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The Illusion Of Influence: On Foucault, Nietzsche, And A Fundamental Misunderstanding, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2019

The Illusion Of Influence: On Foucault, Nietzsche, And A Fundamental Misunderstanding, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

We often say that Foucault was influenced by Nietzsche or, more simply, that Foucault was Nietzschean. That is a gross misunderstanding that fundamentally distorts our reading of Foucault’s writings and, worse, does violence to the critical method. Foucault was no more Nietzschean than he was “mad” because he studied madness or “neoliberal” because he studied Gary Becker’s economic writings. Instead, Foucault took Nietzsche’s discourse as an object of study – in a similar way that he took the discourse of madness, of the prison, and of sexuality as objects of study throughout his intellectual lifetime. Writings of Nietzsche ...


Foucault’S Keystone: Confessions Of The Flesh – How The Fourth And Final Volume Of The History Of Sexuality Completes Foucault’S Critique Of Modern Western Societies, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2019

Foucault’S Keystone: Confessions Of The Flesh – How The Fourth And Final Volume Of The History Of Sexuality Completes Foucault’S Critique Of Modern Western Societies, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

In the final pages of the now-final volume of The History of Sexuality, Volume 4: Les aveux de la chair (“Confessions of the Flesh”), Foucault’s intellectual project comes full circle and achieves its long-awaited completion. In those final pages, dedicated to Augustine’s treatment of marital sexual relations, Foucault reveals the heretofore missing link that now binds his ancient history of sexual relations to his critique of contemporary forms of neoliberal goverance: Foucault discovers in Augustine’s writings the moment of the birth of the modern legal subject and of the juridification of social relations. Like the final piece ...