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Foucault's Critical Ethics

The central thesis of FoucaultGCOs Critical Ethics is that FoucaultGCOs account of power does not foreclose the possibility of ethics; on the contrary, it provides a framework within which ethics becomes possible. Tracing the evolution of FoucaultGCOs analysis of power from his early articulations of disciplinary power to his theorizations of biopower and governmentality, Richard A. Lynch shows how FoucaultGCOs ethical project emerged through two interwoven trajectories: analysis of classical practices of the care of the self, and engaged practice in and reflection upon the limits of sexuality and the development of friendship in gay communities. These strands of experience and inquiry allowed Foucault to develop contrasting yet interwoven aspects of his ethics; they also underscored how ethical practice emerges within and from contexts of power relations. The gay communityGCOs response to AIDS and its parallels with the feminist ethics of care serve to illustrate the resources of a Foucauldian ethicGCoa fundamentally critical attitude, with substantive (but revisable) values and norms grounded in a practice of freedom.
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Table of Contents

Introduction: Michel Foucault as critical theorist 1. Approaching power from a new theoretical basis 2. Disciplinary power: testing the Hobbesian hypothesis 3. Reframing the theory: biopower and governmentality 4. Freedom's critique: the trajectories of a Foucauldian ethics Conclusion: To struggle with hope Appendix: Michel Foucault's shorter works in English Acknowledgments Notes Bibliography Index

About the Author

Richard A. Lynch teaches philosophy at St. Ambrose University and is founder of The Foucault Circle.

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