In Timothy O'Leary & Christopher Falzon (eds.), Foucault and Philosophy. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 222--245 (2010)

Chris Falzon
University of New South Wales
One fundamental point of agreement that emerged between Foucault and Habermas is that both rejected the Kantian paradigm of critique grounded in the notion of a transcendental subject. For Foucault, genealogy is a form of history that can account for the constitution of knowledge, discourses, etc. without reference to a constitutive subject; while central to Habermas's approach is his rejection of the "philosophy of the subject" in favor of the "intersubjectivist paradigm of communicative action". For Foucault, the end of "man;' a foundational subject providing ultimate normative yardsticks, is not the creation of a deficiency but "the unfolding of a space in which it is once again possible to think". His critical work seeks "to know to what extent it is possible to think differently, rather than legitimating what is already known" ; to promote new forms of self, thought, and action, and to give impetus to the "undefined work of freedom". Yet without direction, doesn't this amount to an unrestricted notion of autonomy? Influenced perhaps by Nietzsche, Foucault calls on us to "create ourselves as a work of art", but without guidance for self-creation, aren't we left only with arbitrary choices, an "aesthetic decisionism," in which one has to take "irrationalist leaps" to affirm anything?
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