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The Hermeneutics of the Subject: Lectures at the College de France 1981-82 Hardcover – March 10, 2005

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The Hermeneutics of the Subject: Lectures at the College de France 1981-82 + The Government of Self and Others: Lectures at the College de France, 1982-1983 (Lectures at the Collège de France) + The Courage of Truth (Lectures at the Collège de France)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; First Edition edition (March 10, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312203268
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312203269
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.9 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,440,485 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Is the 'self' capable of reaching the truth when only equipped with knowledge? Or can it attain the truth without a 'long labor of ascesis?' Why is the concept of the 'care of the self' neglected by Western thought despite its vital role in constructing the concept of 'know yourself'? These ethical questions and more are elegantly discussed in Foucault's third volume of lectures from the Collège de France. Foucault's contribution to modern thought is so enormous that philosophy cannot be approached without reference to his works; like Nietzsche, he questions the Western belief of one center that holds the absolute truth. Instead, he argues for multiple centers and stresses the importance of marginal events in shaping the social and cultural entity of the West. Here, Foucault examines the notion of the self in Western thought, speaking with poetic insight about the genealogy of this concept in all its associations with power, knowledge, and religion. He thus plants the seeds for his more analytical works, such as The History of Sexuality. Recommended for public and academic libraries with large philosophy collections."—Library Journal

About the Author

Michel Foucault, acknowledged as the preeminent philosopher of France in the ’70s and ’80s, continues to have enormous impact throughout the world in many disciplines.

Series editor Arnold I. Davidson teaches philosophy, divinity, comparative literature, and history of science at the University of Chicago, and is executive director of the journal Critical Inquiry. He is co-editor of the anthology Michel Foucault: Philosophie.

Translator Graham Burchell has written essays on Michel Foucault and was an editor of The Foucault Effect.

More About the Author

One of the leading intellectuals of the twentieth century and the most prominent thinker in post-war France, Foucault's work influenced disciplines as diverse as history, sociology, philosophy, sociology and literary criticism.

Michel Foucault (1926-1984) was a French historian and philosopher associated with the structuralist and poststructuralist movements. He is often considered the most influential social theorist of the second half of the twentieth century, not only in philosophy but in a wide range of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. Among his most notable books are Madness and Civilization, Discipline and Punish, and The History of Sexuality.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A reader reader on January 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
With wit and subtlety, Foucault tells here the story of how Western philosophy became progressively disengaged from life -- and, more importantly, what (and how) philosophy sought to teach us before that fatal split. The result is a long but consistently engaging series of historical meditations on the relevance of philosophy to everyday life. For those of us who never had a chance to attend Foucault's lectures (at the College de France 500 audience members reportedly overflowed a 300 person lecture hall in order to hear Foucault make these weekly presentations of his previous year's research), reading these clearly translated lectures makes for a truly mind expanding experience, and I found these to be the most stimulating of the three lectures courses translated so far (although "Society Must be Defended" is really wonderful too!)
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By Jeffrey Rubard on July 17, 2014
Format: Paperback
The College de France is one of the more peculiar institutions of world intellectual life, where a handful of the very most prominent French intellectuals give public lectures on their current research every year. Michel Foucault was elected chair in the "History of Systems of Thought", in stead of the famous Hegelian Jean Hyppolite, in 1970; for the remaining fifteen years of his life he gave lectures on his evolving thinking about intellectual history and social systems, lectures which have in the last fifteen years progressively been translated into English. *Hermeneutics of the Subject*, lectures given in 1981 and 1982, is the largest volume to eventuate from this and my personal favorite: some of the ground Foucault covers has been seen before in volumes 2 and 3 of his *History of Sexuality*, but the majority of the text is a breathtakingly novel treatment of "Hellenistic" culture as it shades into medieval Christianity and the importance of "pastoral" care for individual well-being in forming the modern psyche as distinct from that of the "Axial" age.

Foucault's interest in the Stoic and Epicurean techniques of "care for the self" could register as the blankest narcissism before the publication of these lectures, but one could justifiably say that what is found here is Foucault's analysis of evolving Christianity in the manner of his famed analyses of the asylum, the medical clinic, and the prison.
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12 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Henrique Antoun on August 20, 2007
Format: Paperback
I repute this book one of the best because the class take the moment that Foucault discover subjectivity as more powerful than power, when secularization leave people free of religion. The book, as the other of collection, was done taking the tapes and Foucault`s class notes and rebuilding the class lesson. It`s very detailed, more than 550 pages. Foucault works with I and II century of Roman Empire, but he put it in perspective. Greeks and Roman Republic, Roman transition and then Roman democratic empire. He follows how epicureans, cynics and stoics reacts face the rise of Roman Empire. He tries to distinguish the parrhesi­a (fearless speech and freedom) as a different dimension between the Platonic epistrophe and the Christian metanoia vis a vis the transformation of the relationship of self care and self knowledge. After the rise of empire, public life becomes mundanity and the relationship between self care with self knowledge includes a conversion to yourself that differentiate parrhesi­a from epistrophe and metanoia. The last two had erased completely the meaning of parrhesía in the ancient world, deleting an original sense of truth and subjectivity where the subject was tied with the truth talked by himself. Epistrophe was the reminiscence of a past world/life, and the metanoi­a was the conversion to a new world/life, but parrhesia was the conversion to himself understood as the present and truth world/life. I think that the book is the Foucault`s "What Is The Philosophy?" The pages where he opposes paidea and parrhesi­a are a lesson about the difference between truth in mass media and truth in web media; the truth of blogosphere, forums and alike. The rescue of parrhesi­a`s meaning in the ancient society is a very actual problem and show ours spiritual and social troubles in a new light.Read more ›
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