there is true choice and pseudo-true/authentic choice.
>maybe I am wrong but here you read fouucault as somehow close to Fromm by
>your reading of F. that is already assuming frommian/enlightenment
>propositions about freedom/choice.
>>Of course yes there is an aesthetics of stripmalls and shopoping in them.
>that you find it distasteful does nothing to make it less of an aesthetic of
>existence; its a different cultural universe than that of the ancient greeks
>no doubt, but there are problematizations and technologies of self operating
>in the malls.

Yes, what I am saying is that Foucault is idealizing a certain kind of
choice. Please explain to me further your Foucauldian "aesthetics of

>>>And if it's not, what can be cited in foucault's corpus to separate the
>>>different kinds of freedom which seem implicit?
>>To my understanding there is no classification of different types of
>freedom in Foucault. I always thought that his work sought to subvert and
>overcome taht kind of thinking or at least analysis of the world. "freedom"
>is soio-culturally and historically constituted; change only leads to a
>different game/regime of power/truth, no?

Seems to be a difference between a bureaucrat caught up in truth-formation
which only extends the disciplinary forces and a specific intellectual who
resists such influences. There are different ways to play within a given
game of truth. I agree that Foucault tried to in most of his philosophy
avoid traditional Enlightenment categories of freedom and "liberation," but
what I'm arguing is that unlike Nietzsche (will-to-power) Foucault lacks any
foundation for his late emphasis on ethics which is self-mastery or

>>I don't know if you are so much as reducing foucault --- afterall this is a
>newsgroup -- as misreading him, of course, according to the way I have read

Foucault admits in the following interview to a shift in his later writings.
I would also encourage you to look at _Foucault's Nietzschean Genealogy_,
_Truth and Eros: Foucault, Lacan, and the Question of Ethics_, and
_Foucault & the Political_.

Interviewer: Is there not a 'leap' between your previous thought on this
problem and that of subjectivity/truth and specifically beginning with the
concept of care for self?

Foucault: Up to that point, the problem of the relationship between the
subject and games of truth had been faced in two ways: either beginning
with coercive practices -- (as in the cased of psychiatry and the
penitentiary system) -- or in forms of theoretical and scientific
games...Now, in my courses at the College de France, I try to grasp the
problems through one might call a practice of the self, a phenomenon which I
believe to be very important in our societies since Greek and Roman times,
even though it has hardly been studied. In Greek and Roman civilizations
these practices of the self had a much greater importance than later on....

Interviewer: There is now a sort of shift: these games of truth no longer
are concerned with coercive practices but with practices of self-formation
of the subject?

Foucault: That is correct. It is what one might call an ascetical
practice, giving the word 'ascetical' a very general meaning, that is to
say, not in the sense of abnegation but that of an exercise of self upon
self by which one tries to work out, to transform


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