In this Book

Foucault and the Indefinite Work of Freedom
summary
This work underscores the need to examine history philosophically, not only to better appreciate how it unfolds and relates to our own unfolding lives, but to better appreciate our free engagement in this changing world. Linking a conception of ourselves as free beings to the historical process was of central importance to the classical speculative philosophies of history of the nineteenth century, most notably Hegel’s. Michel Foucault’s work is often taken to be the antithesis of this kind of speculative approach.
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.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. pp. 1-1
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  1. Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
  2. pp. 2-5
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  1. Table of Contents
  2. pp. 6-6
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  1. Acknowledgements
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-50
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  1. A. Philosophical Underpinnings
  2. pp. 51-52
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  1. I. Foucault and the Idea of History
  2. pp. 53-110
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  1. II. History Considered Generally: Thinking Freedom through Domination
  2. pp. 111-152
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  1. III. Foucault after Hyppolite: Toward an A-Theistic Theodicy
  2. pp. 153-204
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  1. B. The Histories
  2. pp. 205-206
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  1. IV. Madness and the Cunning of Reason
  2. pp. 207-262
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  1. V. A Contrastive History of Punitive Reason
  2. pp. 263-326
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  1. VI. From History as Self-Awareness to Self-Wariness through History
  2. pp. 327-386
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  1. Conclusion: The Indefinite and Undefined Work of Freedom as History
  2. pp. 387-418
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  1. Works Cited
  2. pp. 419-430
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 431-467
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