Here’s the blurb:
The lectures given by Michel Foucault in 1983 at the Collège de France launch an inquiry into the notion of parrēsia and continue his rereading of ancient philosophy. Through the study of this notion of truth-telling, of speaking out freely, Foucault re-examines Greek citizenship, showing how the courage of truth forms the forgotten ethical basis of Athenian democracy. He describes how, with the decline of the city-states, the courage of truth is transformed and becomes directed personally to the Prince’s soul, giving us a new reading of Plato’s seventh letter. The platonic figure of the philosopher king, the condemnation of writing, and Socrates’ rejection of political involvement are some of the many topics of ancient philosophy revisited in Foucault’s lectures.
In the midst of brilliant interpretations of Greek tragedy, political theory, and philosophy, Foucault allows us to rethink the role, the significance, and the transformation of practices of parrēsia from antiquity to the present. Moreover, in these lectures Foucault constructs a figure of the philosopher in which he recognized himself and with this rereading of Greek thinkers he assures his own placement in philosophical modernity, problematizes his own function, and defines his mode of thinking and being.
‘Modern philosophy is a practice which tests its reality in its relationship to politics. It is a practice which finds its function of truth in the criticism of illusion, deception, trickery, and flattery. Finally, it is a practice which finds the object of its exercise in the transformation of the subject by himself and of the subject by the other. Philosophy as exteriority with regard to a politics which constitutes its test of reality, philosophy as critique of a domain of illusion which challenges it to constitute itself as true discourse, and philosophy as ascesis, that is to say, as constitution of the subject by himself, are what constitute the modern mode of being of philosophy’.
Filed under: Lectures