Foucault's analysis of an aesthetics of existence is presented as an instrument to practice ethical thought without the presupposition of an autonomous subject. The implications of Foucault's aesthetics of existence for ethical thought are traced to the work of Nietzsche. In Foucault's work, experiences of oneself are not a given, but are constituted in power relations and true-and-false games. In the interplay of truths and power relations, the individual constitutes a certain relationship to him- or herself. Foucault designated the relation (...) to oneself and one's existence as the main area of ethical concern and the most important field where aesthetic values are to be applied. In his aesthetics of existence, he invited the individual to problematize the relationship with the self and by using 'self-techniques' to transform it into a work of art. The relation to intimate others, shaped as friendship, is crucial to this ethical-aesthetic approach. Key Words: aesthetics of existence ethics Foucault friendship Nietzsche subjectivity. (shrink)
Foucault’s vocabulary of arts of existence might be helpful to problematize the entwinement of humans and technology and to search for new types of hybrid selves. However, to be a serious new ethical vocabulary for technology, this art of existence should be supplemented with an ongoing critical discourse of technologies, including a critical analysis of the subjectivities imposed by technologies, and should be supplemented with new medical and philosophical regimens for an appropriate use of technologies.
The happiness of non-identity: Michel Foucault’s search for self-loss beyond modern and Christian confession This article focuses on Michel Foucault’s notion of a ‘happy limbo of non-identity’, formulated in his epilogue to the diary of the ‘hermaphrodite’ Barbin (1838-1868). From the eighteenth century onwards, the incitement to put sex and gender into discourse has limited this freedom to be indeterminate. Using The Will to Knowledge and Confessions of the Flesh, Part I and IV of Foucault’s History of Sexuality, this article (...) describes five main features of modern and early Christian confessional practices. What similarities and differences are there? What is constituted and lost in these practices? Using Foucault’s suggestions in essays to enjoy sexual and other pleasures without confessing, it shows that he decouples ‘self-loss’ from negative Christian self-denial as well as from positive, modern self-constitution. Self-loss thus becomes the moment in which the self can transcend itself and explore new modes of subjectivation. (shrink)
Filosoof en arts Marli Huijer, de opvolger van René Gude als Denker des Vaderlands, is geen studeerkamergeleerde, al schreef ze meerdere boeken, zoals het recente Ritme en Discipline. Ze is geen tegen-, geen mee-, maar een tussendenker, ze wil de stemmen van allerlei verschillende mensen laten klinken. In de interviews in Het leven is niet leuk als je je mond houdt praat Peter Henk Steenhuis met haar over haar inspiratiebron Hannah Arendt, haar overstap van haar werk bij de methadonpost in (...) Beverwijk naar de filosofie, haar bijdrage aan het Filosofisch Elftal van Trouw, hoe wij met elkaar omgaan, hoe je jezelf kunt disciplineren, Simone de Beauvoir en Martha Nussbaum, de participatiesamenleving, omgaan met teleurstellingen, bevolkingsonderzoeken. In deze veelheid van onderwerpen benadrukt Huijer keer op keer dat het belangrijk is je vrijmoedig uit te spreken.00. (shrink)
In this paper, we explore the desires that play a role at the palliative stage and relate them to various approaches to patient autonomy. What attitude can physicians and other caregivers take to the desires of patients at the palliative stage? We examine this question by introducing five physicians who are consulted by Jackie, an imaginary patient with metastatic lung carcinoma. By combining the models of the physician-patient relationship developed by Emanuel and Emanuel (1992) and the Hellenistic approaches to desires (...) analyzed by Nussbaum (1994), five different ways of dealing with desires in the context of palliative care are sketched. The story of Jackie shows that desires are to a certain extent responsive to reasoning. In the palliative process, that can be a reason to devote attention to the desires of patients and caregivers and to determine which desires need to be fulfilled, which are less important, and how they are linked to emotions the patient has. (shrink)
Being attentive to the needs of others, feeling responsible for each other, and taking care are necessary elements for the good life. Care, however, is a fragile activity: it is hard to predict its results. In this article, Homer's story of the Phaeacians bringing Odysseus back to Ithaca is interpreted to investigate what care could be when we admit the fragility of care. We consider two theoretical perspectives on care to interpret the story, namely Martha Nussbaum’s Aristotelian ethics, and the (...) Ethics of Care approach of authors like Ruddick, Sevenhuijsen, Tronto, Verkerk and others. In the first approach, the emphasis is on the attitude of care; in the second, on care as a social practice. Following Nussbaum, the caring response of the Phaeacians can be understood as an example of what Aristotle called ‘practical rationality’. The unexpected result of their care – they come into conflict with Poseidon – shows the fragility of human life and the tragic condition of humanity. According to Nussbaum, one should take responsibility for the fact that choosing for the one implies neglecting the other . From the perspective of Ethics of Care, the caring response is not so much the result of individual virtues; it is rather an element of a care practice that motivates people to act in conformity with basic values like solidarity and responsibility. The fragility of care is regarded as an ordinary quality of praxis and humanity rather than something essentially tragic. In the process of caring, misfortunes can never be totally prevented. Whenever they happen, they should be used as a way to learn and develop more adequate ways of handling the situation. The comparison of the two perspectives, both inspired by Aristotle's philosophy, gives rise to a richer view of the fragility of care. (shrink)
In de loop van de evolutie heeft het menselijk lichaam allerlei temporaliteiten ontwikkeld. Deze stellen bepaalde grenzen aan het lichaam. Recente ontwikkelingen in de chronobiologie weerleggen de veronderstelling dat deze grenzen eigen zijn aan het lichaam. Met behulp van het begrip ‘eigentijd’ betoog ik dat deze grenzen bepaald worden door de interactie tussen lichaamseigen en lichaamsvreemde tijden.
This article presents an artistic and political experiment as an effort to advance democratic transactions in the life sciences. Artists built a ‘gender democratic labyrinth’ in Maastricht, in which scientists, women’s groups, people in general, artists, philosophers, politicians, journalists, clinical geneticists and many others interacted and negotiated on the creation of human embryos for medical-scientific research. By taking a gender perspective on the process of democratizing science, we aimed to create a space in which alterity and difference are constitutive elements (...) in the public exchanges on science and technology. The idea to build a labyrinth was theoretically based on the notion of agonistic democracy - in which pluralism is the result of contestations and divisions - and on a notion of science and technology as being contextualized and socialized. (shrink)