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By James D. Faubion

ISBN-10: 052118195X

ISBN-13: 9780521181952

Via an formidable and important revision of Michel Foucault's research of ethics, James Faubion develops an unique software of empirical inquiry into the moral area. From an anthropological viewpoint, Faubion argues that Foucault's specification of the analytical parameters of this area is the best aspect of departure in conceptualizing its targeted beneficial properties. He additional argues that Foucault's framework is short of significant revision to be of certainly anthropological scope. In making this revision, Faubion illustrates his software with prolonged case stories: one in all a Portuguese marquis and the opposite of a twin topic made of the writer and a millenarian prophetess. the result's a conceptual equipment that's in a position to accommodate moral pluralism and yield an account of the bounds of moral edition, delivering a unique solution of the matter of relativism that has haunted anthropological inquiry into ethics on account that its inception. [C:\Users\Microsoft\Documents\Calibre Library]

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Like Dover and many others before him, Foucault further recognizes that the praise or blame that a Greek man might garner for his sexual practices does not, again, fundamentally hinge on what we would understand as his orientation – and it is this precisely that is the linchpin of Foucault’s judgment that the ancients did not conceive of sexuality as we now know it (1985: 187–189). It is likely that every free-born citizen male was expected ceteris paribus to marry and produce children, but such august exceptions as Plato are enough to underscore that even that expectation fell short of being a hard and fast rule.

He is among them in fact. As man, he cultivated his share of evasions. As poet, in content and in style, he was Foucault’s artist-cynic par excellence. In the interest of conserving paper (and limiting costs), I have refrained from including my treatment of Cavafy in the book proper. It can be found instead at my personal website: http://anthropology. id=50. Cavafy’s residence in Alexandria does not allow me to pretend that I am anything more than a Euro-Americanist – should anyone care to insist on the point.

Any ethical substance is ethically neutral or, better put, conceived neither as irredeemably evil nor as always already and incorruptibly good – here Hegel’s treatment is left definitely behind. In the typical case, it is some dimension of what is understood to be constitutive of or a part or aspect of the very being of the subject to whose ethical realization it might serve as resource or roadblock or both. The ethical substance that Foucault deems of particular relevance in pursuing the Greek beginnings of his genealogy of sexuality is – again – carnal pleasures (ta afrodisia in the ancient language, a term that – in a marvelous instance of semantic and ethically substantive drift – now denotes venereal diseases in modern Greek), of which sexual pleasure is one.

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An Anthropology of Ethics by James D. Faubion


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