• Freedom as critique: Foucault beyond anarchism

    Author(s):
    Karsten Schubert (see profile)
    Date:
    2020
    Group(s):
    Political Philosophy & Theory
    Subject(s):
    Foucault, Michel, 1926-1984, Power (Social sciences), Liberty, Political science, Normativity (Ethics)
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    freedom as critique, subjectification, Democracy, modal robustness, Michel Foucault, Power, Freedom, Political theory, Normativity
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/h4za-d777
    Abstract:
    Foucault’s theory of power and subjectification challenges common concepts of freedom in social philosophy and expands them through the concept of ‘freedom as critique’: Freedom can be defined as the capability to critically reflect one’s own subjectification, and the conditions of possibility for this critical capacity lie in political and social institutions. The article develops this concept through a critical discussion of the standard response by Foucault interpreters to the standard objection that Foucault’s thinking obscures freedom. The standard response interprets Foucault’s later works, especially The Subject and Power, as a solution to the problem of freedom. It is mistaken, because it conflates different concepts of freedom that are present in Foucault’s work. By differentiating these concepts, this paper proposes a new institutionalist approach to solve the problem of freedom that breaks with the partly anarchist underpinnings of Foucault scholarship: As freedom as critique is not given, but itself a result of subjectification, it entails a demand for ‘modal robustness’ and must therefore be institutionalized. This approach helps to draw out the consequences of Foucault's thinking on freedom for postfoundationalist democratic theory and the general social-philosophical discussion on freedom.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    2 years ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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