History of Political Thought 20 (2):337-356 (1999)

This essay examines Foucault's stance towards the Enlightenment as formulated in three works he published in the last decade of his life. These works represent a partial modification of Foucault's attitude to the Enlightenment, rather than the dramatic shift claimed by some commentators. In order to substantiate this claim, the essay provides a reconstruction and critical assessment of three articles Foucault devoted to Kant and the Enlightenment, namely, ‘Qu'est-ce que la critique?’ , ‘Kant on Enlightenment and Revolution’ , and ‘What is Enlightenment?’ . It argues that Foucault's reformulation of Enlightenment ideals in terms of an ethos of transgression and an aesthetic of self-fashioning is much closer to Nietzsche's vision of a transvaluation of values than to Kant's notion of maturity and responsibility
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