"From Athens to Paris: Foucauldian Ethics and the Cross-Cultural Politics of Asceticism"
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William Tilleczek, PhD Candidate, Department of Government, Harvard University.
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Panagiotis Roilos, Faculty Associate. George Seferis Professor of Modern Greek Studies, Department of the Classics; Professor of Comparative Literature, Department of Comparative Literature, Harvard University.
Dimitrios Yatromanolakis, Associate Professor, Department of Classics, Department of Anthropology, and the Humanities Center, The Johns Hopkins University.
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In this talk, I will discuss Foucault’s ethical thought in its close relation to his particular vision of the political. I will focus on Foucault’s theoretical investigation of ancient Greek philosophical ways of life and the ancient “culture of the self,” and show how he used these cases to build a general theory of ethics that can be helpfully employed across time and place. Of particular interest is Foucault’s focus on the ‘ascetic’ or practicing dimension of ethical life. I conclude with some reflections on the impact of these ideas for our understanding of industrial discipline and the ‘entrepreneurship of the self’ in contemporary Europe and North America.