Senecan moods: Foucault and Nietzsche on the art of the self

Ure, Michael (2007) Senecan moods: Foucault and Nietzsche on the art of the self. Foucault Studies, 1 4: 19-52.

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Author Ure, Michael
Title Senecan moods: Foucault and Nietzsche on the art of the self
Journal name Foucault Studies
ISSN 1832-5203
Publication date 2007-02-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 1
Issue 4
Start page 19
End page 52
Total pages 34
Place of publication Brisbane, QLD, Australia
Publisher Queensland University of Technology
Language eng
Subject 440105 History of Philosophy and History of Ideas
440110 Social Philosophy
780106 Political science and public policy
2203 Philosophy
Formatted abstract
This paper examines Foucault's history of the ancient practices of the self. It suggests that his historical reconstruction usefully distinguishes quite different models of self-cultivation in antiquity, and in doing so helps us to identify and understand the parameters and ambitions of much nineteenth-century German philosophy, especially the ethics of self-cultivation Nietzsche formulates in his middle works. However, it also shows how Foucault's casual formulation of an 'aesthetic of existence' is seriously misleading as a guide to the ancient practices of the self, most notably the Stoic tradition. This paper argues that Foucault does not properly take into account how Stoicism conceives the desire to flee from or break with oneself, which Foucault places at the centre of his own askesis, as a pathological agitation that requires therapy. From the Stoic perspective, in other words, Foucault's askesis of constantly losing oneself is symptomatic of a failure to care for oneself.
Keyword Philosophical therapy
Aesthetic of existence
Q-Index Code CX
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

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Created: Fri, 22 Feb 2008, 00:56:23 EST by Lesley Colling on behalf of Faculty of Arts