Foucault and the Indefinite Work of Freedom
Publication Year: 2012
This book argues that Foucault, on the contrary, like Hegel, sees freedom as tied to the self-movement of thought as it realizes and shapes the world. Unlike Hegel, however, he does not see in that self-movement the process of Spirit reconciling itself with the world and thereby realizing itself as freedom. Rather, he sees in the freedom at the core of the self-movement of thought a possible threat around which that movement consolidates itself and gives shape to the world.
Foucault’s work is therefore not a simple rejection of Hegel’s speculative philosophy of history, but rather an inversion of the manner in which history and freedom are related: for Hegel history realizes or actualizes the “idea” of freedom, whereas for Foucault freedom realizes or actualizes the “materiality” of history.
Published by: University of Ottawa Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
Table of Contents
The following chapters incorporate material previously published. Chapter One incorporates, with modifications, text published...
Like our lives, does history unfold? To what extent is history relevant to our attempts to make sense of our unfolding lives? These are the underlying questions that animate the...
A. Philosophical Underpinnings
I. Foucault and the Idea of History
My concern in the general introduction was with the speculative philosophy of history and with raising the question of its relevance...
II. History Considered Generally: Thinking Freedom through Domination
In the last chapter, my aim was to place Foucault’s work within the general field of history as a preoccupation for philosophers of history...
III. Foucault after Hyppolite: Toward an A-Theistic Theodicy
My primary concern in this book is to explore the way Michel Foucault’s work challenges the notion that a sense of history (like the sense of history developed in classical philosophies...
B. The Histories
IV. Madness and the Cunning of Reason
Why are Foucault’s histories so disconcerting? as Charles Taylor perspicuously pointed...
V. A Contrastive History of Punitive Reason
They usually lie just on the outskirts of our cities, neither surrounded by trees nor shrouded in mist. On the contrary, were it not for the barbed...
VI. From History as Self-Awareness to Self-Wariness through History
What kind of sense of history does one retain after having read Discipline and Punish? Many no doubt see in this history of the prison a kind of metaphor of our world: we are...
Conclusion: The Indefinite and Undefined Work of Freedom as History
Neither a postulate nor a presupposition, freedom is the work of history. This is the basic claim of the philosophy of history as I understand it. Turning one’s attention to history...