Fearless Speech

Front Cover
Zone Books, 2001 - Philosophy - 183 pages
4 Reviews
I would like to distinguish between the 'history of ideas' and the 'history of thought.' The history of ideas involves the analysis of a notion from its birth, through its development, and in the setting of other ideas, which constitute its context. The history of thought is the analysis of the way an unproblematic field of experience becomes a problem, raises discussions and debate, incites new reactions, and induces crisis in the previously silent behaviors, practices, and institutions. It is the history of the way people become anxious, for example, about madness, about crime, about themselves, or about truth.

Comprised of six lectures delivered, in English, by Michel Foucault while teaching at Berkeley in the Fall of 1983, Fearless Speech was edited by Joseph Pearson and published in 2001. Reviewed by the author, it is the last book Foucault wrote before his death in 1984 and can be read as his last testament. Here, he positions the philosopher as the only person able to confront power with the truth, a stance that boldly sums up Foucault's project as a philosopher.

Still unpublished in France, Fearless Speech concludes the genealogy of truth that Foucault pursued throughout his life, starting with his investigations in Madness and Civilization, into the question of power and its technology. The expression "fearless speech" is a rough translation of the Greek parrhesia, which designates those who take a risk to tell the truth; the citizen who has the moral qualities required to speak the truth, even if it differs from what the majority of people believe and faces danger for speaking it.

Parrhesia is a verbal activity in which a speaker expresses his personal relationship to truth through frankness instead of persuasion, truth instead of flattery, and moral duty instead of self-interest and moral apathy.

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Review: Fearless Speech

User Review  - Trevor - Goodreads

"Fearless Speech" takes the form of a series of lectures to examine the identity and role of the truth-teller, using examples from classical drama and philosophy. Using this problematic identity as a ... Read full review

Review: Fearless Speech

User Review  - Jess - Goodreads

I wish this book was in print so I could actually have a physical copy of it. Read full review

Contents

Editors Preface
7
The Evolution of the Word
20
The Phoenician Women
28
Copyright

3 other sections not shown

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About the author (2001)

Michel Foucault was born on October 15, 1926, in Poitiers, France, and was educated at the Sorbonne, in Paris. He taught at colleges all across Europe, including the Universities of Lill, Uppsala, Hamburg, and Warsaw, before returning to France. There he taught at the University of Paris and the College of France, where he served as the chairman of History of Systems of Thought until his death. Regarded as one of the great French thinkers of the twentieth century, Foucault's interest was in the human sciences, areas such as psychiatry, language, literature, and intellectual history. He made significant contributions not just to the fields themselves, but to the way these areas are studied, and is particularly known for his work on the development of twentieth-century attitudes toward knowledge, sexuality, illness, and madness. Foucault's initial study of these subjects used an archaeological method, which involved sifting through seemingly unrelated scholarly minutia of a certain time period in order to reconstruct, analyze, and classify the age according to the types of knowledge that were possible during that time. This approach was used in Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason, for which Foucault received a medal from France's Center of Scientific Research in 1961, The Birth of the Clinic, The Order of Things, and The Archaeology of Knowledge. Foucault also wrote Discipline and Punishment: The Birth of the Prison, a study of the ways that society's views of crime and punishment have developed, and The History of Sexuality, which was intended to be a six-volume series. Before he could begin the final two volumes, however, Foucault died of a neurological disorder in 1984.

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