In 1980, Michel Foucault began a vast project of research on the relationship between subjectivity and truth, an examination of conscience, confession, and truth-telling that would become a crucial feature of his life-long work on the relationship between knowledge, power, and the self. The lectures published here offer one of the clearest pathways into this project, contrasting Greco-Roman techniques of the self with those of early Christian monastic culture in order to uncover, in the latter, the historical origin of many of the features that still characterize the modern subject. They are accompanied by a public discussion and debate as well as by an interview with Michael Bess, all of which took place at the University of California, Berkeley, where Foucault delivered an earlier and slightly different version of these lectures.
Foucault analyzes the practices of self-examination and confession in Greco-Roman antiquity and in the first centuries of Christianity in order to highlight a radical transformation from the ancient Delphic principle of “know thyself” to the monastic precept of “confess all of your thoughts to your spiritual guide.” His aim in doing so is to retrace the genealogy of the modern subject, which is inextricably tied to the emergence of the “hermeneutics of the self”—the necessity to explore one’s own thoughts and feelings and to confess them to a spiritual director—in early Christianity. According to Foucault, since some features of this Christian hermeneutics of the subject still determine our contemporary “gnoseologic” self, then the genealogy of the modern subject is both an ethical and a political enterprise, aiming to show that the “self” is nothing but the historical correlate of a series of technologies built into our history. Thus, from Foucault’s perspective, our main problem today is not to discover what “the self” is, but to try to analyze and change these technologies in order to change its form.
Acts of Repair explores how ordinary people grapple with decades of political violence and genocide in Argentina—a history that includes the Holocaust, the political repression of the 1976–1983 dictatorship, and the 1994 AMIA bombing. Although the struggle against impunity seems inevitably incomplete, Argentines have created possibilities for repair through cultural memory, yielding spaces for transformation and agency critical to personal and political recovery.
Has South Africa dealt effectively with the past, and is the country ready to face the future? What are the challenges facing both government and civil society in the years ahead? These and other questions are explored in this collection of essays by international and local commentators on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
A range of perspectives on whether the TRC met its objectives of truth and reconciliation is presented. The areas of particular contention-the payment of reparation, the granting of amnesty, and memorialization-are also examined.
Finally, the major challenges facing South Africa are identified, and ways of meeting these challenges and developing the assets of the nation are explored.
Contributors: Haribert Adam, Kanya Adam, Alex Boraine, Colin Bundy, Mary Burton, John de Gruchy, Richard Goldstone, Willem Heath, Wilmot James, Jeffrey Lever, Mahmood Mamdani, Gary Minkley, Njabulo Ndebele, Dumisa Ntsebeza, Kaizer Nyatsumba, Grace Naledi Pandor, Mamphela Ramphele, Ciraj Rassool, Albie Sachs, Patricia Valdez, Linda van de Vijver, Jan van Eck, Frederik Van Zyl Slabbert, Charles Villa-Vicencio, Francis Wilson, and Leslie Witz
We inhabit a time of crisis—totalitarianism, environmental collapse, and the unquestioned rule of neoliberal capitalism. Philosopher Jean Vioulac is invested in and worried by all of this, but his main concern lies with how these phenomena all represent a crisis within—and a threat to—thinking itself.
In his first book to be translated into English, Vioulac radicalizes Heidegger’s understanding of truth as disclosure through the notion of truth as apocalypse. This “apocalypse of truth” works as an unveiling that reveals both the finitude and mystery of truth, allowing a full confrontation with truth-as-absence. Engaging with Heidegger, Marx, and St. Paul, as well as contemporary figures including Giorgio Agamben, Alain Badiou, and Slavoj Žižek, Vioulac’s book presents a subtle, masterful exposition of his analysis before culminating in a powerful vision of “the abyss of the deity.” Here, Vioulac articulates a portrait of Christianity as a religion of mourning, waiting for a god who has already passed by, a form of ever-present eschatology whose end has always already taken place. With a preface by Jean-Luc Marion, Apocalypse of Truth presents a major contemporary French thinker to English-speaking audiences for the first time.
One of Norway’s most celebrated literary figures of the nineteenth century, Henrik Wergeland worked tirelessly for the civil rights of Jews in Norway. He used the words and structure of his poetry to enliven the ideals of truth, freedom, and equality. This translated volume, containing several of Wergeland’s most prominent poems, beautifully encapsulates the compelling force of his message, allowing its enduring influence to benefit a wider contemporary audience.
In The Art of Reading as a Way of Life: On Nietzsche’s Truth Daniel T. O’Hara traces critically the current reception and translation of Nietzsche’s corpus and then some of Nietzsche’s boldest textual experiments in the art of reading as a way of life, including those in The Birth of Tragedy, The Gay Science, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, The Anti-Christ, and Ecce Homo.
The shape of this critical tracing begins, however, in the middle of his career with The Gay Science andmoves on to Thus Spoke Zarathustra, which Nietzsche believed was the central work of his life. It then revalues Ecce Homo, Nietzsche’s final autobiographical statement about his life and career, and concludes with a comparative analysis of two works from the beginning and end of that career: respectively, The Birth of Tragedy and The Anti-Christ. O’Hara’s highly original study, which uses Badiou’s theory of the truth-event as a guide, will surely provoke larger conversations across many disciplines.
In these learned essays, Joseph M. Levine shows how the idea and method of modern history first began to develop during the Renaissance, when a clear distinction between history and fiction was first proposed. The new claims for history were met by a new skepticism in a debate that still echoes today.
Levine's first three essays discuss Thomas More's preoccupation with the distinction between history and fiction; Erasmus's biblical criticism and the contribution of Renaissance philology to critical method; and the way in which Renaissance rhetoric, as in Thomas Elyot's Book of the Governor, continued to inhibit the autonomy of history. He then shows how these issues persisted into the eighteenth century, even as critical method developed. He concludes with a close description of the great controversy that culminated in Edward Gibbon's day over the authenticity of a biblical text that had been used for centuries to defend the Trinity but which turned out to be a forgery. Levine shows how by then all sides were ready to concede the autonomy of history.