Bulletin of the American Society Of French Philosophy--"Is


Issue #4: "Is Michel Foucault a Philosopher?"
Co-editors: Alex Galloway and Alexander Glage

Deadline for Submissions: February 15, 2002

Is Michel Foucault a philosopher? The question might seem problematic,
perhaps even naive. After all, the very category of "philosopher" (or,
for that matter, the categories of "historian," "sociologist," "doctor,"
etc.) is just the sort of thing that Foucault sought to historicize, and
thereby to put into question. Indeed, at the heart of Foucault's work is
a persistent concern, not only with the way various knowledges have
constituted their respective "objects" at different moments in history,
but also with the way those knowledges have existed alongside one
another, shaping themselves through often tenuous and shifting

Nevertheless, the question of whether Foucault is philosopher might yet
be a profitable one, especially if posed within the context of his later
works. In Foucault's introduction to the second volume of "The History
of Sexuality," for instance, he writes that the labor which gave rise to
that text was not, strictly speaking, that of an historian, but was
instead a "philosophical exercise." He admits that,

"The object was to learn to what extent the effort to think
one's own history can free thought from what it silently thinks,
and so enable it to think differently."

Indeed, Foucault goes so far as to say that this very effort, this
"critical work that thought brings to bear on itself," this reflection
that the subject performs upon itself so as to enable it to "think
differently," might very well be "the living substance of philosophy."
"Philosophy" in this sense would be irreducible to a purely academic
distinction: it would rather name a certain way of living, an "art of

The possibility that such an "art" lies at the heart of Foucault's work,
and that this art is aptly named "philosophy," forms the general
framework for Issue #4 of the "Bulletin of the American Society of
French Philosophy." We invite submissions having to do with the
relationship between Foucault's work and philosophy, or which otherwise
take up, in a way inspired by Foucault's writings, the possibility of
thinking "philosophy" beyond its merely academic or disciplinary status--
that is, philosophy conceived as an "ascesis" or "art of existence."

Submissions may take the form either of full-length scholarly articles,
or of shorter, more personal "testimonies" regarding the author's
relationship to Foucault's life and work. Deadline for submissions is
February 15, 2002. Please email submissions in Word format to
alex@xxxxxxxxxxx and glage@xxxxxxxxx.

Partial thread listing: