Re: [Foucault-L] 'care of the self' as an awakening...question

Hi Erik,

Thank you for being so direct. I'm probably not explaining myself properly,
I have the habit of thinking in questions, so I will try to be more clear.

I know the difference between fifth century B.C. Greece and the period of
the Enlightenment. What I'm referring to specifically is Foucault's text
"What is Enlightenment?". He describes Kant's opinion of the Enlightenment
as an 'exit' from the status of 'immaturity'. The 'maturity' that is
referred to is "a modification of the preexisting relation linking will,
authority, and the use of reason". In "The Hermeneutics of the Subject"
Foucault outlines three characteristics of the 'care of the self', the
'epimeleia heautou'. Firstly, "the epimeleia heautou is an attitude towards
the self, others, and the world". Would it be accurate to link this, in the
history of thought, with "a modification of the preexisting relation [of]
authority"? Secondly, "being concerned about oneself implies that we look
away from the outside to [one-self]". Would it be accurate to link the
emergence of the 'care of the self' with a "modification of the preexisting
relation [of] will"? Thirdly, "the epimeleia also always designates a
number of actions exercised on the self by the self, actions by which one
takes responsibility for oneself and by which one changes, purifies,
transforms, and transfigures oneself". Would it be accurate to link this
with reason (an intellectual action that is "exercised on the self by the
self")? Therefore in the history of thought are there correlations between
the viewpoint of the epimeleia heautou and Foucault's interpretation of how
Kant views the 'maturity' of the Enlightenment? I hope this clarifies my


On 5/12/08, Erik Hoogcarspel <jehms@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> Thanks Teresa for giving me the opportunity to read the text again.
> Teresa Mayne schreef:
> > Foucault in *The Hermeneutics of the Subject,* the translations of his
> > lectures from the College de France between 1981 – 1982, states that "in
> his
> > activity of encouraging others to attend to themselves Socrates says
> that
> > with regard to his fellow citizens his role is that of someone who
> awakens
> > them. The care of the self will thus be looked upon as the moment of
> the
> > first awakening".
> The text says 'Socrate est celui qui veille à ce que les concitoyens 'se
> soicient d'euxmêmes'. I would translate this as 'Socrates is the one who
> sees to it that his fellow citizens take care of themselves'. I don't
> know which translation you use, but it seems that reading it is a
> complete waste of time. Perhaps you should think of better things to do
> with it like lighting a barbeque or putting a plant on it.
> > Does this awakening correspond in any way to the
> > awakening of the Enlightenment, which Kant interprets as a way that we
> can
> > free ourselves from the status of immaturity? What I mean is, is
> Foucault's
> > interpretation of Kant another way of formulating how the 'care of the
> self'
> > can be awakened yet again? And then is the 'first awakening' a
> constant,
> > unchanging awakening that is reborn again and again at various times
> during
> > history? I'm thinking of Parmenides here.
> >
> >
> >
> Foucault goes on to describe the kinds of personal training or askesis
> in antiquity. He stresses that for all but Plato taking care of oneself
> was a constant necessity if one would want to have an accomplished life.
> This has nothing to do with the period called enlightenment, which is
> supposed to be the period when the confidence in the Bible was replaced
> with confidence in the light of reason.
> Erik
> Info:
> Weblog:
> Productie:
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> Foucault-L mailing list

  • Re: [Foucault-L] 'care of the self' as an awakening...question
    • From: Edwin Ng
  • Replies
    [Foucault-L] 'care of the self' as an awakening...question, Teresa Mayne
    Re: [Foucault-L] 'care of the self' as an awakening...question, Erik Hoogcarspel
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