HMB472H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Roman Empire, Techne, Bodymind

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Published on 14 Apr 2013
School
UTSG
Department
Human Biology
Course
HMB472H1
Professor
Practices and Sciences of the Self Foucault’s Ethics
…the task was to bring to light the domain where the formation, development, and
transformation of forms experience can situate themselves: that is, a history of thought. By
thought, I mean, what establishes, in a variety of possible forms, the play or true and false, and
which as a consequence constitutes the human being as a subject of learning (connaissance); in
other words, it is the basis for accepting or refusing rules, and constitutes human beings as
social and juridical subjects; it is what establishes the relation with oneself and with others, and
constitutes the human being as ethical subject. (Foucault 1980, p. 334)
Power relations that predate our individual lives make possible, but do not determine, the form
of our subjectivity
It is by means clear which modes of knowledge will be produced, for how long they will be
accepted as legitimate or to what effect they will be adopted by individuals.
Genealogy of ethics
…the problem was: which techne [art] do I have to use in order to live as well as I ought to live?
(Foucault 1980, p. 348)
Video clip
Who are we?
How have we come to be as moral subjects?
Historical & genealogical examinations of shifting ethical conduct help to understand how
people (at different points in time) are invited and incited to recognize their moral obligations
Foucault’s Ontology of Ethics Across Three Periods Cooper & Blair, 2002
Historical Place &
Time
Ethical Substance
(ethical sites)
Mode of
Subjection (moral
impulse)
Self-forming
Activity (ethical
practices)
Telos (ethical
ends)
Ancient Greece
Body/mind take
care of self
Youthful shame
during dialogue
with teacher
Exercise: dialectic
gymnastics
Good citizen;
leadership in the
polis
Imperial Rome
Mind/body know
thyself
Quiet separation
from others
before death
Introspection:
diaries, letters,
retreats, listening
Ethos: mastery of
the self
Early Christianity
Mind/soul
renounce the self
Religious
engagement with
a master
Excavation of guilt:
confession,
penance,
witnessing
Atonement;
coming close to
God
History of sexuality provides an overview of the ways in which through self-discipline or
ascesis we develop a sense of self or ‘rapport de soi’ (ethics)
Use of ancient systems as a way of opening up the exploration of other possibilities of living or
caring for the self.
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Document Summary

Practices and sciences of the self foucault"s ethics. The task was to bring to light the domain where the formation, development, and transformation of forms experience can situate themselves: that is, a history of thought. Power relations that predate our individual lives make possible, but do not determine, the form of our subjectivity. It is by means clear which modes of knowledge will be produced, for how long they will be accepted as legitimate or to what effect they will be adopted by individuals. The problem was: which techne [art] do i have to use in order to live as well as i ought to live? (foucault 1980, p. 348) Historical & genealogical examinations of shifting ethical conduct help to understand how people (at different points in time) are invited and incited to recognize their moral obligations. Foucault"s ontology of ethics across three periods cooper & blair, 2002.

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