Subjectivity, Reflection and Freedom in Later Foucault

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This paper proposes a new reading of the interaction between subjectivity, reflection and freedom within Foucault’s later work. I begin by introducing three approaches to subjectivity, locating these in relation both to Foucault’s texts and to the recent literature. I suggest that Foucault himself operates within what I call the ‘entanglement approach’, and, as such, he faces a potentially serious challenge, a challenge forcefully articulated by Han. Using Kant’s treatment of reflection as a point of comparison, I argue that Foucault possesses the resources to meet this challenge. The key, I contend, is to distinguish two related theses about reflection and freedom: Foucault’s position is distinctive precisely because he accepts one of these theses whilst rejecting the other. I conclude by indicating how this reading might connect to the longstanding question of Foucault’s own right to appeal to normative standards.
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First archival date: 2016-02-26
Latest version: 2 (2016-02-26)
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