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The effect of techniques of the self on Charles Taylor's conception of positive freedom Heilman, James 2008

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The Effect of Techniques of the Self on Charles Taylor’s Conception of Positive Freedom by James Heilman B.A., American University, 2006 A Thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in The Faculty of Graduate Studies (Political Science) The University of British Columbia (Vancouver) November 2008 © James Heilman 2008 Abstract: In this paper I will argue that Charles Taylor’s conception of strong evaluation is, in Michel Foucault’ s terms, a technique of the self. I will then show that this argument has at least two consequences for Taylor’s conception of positive freedom. First, when we evaluate the freedom of a society’s members we should analyze the techniques of the self practiced by those members. Second, strong evaluation is a technique of the self that agents can use to overcome obstacles to their freedom. I will also show that while Foucault is wary of making normative judgments about conceptions of freedom, in his later writings he does seem to endorse techniques of the self that can secure positive freedom for an agent. III Table of Contents Abstract.ii Table of Contents iii Acknowledgments iv Dedication v Chapter One: Introduction 1 Chapter Two: Techniques of the self 3 Chapter Three: Strong Evaluation as a Technique of the Self 8 Chapter Four: Strong Evaluation and Positive Freedom 14 Chapter Five: Foucault and Freedom 22 Chapter Six: Conclusion 26 Bibliography 27 Iv Acknowledgements My thanks go to Bruce Baum for his research recommendations, insightful comments, and meticulous edits. I would also like to thank Laura Janara for exposing me to the works of Michel Foucault and encouraging me to pursue my interest in them. J.H. November 2008 I dedicate this paper to my parents who have provided me with many opportunities to grow as a person. V 1Introduction Charles Taylor argues that agents can transform themselves by exercising their capacity for critical reflection to make, what he calls, strong evaluations of their motivations and values. Furthermore, this capacity is linked to Taylor’s conception of freedom. He espouses a positive view of freedom that entails an agent who “must be actually exercising self-understanding in order to be truly or fully free” (Taylor 1985b, 229). Taylor argues that when agents make strong evaluations — that is, when they “experience (their) desires and purposes as qualitatively discriminated, as higher or lower, noble or base, integrated or fragmented, significant or trivial, good and bad” (Taylor 1 985b, 220) — then they are exercising self-understanding and so they enable themselves to autonomously define their own ends and construct a sense of the type of person they want to be. Moreover, since the capacity for strong evaluation is so closely linked with an agent’s freedom, Taylor is able to evaluate the freedom of members of a society by examining how that society supports the development of capacities for strong evaluation. Taylor’s conception of freedom is quite compelling, as far as it goes. I want to show, however, that we can enhance his conception of freedom by juxtaposing his and Michel Foucault’ s writings about agency. In Foucault’ s later years, he became interested in ascetical practices, “not in the sense of abnegation but that of an exercise of self upon self, by which one tries to work out, to transform one’s self and to attain a certain mode of being” (Becker 1988, 2). He called these practices techniques of the self. I argue that the capacity for strong evaluation is a technique of the self. Furthermore, this argument has at least two consequences for Taylor’s conception of freedom. First, strong evaluation is not the only technique of the self and other techniques can make it harder for an agent to overcome obstacles to his freedom. Therefore, when we evaluate the freedom of a society’s members, not only should we analyze how that society supports the development of capacities for strong evaluation but we should also evaluate the various techniques of the self that are practiced by members of a society since some techniques could make it harder for an agent to overcome obstacles to his freedom. Second, strong evaluation is a technique of the self that enables agents to overcome obstacles to the type of freedom that Taylor writes about. I will begin by giving an overview of Foucault’s writings about techniques of the self and Taylor’s writings about strong evaluation. I will then show why we should treat the capacity for strong evaluation as a technique of the self. After establishing this link between the writings of the two philosophers, I will show that we can make a better evaluation of the 2freedom (in Taylor’s sense of the word) of a society’s members by analyzing the techniques of the self that those members practice. I will also argue that when an agent practices strong evaluation, that agent can overcome obstacles to the type of freedom that concerns Taylor. I will then show that while Foucault is wary of making normative judgments regarding freedom and liberation, in his later writings he seems to endorse something similar to the idea that certain techniques of the self are more desirable than others because they enable people to define and realize their own ends and types of people they want to be. Hence, Foucault seems to endorse those practices that Taylor would consider supportive of an agent’s freedom. I will then conclude by pointing out that the conclusion of my argument does not entail a commitment to any particular technique of the self or form of government in order to achieve the type of freedom Taylor writes about. 3Techniques of the Self To understand how we can enhance Taylor’s conception of freedom by juxtaposing it with Foucault’ s writings about agency we need an understanding of Foucault’ s ideas about power/knowledge and his notion of techniques of the self. Foucault was in part a geneaologist who studied historically constituted practices of agents that were influenced by regimes of power/knowledge. Some of these practices are performed by agents upon themselves. Foucault calls such an act of “self upon self’ a technique of the self. I will examine what Foucault means by power/knowledge and then what Foucault means when he says agents practice techniques of the self. I will then ultimately use this examination to show how we can enhance Taylor’s conception of freedom by thinking of the practice of strong evaluation as a technique of the self. At different periods in his life, Foucault wrote about different concepts. In works such as Disczline and Punish he develops an argument for his conception of modern power. According to Foucault “we must cease once and for all to describe the effects of power in negative terms: it ‘excludes’, it ‘represses’, it ‘censors”, it ‘abstracts’, it ‘masks’, it ‘conceals’. In fact, power produces: it produces reality; it produces domains of objects and rituals of truth.” (Foucault 1977, 194) Furthermore, Foucault did not think that power was located in a single person or institution. Instead, he thinks that there are relationships of power that are dispersed throughout a society. By this he means that “in human relations, whatever they are — whether it be a question of communicating verbally, as we are doing right now, or a questions of a love relationship, an institutional or economic relationship, power is always present: I mean the relationships in which one wishes to direct the behaviour of another” (Becker 1988, 11). Foucault especially focuses on the productive possibilities that arise from the link between power and knowledge. He argues that there is a circular relationship between power and discourses of knowledge. Foucault writes, “knowledge follows the advances of power, discovering new objects of knowledge over all the surfaces on which power is exercised.” (Foucault 1977, 204) So when new relationships of power are created, new discourses of knowledge arise. For example, when the prison was invented a new network of power relationships developed between prisoners, wardens, politicians, psychologists, sociologists, etc. “What then is the use of penal labor? Not profit; nor even the formation of a useful skill; but the constitution of a power relation, an empty economic form, a schema of individual submission and of adjustment to a production apparatus” (Foucault, 1977, 243). As a result of these relationships, new discourses of knowledge were created. “The overall aim was to make the 4prison a place for the constitution of a body of knowledge that would regulate the exercise of penitentiary practice” (Foucault 1977, 250). So new discourses of knowledge arose as a result of the creation of new power relations. Foucault uses the term power/knowledge to denote the modem relationship between the two concepts. On a broad scale, Foucault characterizes the power relationships that exist within a society and their accompanying discourses of knowledge as regimes of truth. Foucault explains what a regime of truth is as follows, Each society has its regime of truth, its general politics of truth: that is, the types of discourse which it accepts and makes function as true; the mechanisms and instances which enable one to distinguish true and false statements, the means by which each is sanctioned; the techniques and procedures accorded value in the acquisition of truth; the status of those who are charged with saying what counts as true. (Dreyfus and Rabinow 1983, 131) It is important point to note that Foucault is criticized for not providing a normative framework that could enable a reader to make normative judgments of relationships of power/knowledge and regimes of truth. Nancy Fraser says about Foucault’s earlier work that “Foucault simply does not take up the question of whether the various regimes he studies provide knowledge that is in any sense true or warranted or adequate or undistorted. Instead of assessing epistemic contents, he describes knowledge production procedures, practices, apparatuses and institutions” (Fraser, 221) Hence, Foucault is interested in constructing a new understanding of power and its relationship to knowledge. He is not interested in situating this understanding within a normative framework. In Foucault’s later works, such as The Care ofthe Se he turns his attention towards techniques of the self. By techniques of the self, he means “how an individual acts upon himself’ (Foucault 1988, 19). In The Care ofthe Se Foucault does not develop a detailed analysis of relationships of power/knowledge or regimes of truth like he had in earlier works. Of course, he does not abandon these concepts. He applies them to his study of the history of how people in the western world engaged in certain practices that are created by regimes of truth with the intent of discovering some truth about themselves. However, Foucault does not break with his earlier work by establishing a normative framework within which he can judge these truths. Instead, he is interested in understanding how people constitute their identity by processes of self-discovery. He asks “how did we directly constitute our identities through some ethical techniques of the self which developed through antiquity down to now?” (Foucault 1988, 146) 5To answer this question, Foucault argues that people try to find a way to relate the regimes of truth that they are embedded in to their identity. “To care for self is to fit one’s self out with these truths” (Becker, 5). He intends to show that when people engage in practices of self-discovery - the techniques of the self — they are influenced by the prevailing regimes of truth and so the truths they discover about themselves are related to these regimes of truth. He explains “my problem has always been, as I said in the beginning, the problem of the relationship between subject and truth. How does the subject enter into a certain game of truth?” (Becker 1988, 9) It is important to get a good handle on what is meant by a technique of the self. Describing the concept as a practice of self-discovery or an act by the self upon the self does not adequately convey Foucault’s intended meaning. So let us look a little more at Foucault’s studies of the techniques of the self. Foucault contrasted the practices used by ancient Greeks and Romans with those used by Christians. For the ancient Greeks and Romans, the care of the self was an important practice for both mastery of the self and political activity. Foucault cites the writings of Seneca as examples of how the self should act upon the self. According to Seneca, a person should conduct a self-examination to become aware of how well one follows rules that will enable one to achieve some purpose. Self-examination for the Greeks and Romans should not result in self-castigation for improper action. Instead, it should result in the strengthening of one’s rational capacity so that one can act wisely. When Foucault is discussing how Seneca conducts a self-examination of his faults, Foucault states that “The fault is not reactivated by the examination in order to determine a culpability or stimulate a feeling of remorse, but in order to strengthen, on the basis of the recapitulated and reconsidered verification of a failure, the rational equipment that ensures a wise behaviour.” (Foucault 1986, 62) The ability to act wisely is especially valued in a ruler. The art of governing was not the successful exercise of particular professional skills but the ability to cultivate one’s rational capacities. A ruler had a function to fill and “that function was not defined in terms of laws belonging to an art of governing others, as if it were a question of a “profession” with its particular skills and techniques. It was to be exercised on the basis of an individual’s “retreat within himself”; that is, it depended on the relationship he established with himself in the ethical work of the self on the self.” (Foucault 1986, 91) Hence, the care of the self was considered an important practice for a man engaged in politics. 6Christian society was marked by different techniques of the self. Foucault highlights two practices that the Christian self engaged in: exomologesis and contemplation. Exomologesis was a public ritual through which a person acted to remove his or her sin and status as a sinner. This ritual was performed during the medieval era in feudal societies that prescribed social statuses to people which strongly determined a person’s role in a community and the actions of others in the community toward that person. In order for one to change one’s status, one had to perform a public ritual. The ritual of exomologesis involved a ceremony that took place among other Christians. The sinner was dressed differently than the others and he would have to perform acts of penitence. The ultimate goal of this ritual was for the sinner to change his social status so that he would be welcomed back by his community. Foucault argued that this ritual was a technique of the self. First the person had to identif’ himself as a sinner and let this identity be known to others. Then the sinner was expected to act upon himself by undergoing the ritual of exomologesis so as to change his status (Foucault 1988, 4 1-3). Contemplation was another technique of the self which was used by Christians. Foucault’s study of the history of monks shows that monks were trained to engage in contemplation of God. This contemplation included a critical self-examination. However, unlike the self-examination practiced by Seneca, which carried the purpose of realizing what rules must be followed and the development of rational capacities, the monk examined himself to purifr himself so that his thoughts would always accord with God’s laws (Foucault 1988, 45-6). Again, this is a practice that a person engages in so that he can bring about a change in himself in this example a purification of the self. The contrast between the ancient and Christian techniques of the self is evident in both the practices themselves and the fact that the ancients engaged in the practice for the preservation of the city while the Christians were concerned with the preservation of the soul (Foucault 1988, 20-1). However, there are also some commonalities between the two techniques which illuminate a fuller meaning of the concept of the technique of the self. First of all, the people who were engaged in these practices were learning about themselves. They were examining their thoughts and actions to determine how closely they followed ethical principles. Hence, a person gains knowledge about himself by practicing a technique of the self. Foucault says that “the care of self is of course knowledge of self’ (Becker 1988, 5). The person could then use this knowledge to better himself. In one case, a person’s rational capacity was 7improved; in the other case, a person’s sin was removed in a public ritual. In both cases, self- improvement is an outcome of the practiced technique of the self. Given this, we could also say that a technique of the self is a means by which a person, at least partly, constitutes her identity. A person learns about herself by means of self- examination. The person then interprets this knowledge as a description of the type of person she is, e.g. a sinner or a virtuous person. Only once this knowledge is gained can the person make this interpretation and so the process of self-examination leads to identity construction. The same can be said of the process of self-improvement. A person can determine the type of person she wants to be once she has this knowledge; the person is constructing the identity that she wants to have. So whenever a person engages in self-examination or self-improvement, that person constitutes an identity. Of course, this person is not the only agent that constitutes her identity. The society in which she is embedded can imbue her with a gender identity, a sexual identity, an economic identity, etc. Certainly these identities influence what a person can learn about herself, e.g. as a result of her feelings towards other women she cannot think of herself as a heterosexual, and the type of person she wants to be, e.g. she might want to liberate herself from her society’s conception of a homosexual woman. Hence, the regimes of truth that ascribe identities to people affect the knowledge a person can gain about herself. However, the techniques of the self enable the person to act on herself so that the regimes of truth do not wholly determine her identity. This attention to the influence of regimes of truth should make us aware of another common feature of different techniques of the self. Each technique is embedded within a particular cultural context that is characterized by its own regimes of truth. The ancients could not have engaged in the form of exomologesis or contemplation that the Christians practiced because the ancients did not construct a social world that put so much emphasis on the type of soul conceived of by Christianity. As Foucault says “these practices are nevertheless not something that the individual invents by himself. They are patterns that he finds in his culture and which are proposed, suggested, and imposed on him by his culture, his society and his social group” (Becker 1988, 11). Therefore, Foucault is not trying to establish that there is a right way to practice a technique of the self. Instead, he shows us that there are different techniques which are the result of the historical context and regimes of truth within which they are embedded. 8Strong Evaluation as a Technique of the Self Given that there are different techniques, we do not have to confine an analysis of the care of the self to only those techniques that Foucault identifies. Taylor also examines a practice in which the self acts upon the self. He calls this practice strong evaluation. We will examine his concept of strong evaluation so that we can then compare it with the characteristics of Foucault’s techniques of the self. We will then see why we can call strong evaluation a technique of the self. According to Taylor, people have the capacity for weak and strong evaluation. Taylor differentiates these two types of evaluation as follows: “In the first case, which we may call weak evaluation, we are concerned with outcomes; in the second, strong evaluation, with the quality of our motivation.” (Taylor 1985a, 16) To illustrate the practice of weak evaluation, Taylor makes use of a hypothetical scenario. Let us say I’m hungry right now but I want to go for a swim in twenty minutes. If I eat now then I won’t be able to swim later. I am confronted with two options that are incompatible; choosing to do one implies forsaking the other. Therefore, my decision is based solely on which activity I desire more at the moment (Taylor 1 985a, 18-9). When we engage in strong evaluation we are doing something different: we are evaluating the motives upon which we act. Our motive can be “defined by a qualitative characterization of desires as higher and lower, noble and base, and so on.” (Taylor 1 985a, 23) In order to make this qualitative characterization, we have to be able to articulate the motivation we acted upon to ourselves. Did we act out of spite, courage, jealousy, charity, etc.? After this articulation is made, the person would know what motivation he acted upon and then he can make an evaluation of this motivation. To use another example posed by Taylor, a person might be wronged by someone and then lash out at the wrong-doer. After lashing out, the person might feel ashamed about his actions. If the person never reflects on the motivation for the action then he might just be left with an uncomfortable feeling about himself. However, if the person reflects on the motivation for the action then he would be able to give a better description of the action. The person could say that the action was motivated by spite. Furthermore, the person might think that spite is an ignoble motivation and so he would feel bad about his action. Hence, the person would come to a better self-understanding because the person would be able to more clearly articulate the motivation for the action and the feeling that accompanied this motivation. So an important characteristic of strong evaluation is the ability to 9be or become articulate about one’s motivations and feelings. “To be a strong evaluator is thus to be capable of a reflection which is more articulate.” (Taylor 1985a, 25) When we engage in strong evaluation, we do not just articulate to ourselves our motivations and feelings, we can also judge these motivations and feelings. If we act out of spite then we could be critical of ourselves or maybe even disapprove of ourselves. We might then realize that we don’t want to be a type of person that acts out of spite; this motivation is incompatible with the type of person we want to be. Once again, we are confronted with incompatibility. However, it is a wholly different type of incompatibility than the type we face when we engage in weak evaluation. We are not trying to decide between two acts that do not have any long term significance, such as eating now or swimming later. Instead, we are trying to decide between different motivations that we think constitute the type of person we are (Taylor 1985a, 19). Taylor writes that “strong evaluation is not just a condition of articulacy about preferences, but also about the quality of life, the kind of beings we are or want to be” (Taylor 1985a, 26). Given that strong evaluation enables us to determine the type of people we are or want to be, Taylor concludes that the practice of strong evaluation is partly constitutive of our identity, i.e. our understanding of who we are. “Our identity is therefore defined by certain evaluations which are inseparable from ourselves as agents.” (Taylor 1985 a, 34) If the person who acted out of spite thought that he was justified in doing so, then we would say that this person would have a different understanding of himself than someone who was remorseful about committing a spiteful action. In the former case, we could say that the person thought that he had the right to take revenge on others while in the latter case the person thought he should have been more considerate of others’ feelings. Hence, a person partly constitutes his understanding of himself by evaluating his motivations and values. Once again, as I noted in my examination of the techniques of the self, the society a person is embedded in imbues that person with certain identities. Taylor, like Foucault, thinks of these identities as social constructions but he does not argue that regimes of truth create, sustain, and change them. Instead, he approaches these identities as shared understandings that exist amongst people within a society. These shared understandings could be conflicting, e.g. homosexuals could have a different understanding of their sexual identity than do fundamentalist Christians. Given this, a homosexual will offer a different evaluation of his sexual activities than a fundamentalist Christian will. Therefore, these ascribed identities do influence the practice of strong evaluation. However, by practicing strong evaluation, an agent 10 will be more aware of how his understanding of certain identities and attitudes towards people with these identities might conflict with the type of person he wants to be. After making such a realization he might change his attitudes. While Taylor, like Foucault, is aware of societal influences on a person’s identity, he is also similar to Foucault insofar as he does not endorse the idea of a foundational human nature or sense of ‘who we really are’ (as if there is some true identity hidden within us which we can discover upon reflection). A person who practices strong evaluation can only do so because he can use culturally shared understandings to make articulations of his motivations and desires. As we saw, these articulations then partly constitute his identity. An important point about these articulations is that they are what Taylor calls “subject-referring properties” (Taylor 1985 a, 54). The articulation only makes sense because it refers to the subject’s experience of reality. For example, the person who feels shame in the example above does so because he has the experience of acting maliciously towards the wrong-doer and he uses shared understandings to make an evaluation of the act; the evaluation of the act as being shameful refers to the subject’s experience (Taylor 1985 a, 53). Of course there can be different evaluations, e.g. in modern Western culture the person might say he acted out of spite while in some traditional societies he might say that he acted out of a duty of vengeance (Taylor 1985b, 226). However, there is no objectively ‘right’ evaluation of the act in the sense that we can be right or wrong when describing how a proton interacts with a neutron. An objectively ‘right’ evaluation in that sense would be right for all intelligent beings at all times. But the evaluation of the malicious act has no such property. The evaluating person uses shared understandings, such as his culture’s shared understanding of what a spiteful action is and the moral value of such an action, when he evaluates his motivations. Subjects who are situated in different cultural contexts will have access to different shared understandings. Even subjects who are situated in the same cultural context could have different interpretations of their culture’s shared understandings. Amongst ourselves “our human experience differs, and this helps shape the language that will be meaningful to us in this area” (Taylor 1985a, 56). Therefore, the evaluation is subject-referring in the sense that it is dependent on the subject’s own personal experience. Different evaluations will be offered by different subjects because they come from different cultural contexts and have different experiences of those contexts and none of the evaluations will be objectively wrong, they will just be different. 1] Hence, there is no true identity that exists independently of a person’s culturally shared understandings. Instead, a person uses culturally shared understandings to evaluate his motivations and values and, thereby, partly constitutes his identity. In Taylor’s words, “our interpretation of ourselves and our experience is constitutive of what we are” (Taylor 1 985a, 47). This examination of the concept of strong evaluation should clarify the similarity between the concept and Foucault’s notion of techniques of the self. Both concepts illuminate how a person can create self-knowledge and then use this self-knowledge to construct an identity. Furthermore, the practice of strong evaluation could lead to self-improvement, a characteristic of techniques of the self. A strong evaluator reflects on her motivations and feelings and so is able to determine if they are reflective of the type of person she wants to be. If they are not, then she can change her motivations in an attempt to become this type of person. In Foucault’ s terms, the capacity for strong evaluation, like the techniques of the self, is an act of the self upon the self. Moreover, both practices are dependent on the culture(s) that have influenced the agent’s understanding of reality. Therefore, given that the practice of strong evaluation is a means by which a subject uses self-knowledge to construct an identity and engages in self-improvement, and given that the practice will yield different results in different cultures, we could conclude that the practice of strong evaluation is a technique of the self. Notice that we should not say that all techniques of the self are examples of strong evaluation. Foucault’ s study of ancient Greek and Christian techniques of the self shows that not all techniques are practices of strong evaluation. For example, Christians created self- knowledge so that they could become virtuous while a strong evaluator creates self-knowledge so that he can autonomously determine the values he wants to hold and the type of person he wants to be. Given this, we would be wrong to label all techniques of the self as practices of strong evaluation. Instead, we should think of strong evaluation as a particular technique of the self. Michael Shapiro offers us a reason as to why we should be cautious of construing the practice of strong evaluation as a technique of the self. Shapiro argues that one of problems with Taylor’s conception of agency is the way in which he addresses questions regarding agency. Shapiro says of Taylor’s approach, “the first difficulty is his posing the problem in Kantian language, asking ‘what’ we are as persons (rather than, for example, how do various historical ages establish conceptions of the self)” (Shapiro, 317). Shapiro contrasts Taylor’s approach to 12 agency with Foucault’s approach. Shapiro writes, “Thus whereas Taylor employs a Kantian mode of problematization, Foucault has investigated modes of problematization” (Shapiro, 322). These different conceptions of agency largely are the result of the two writers’ use of different research methodologies. Foucault is a genealogist while Taylor is a hermeneuticist. These different approaches lead to somewhat different examinations of identity and agency. As a hermeneuticist, Taylor, like Hans-Georg Gadamer, wants to show that we are self-interpreting beings, i.e. we make sense of our experiences by using shared understandings that have been developed within various historical traditions to interpret those experiences. Therefore, he is interested in how we interpret our experience of the world and what we interpret. He argues that strong evaluation is one method for interpretation. Given this, he wants to show that by practicing strong evaluation we partly constitute our own identity. We then use this identity to make sense of why we do what we do and why we hold certain values. Furthermore, he analyzes this practice to show that it is only possible because humans have access to shared understandings that give meaning to our experiences. Foucault is more concerned with why we employ certain practices in order to construct and perpetuate the shared understandings that we utilize. For example, he wants to know why we have come to think it is right to imprison people but not right to torture people. In Shapiro’s terms, Taylor is problematizing ‘what’ we are while Foucault investigates modes of problematizing. That is, Taylor is trying to construct a model of human agency that will be a ground from which we explain our capacity to act. Foucault is trying to show how we come to accept certain models of human agency and what these models tell us about what is true and false, normal and abnormal. So when Taylor is writing about his model of human agency he expends much effort to show that we are strong evaluators, while Foucault is more interested in showing why a society considers some evaluations and practices of evaluations acceptable.’ Of course Foucault does not make such judgments, he is merely interested in the judgments made by a society. One could be confused about the difference between the writers’ methodologies by Foucault’s use of the phrase ‘hermeneutics of the self.’ In a series of lectures Foucault asks the 1 This is not to say that Taylor has no interest in the historical roots of our conception of a human agent. First of all, as a hermeneuticist he recognizes, like Gadamer, that we are situated in historical traditions which influence our interpretations. Furthermore, in an essay entitled ‘Inwardness and the Culture of Modernity’ Taylor traces out the history of thought about the human subject in the Western World (Taylor 1992) and in a book entitled A Secular Age he examines how Western society was transformed from a religious society to a secular society (Taylor 2007). 13 question “how was formed in our societies what I would like to call the interpretive analysis of the self; or, how was formed the hermeneutics of the self in the modern, or at least in the Christian and the modern, societies?” (Foucault 1993, 210-1 1) Foucault’s use of the word hermeneutics, however, is still tied to his genealogical method, as can be seen in the following quote: In spite of the fact that we can find very early in the Greek, in the Hellenistic, in the Latin cultures, techniques such as self-examination and confession, I think that there are very large differences between the Latin and Greek — the Classical — techniques of the self and the techniques developed in Christianity. And I’ll try to show this evening that the modern hermeneutics of the self is rooted much more in those Christian techniques than in the Classical ones. (Foucault 1993, 211) So Foucault thinks of the ‘hermeneutics of the self as a historically constituted practice of self- interpretation that was developed in Christian societies. Foucault does not want to show that interpretation is a foundational characteristic of human agency by studying the ‘hermeneutics of the self.’ He wants to show that we use historically constituted practices and are influenced by regimes of truth when we make interpretations. Hence, in this lecture series, Foucault does not construct a model of agency which includes the capacity for interpretation of shared understandings as a foundational characteristic. Instead, he studies why people engage in different practices of interpretation based on the history of their society and the regimes of truth that exist within that society. In a later interview Foucault states the purpose of his research as follows: What I wanted to know was how the subject constituted himself, in such and such a determined form, as a mad subject or as a normal subject, through a certain number of practices which were games of truth, applications of power, etc. I had to reject a certain a priori theory of the subject in order to make this analysis of the relationships which can exist between the constitution of the subject or different forms of the subject and games of truth, practices of power and so forth. (Becker 1988, 10) While Shapiro provides a good analysis of the differences between Foucault’s and Taylor’s works, we need not think that there are no similarities between their works. Despite the differences in their research methodologies, Foucault and Taylor ultimately make similar conclusions regarding human agency. As I have already shown, both writers think agents exercise practices to create self-knowledge that is then used to construct an identity and both recognize the contextual nature of this self-knowledge and identity. Furthermore, since strong evaluation is a method by which the self acts upon the self in ways similar to those Foucault attributes to techniques of the self, we can consider strong evaluation to be a technique of the self. 14 Strong Evaluation and Positive Freedom As we have seen, a strong evaluator is more aware of the type of person she is and wants to be because the evaluator reflects on her desires and values. For Taylor, this self-awareness is important for a person to be considered free. Taylor argues that a model of freedom must be able to remove internal obstacles that could prevent a person from committing an act and show that a person is free to formulate the type of person she wants to be. Strong evaluation is one method by which a person could make such a formulation and so it is linked to a person’s freedom. However, strong evaluation is not the only method. Agents can and do practice other techniques of the self to constitute their identities and these techniques could have implications for a person’s freedom. Some of these techniques could make it harder for an agent to overcome the internal obstacles that limit his freedom. Given this, we should analyze the techniques of the self that are prevalent in a society when we evaluate the extent to which the members of a society can be considered to be free. Furthermore, the practice of strong evaluation could offer us a method by which we could overcome these obstacles. I will begin to argue for these points by providing an overview of Taylor’s conception of freedom. Taylor builds his conception of freedom upon a positive model as opposed to a negative model. He uses the two terms, i.e. positive and negative freedom, as Isaiah Berlin did in his essay ‘Two concepts of liberty.’2However, Taylor argues that a negative conception of freedom is not a sufficient conception of freedom. For Taylor, a negative conception is “where being free is a matter of what we can do, of what it is open to us to do, whether or not we do anything to exercise this option” (Taylor 1985b, 213) and “it is a sufficient condition of one’s being free that nothing stand in the way” (Taylor 1985b, 213). However, Taylor points out that the extent of an agent’s freedom should not be judged merely by just the removal of external obstacles to an agent’s freedom, such as an oppressive law that disallows religious practices or racist social norms that result in discriminatory social and political practices. He argues that we cannot consider a person free if that person “is totally unaware of his potential, if fulfilling it has never even arisen as a question for him, or if he is paralysed by the fear of breaking with some norm which he has internalized but which does not authentically reflect him” (Taylor 1985b, 213). For Taylor, there are internal, i.e. psychological, obstacles, as well as external obstacles, that can restrict a person’s freedom. These internal obstacles can block a person from formulating or realizing his self-defined ends. He says, “if we think of freedom as including something like 2 Four Essays on Liberty (London, 1969), pp. 118-72 15 the freedom of self-fulfillment, or self-realization according to our own pattern, then we plainly have something which can fail for inner reasons as well as because of external obstacles” (Taylor 1985b, 212). Therefore, any model of freedom must provide an explanation for how a person can realize self-defined ends and how these ends can be blocked by internal and external obstacles. Paul Benson gives us a good example that clarifies this idea of an internal obstacle. Benson describes a young woman who is smart, materially comfortable, socially adjusted and has a good image of herself except for her appearance. She has grown up in society in which ‘being a woman’ entails a concern with staying slim, working on one’s hair, making one’s appearance attractive to men, etc. Women who do not display these traits are considered ‘unwomanly.’ Therefore, the woman in question may come to think that she does not live up to the norms of attractiveness within her society and so she may think she is deficient as a woman (Benson 1991, 387-90). We can imagine that the woman’s negative self-opinion might undermine her self-confidence. Her lack of self-confidence might negatively affect other parts of her life, like her willingness to assert her opinions in a public forum, such as a classroom or workplace, where she thinks others might judge her appearance. We could say that this negative self-opinion inhibits the woman’s freedom to speak her mind. In just such cases, Taylor thinks that the negative conception of freedom is inadequate since it does not address the problem of internal obstacles. The woman’s negative self-opinion is just as much an obstacle to her freedom to assert her opinions as any external obstacle, such as sexist social norms. If the woman cannot overcome this internal obstacle then she might always be unwilling to assert her opinions. For Taylor, “freedom now involves my being able to recognize adequately my more important purposes, and my being able to overcome or at least neutralize my motivational fetters, as well as my way being free of external obstacles” (Taylor 1 985b, 228). Given this, Taylor argues for a conception of freedom that endorses the removal of external and internal obstacles. In order to remove these internal obstacles he says that a person must “have achieved a certain condition of self-clairvoyance and self-understanding” (Taylor 1985b, 229). For example, in order for the woman in Benson’s example to feel confident about asserting her opinions, she must first understand why she has a negative self-opinion (she might not realize that this opinion is the result of her internalization of sexist social norms if she never engages in self-reflection) and then how this negative self-opinion acts as an internal obstacle to her capacity to pursue the ends she desires. In short, she needs to develop self-knowledge. Of 16 course, her freedom could still be inhibited by external obstacles such as sexist societal practices that discriminate against women. But she might never be able to work towards changing these practices if she is unaware of the internal obstacles that result in her low self- esteem. By recognizing the internal obstacles, she can realize that she does not have to accept the societal norms regarding a woman’s appearance and so she might overcome her negative self-opinion. If she does remove this internal obstacle then she will become more free to assert her opinions. Hence, internal obstacles can be overcome as a result of a person’s development of self-knowledge. For Taylor, the practice of strong evaluation enables a person to develop such self- knowledge. As we have seen, Taylor argues that a strong evaluator will be reflective of her desires and values and so the strong evaluator will gain self-knowledge. The strong evaluator can then use this self-knowledge to realize the type of person she wants to be, the life goals that she wants to achieve (both of which could be considered the ‘important purposes’ that Taylor mentions), and the internal obstacles that stand in her way (the ‘motivational fetters’). For example, when the woman in Benson’s example reflects on her opinion regarding her appearance she realizes that it is an internal obstacle which restricts her from asserting her opinions in a public forum. If she can just overcome this obstacle then she would be more free to realize those ends that she considers to be significant, such as being able to assert her opinions. When the woman practices strong evaluation she will be able “to make discriminations among motivations, and accept that acting out of some motivations, for example irrational fear or spite, or this too great need for comfort, is not freedom, is even a negation of freedom” (Taylor 1985b, 222). Given that as a strong evaluator the woman will recognize her more ‘important purposes’ and the internal obstacles that act as ‘negations of freedom,’ we see that the capacity for strong evaluation is basic to Taylor’s conception of freedom; the woman’s freedom is dependent upon her capacity for strong evaluation as well as the removal of external obstacles to her capacity to pursue her more important purposes. When we think of strong evaluation as a technique of the self, we realize that the technique of the self that an agent practices can make it harder for the agent to overcome the internal obstacles that she experiences. As we have seen, the medieval Christian practices of self-reflection are different than the Greek practices and both are different than the practice of strong evaluation. Hence, there are different techniques of the self and we should not assume that all techniques of the self equally enable an agent to define her own ends and the type of 17 person she wants to be. So for the woman in our example, her ability to define her own ends and recognize her opinion regarding her appearance as an obstacle to these ends is partly dependent on her method of reflection. In this example, the woman might be able to overcome her internal obstacle because she practices strong evaluation. However, let us imagine what might happen if the woman practices a different technique of the self. For instance, let us assume that the woman in the example believes that a psychiatrist can help her discriminate amongst her motivations and values so as to realize those that are the most significant to her. However, the psychiatrist could just perpetuate the gender norms already existent in society if he exercises patriarchal practices. Due to the psychiatrist’s patriarchal disposition and the gender norms of his society, he could have a preconceived notion of what type of life will make a woman happy. Given this, the psychiatrist could try to convince the woman to accept this type of life because he thinks it will make her happy. Now the woman will not necessarily just accept the opinions of the psychiatrist. However, she also might not be able to easily dismiss those opinions because her society regards psychiatrists as experts. Therefore, after visiting the psychiatrist, the woman could be more confused about how she should think of her appearance. In such a case, the woman is practicing a particular technique of the self. She believes, as a result of shared understandings within her society, that a psychiatrist can help her overcome negative self-opinions. So the practice of visiting a psychiatrist is a means by which the woman can act upon herself. However, this particular technique of the self contributes to her confusion about how she should overcome her negative self-opinion regarding her appearance. Should she completely eradicate it from her life or, as the psychiatrist recommends, should she overcome it by more fully embracing traits that will make her ‘womanly?’ Therefore, given Taylor’s conception of freedom, we can say that this technique of the self, which reinforces existing gender norms, contributes to the internal obstacle that the woman experiences. This technique of the self has made it harder for the woman to overcome her negative self-opinion because the psychiatrist has reinforced the sexist norms that the woman has internalized. There is also a more subtle means by which techniques of the self can inhibit an agent’s freedom. An agent might experience new internal obstacles when the agent practices a technique of the self that is supposed to liberate people from oppressive norms and practices. Foucault was always wary of the notion of liberation. He states I’ve always been a little distrustfhl of the general theme of liberation, to the extent, that, if one does not treat it with a certain number of safeguards and within certain limits, there is the danger that it 18 will refer back to the idea that there does exist a nature or a human foundation which, as a result of a certain number of historical, social or economic processes, found itself concealed, alienated or imprisoned in and by some repressive mechanism. In that hypothesis it would suffice to unloosen these repressive locks so that man can be reconciled with himself, once again fmd his nature or renew contact with his roots and restore a full and positive relationship with himself. (Becker 1988, 2) He thinks that the idea that a person can liberate herself from false ideologies so as to discover those values and ways of life that have been hidden from her is illusory because “liberation opens up new relationships of power” (Becker 1988, 4). These values and ways of life are still created by relations of power/knowledge, they are not part of some foundational human nature that has been repressed. So an agent is moving from one set of power/knowledge relations to another; the agent is never liberated from power/knowledge relations. For example, the woman could adopt a feminist viewpoint that enables her to create new self-knowledge. She might no longer think she is ‘unwomanly.’ Instead, she might think she is a victim of sexist norms; she has a new understanding of her negative self-opinion regarding her appearance. Therefore, she no longer has to use the terms of the oppressive norms existent in her society when she forms an opinion of her appearance. Instead, she can think of herself as a victim who is able to resist sexist norms and practices. So the woman liberates herself from her negative self-opinion by formulating a new understanding of how she should regard her appearance. Hence, the woman is practicing a technique of the self insofar as she is creating new self-knowledge then uses this knowledge for self-improvement. In this case, the woman improves herself by liberating herself from a negative self-opinion that stems from sexist norms. We can call this technique of the self a liberating technique of the self. Even though the feminist viewpoint might enable the woman to liberate herself from one internal obstacle, she might experience new internal obstacles that stem from this feminist viewpoint. The liberating technique of the self does not enable the woman to achieve some state of freedom that is absent of any obstacles that could limit her freedom nor does she ‘find her nature or renew contact with her roots.’ Instead, it enables her to internalize new values and ways of thinking that she can use to liberate herself from her negative self-opinion. Eventually, some of these values and ways of thinking might conflict with the type of life she wants to lead. However, since she has internalized these values and ways of thinking she might not be able to easily cast them aside. Hence, they could become internal obstacles that prevent her from realizing the type of life she wants to lead. Therefore, even liberating techniques of the self, i.e., techniques of the self that an agent exercises for the purpose of liberating herself from 19 oppressive norms and socio-political relationships, could create internal obstacles to the agent’s capacity to realize the type of life she wants to lead. Notice that if an agent practices strong evaluation, then an agent might be able to overcome the internal obstacles that are reinforced by these other techniques of the self. Earlier, we saw that when the woman in our example reflects on her negative self-opinion, she can realize that it is an internal obstacle that prevents her from exercising full control over her life. Similarly, when a person reflects on the means by which she creates self-knowledge she might recognize these means make it more difficult for her to overcome the obstacles that prevent her from realizing the type of person she wants to be. For example, if the woman reflectively evaluates the psychiatrist’s recommendations she might realize that the psychiatrist is only making it more difficult for her to effectively exert control over her life. By making the evaluation, the woman will be more aware of the type of life she wants to lead and how the psychiatrist’s recommendations inhibit her from realizing this desire. As a result of this evaluation, the woman might decide to cease visiting the psychiatrist. So the practice of strong evaluation could enable the woman to change the means by which she attempts to move past her internal obstacle. In a sense, her evaluation enables her to liberate herself from a practice that reinforces her internal obstacles. Taylor makes a similar point when he writes about moments in our life when we make significant changes, such as changing careers. He says, What makes these biographical changes of outlook/life possible, which seem to be steps toward the truth? Our sense of ourselves, of our identity, of what we are. I see this change as a discovery of what I am, of what really matters to me. And that is why I do not see this as a kind of character change, what a lobotomy might produce, for instance. Rather I see it as a step towards truth (or perhaps better put, it is a step out of error), and even in certain conditions as a kind of liberation. (Taylor 1985b, 180) So by treating the concept of strong evaluation as a technique of the self, we realize that other techniques of the self could contribute to the internal obstacles that a person experiences. Furthermore, an agent who practices strong evaluation might be able to overcome these obstacles. This realization also adds more complexity to an evaluation of a society’s support for freedom. Taylor’s conception of freedom makes it possible to evaluate the extent to which a society supports freedom amongst its members. All other things being equal, those societies that provide more support for the capacity of agents to define and realize their own ends and the type of people they want to be can be considered more free than societies that provide less support. For example, a society that does not guarantee affordable health care for all its 20 members could be considered less free than a society that does make such a provision because some of the members of the former could be so burdened by the costs of medication or surgery that they do not have the financial resources to continue their education beyond high school and so the development of their evaluative capacities could be stunted while the members of the latter could have the financial resources to develop these capacities. As we have seen, the technique of the self that a person practices can make it difficult for a person to overcome an obstacle to that person’s freedom. So when we think of the capacity for strong evaluation as a technique of the self, we realize that when we evaluate the freedom of a society’s members not only should we analyze the means by which the state fosters the development and exercise of self-reflection capacities amongst its members but we should also analyze the techniques of the self that people practice. By doing so, we will achieve a fuller analysis of the freedom of a society’s members. Taylor argued that we should value freedom because it enables a person to define and realize his own ends and the type of person he wants to be. He wrote, “the most inspiring terrain of liberalism is concerned with individual self-realization” (Taylor 1 985b, 229). So we are able to make normative judgments of a society based on the extent to which it secures positive freedom for its members by supporting the development and exercise of capacities for strong evaluation. Insofar as we value freedom as a political good then we can we can consider societies that are more supportive of positive freedom than others, all other things being equal, to be better societies. We can also say that societies that are marked by techniques of the self that are more self-empowering than the techniques prevalent in other societies can also be considered freer and, therefore, better because people who use techniques of the self that are more self-empowering than other techniques will be better able to define and realize their own ends and types of people they want to be. Hence, by analyzing the techniques of the self that agents practice we enhance our ability to make normative judgments about the freedom of a society’s members. For example, the woman in Benson’s example could be considered more free when she acts upon herself by adopting a feminist viewpoint than when she acts upon herself by visiting the patriarchal psychiatrist. The former technique of the self is at least a means by which she can identify a new set of motivations and values that enable her to overcome her negative self opinion while the latter technique of the self confuses her in regards to how she should overcome this internal obstacle. Of course, the new set of motivations and values might 21 eventually clash with the type of person the woman wants to be so there is still the potential that this technique of the self restricts the woman’s freedom. Nevertheless, since a feminist viewpoint encourages a critical approach to thinking about one’s life and society, it at least provides the woman with a critical method of evaluation. Hence, she could overcome any internal obstacles that arises from this feminist viewpoint because she would already be practicing a critical method of evaluation. In effect, she could practice something similar to strong evaluation. So, a society that is marked by techniques of the self that involve the idea of liberation could be considered more free and, therefore, better than societies marked by patriarchal practices of psychiatry. 22 Foucault and Freedom It should be noted that Foucault might not have endorsed the idea that we can evaluate a society’s freedom so as to make a normative judgment about that society. In his later writings though, he did seem to open up the possibility that we could make normative judgments about a society based on the extent to which it enables its members to define and realize their own ends and the types of people they want to be. Prior to these later writings, Foucault was criticized for his lack of a normative framework or for a confused normative framework. Taylor remarked about Foucault’s analyses of power/knowledge that he dashes the hope, if we had one, that there is some good we can affirm, as a result of the understanding these analyses give us. And by the same token, he seems to raise a question whether bring evils to light; and yet he wants to distance himself from the suggestion which would seem inescapably to follow, that the negation or overcoming of these evils promotes a good. (Taylor 1985b, 152) In a similar vein, Nancy Fraser says [Foucault] tends to assume that his account of modem power is both politically engaged and normatively neutral. At the same time, he is unclear as to whether he suspends all normative notions or only the liberal norms of legitimacy and illegitimacy. To make matters worse, Foucault sometimes appears not to have suspended the liberal norms after all but, rather, to be presupposing them. (Fraser 1992, 218-9) However, other writers have pointed out that in his later work, Foucault seemed to be moving towards arguing that certain techniques of the self and certain relations of power/knowledge are better than others. James W. Bernauer and Michael Mahon point out “Foucault’s last writings put forward an ethical interrogation, an impatience for liberty, for a freedom that does not surrender to the pursuit of some messianic future but is an engagement with the numberless potential transgressions of those forces that war against our self-creation” (Bernauer 2005, 164). Arnold Davidson observed that “for Foucault philosophy was a spiritual exercise, an exercise of oneself in which one submitted oneself to modifications and tests, underwent changes, in order to learn to think differently” (DavidsOn 2005, 131). Davidson then argues that this direction of Foucault’s thought is intended to make us aware of how we perform this exercise of the self and that by raising this awareness Foucault enables us “to take account of ourselves, of who we have become, of how we might become different” (Davidson 2005, 143). In an even stronger statement, Thomas L. Dumm contends, For [Foucault], the critical ontology of ourselves is a way of practicing freedom that does not vacillate between two poles of specific liberation and revolutionary transformation but, instead, operates as what might be called a situating force. By engaging in a critical ontology of ourselves, 23 we engage in what Foucault calls “a patient labor giving form to our impatience for liberty.”3 Such a practice can enable us to generate ways of being free under conditions that would seem improbable at best, conditions that are themselves the results of the normalizing power of our time (Dumm 2002, 143-4). All of these arguments stem from Foucault’s later writings regarding the freedom of an agent. For Foucault, an important feature of power relationships was that “the other (the one over whom power is exercised) be thoroughly recognized and maintained to the very end as a person who acts; and that, faced with a relationship of power, a whole field of responses, reactions, results, and possible inventions may open” (Foucault 1982, 220). Given this, “power is exercised only over free subjects, and only insofar as they are free. By this we mean individual or collective subjects who are faced with a field of possibilities in which several ways of behaving, several reactions and diverse comportments may be realized” (Foucault 1982, 221). For Foucault, agents are free insofar as they can react to a power relationship. Notice that this notion of freedom is different than Taylor’s. He treats it as a basic feature of any agent who is situated within a power relationship, while Taylor treats it as a political good. So Foucault’s notion of freedom is not built on an argument calling for the guarantee of certain political liberties or the support for an agent’s self-realization. Given this, he does not focus his attention on how people can be liberated from relationships of power by structuring a political system that is inclusive of political liberties and support for self-realization. Instead, he focuses on how people exercise the freedom they have within power relationships. For example, when he was discussing the idea of sexual liberation he says, “Does the expression ‘let us liberate our sexuality’ have a meaning? Isn’t the problem rather to try to decide the practices of freedom through which we could determine what is sexual pleasure and what are our erotic, loving, passionate relationships with others?” (Becker 1988, 3) Hence, Foucault was arguing that there are certain ways of practicing the freedom we have within power relationships so that we can achieve the type of self-realization that Taylor is concerned with; the agent can exercise the freedom he has within power relationships to attempt to define what sexual pleasure is for him. In order for an agent to achieve self-realization, Foucault recognizes that the level of domination has to be minimized within relationships of power. Foucault points out that not all power relationships are characterized by the same level of domination. He says, “there are Michel Foucault, “What is Enlightenment?” in Paul Rabinow, ed., The Foucault Reader (New York: Pantheon, 1984), 50. 24 effectively states of domination. In many cases the relations of power are fixed in such a way that they are perpetually asymmetrical and the margin of liberty is extremely limited.” (Becker 1988, 12) Hence, there are some relations of power, such as that between a master and a slave, which are characterized mainly by domination and so can be considered states of domination. However, other relations of power, such as that between a politician and his electorate, are not characterized by the same level of domination. In order to minimize the level of domination, Foucault recognized that there are political conditions as well as techniques of the self that could make such self-realization possible. When he was discussing what he called games of power, i.e. how power is exercised within societal relationships, he said an agent should be able “to give one’s self the rules of law, the techniques of management, and also the ethics, the ethos, the practice of self, which would allow these games of power to be played with a minimum of domination” (Becker 1988, 18). So Foucault does recognize that there are social and political conditions that enable a person to achieve self-realization. These conditions are the rules of law and techniques of management, as well as techniques of the self that limit the degree of domination within power relationships so that agents can practice their freedom to define their own ends and the type of people they want to be (in Taylor’s words they can achieve self-realization). Notice that Foucault’s conception of freedom does not enable us to declare that one society is better than others because it secures more freedom for its members. As we saw, Taylor’s conception of freedom does allow for such an evaluation. Since Foucault conceives of freedom as a basic feature of an agent situated within a power relationship, he cannot say that one society provides more freedom to its members than other societies and, therefore, is a better society. However, he still seemed to be moving in a direction that would enable him to make normative judgments about a society. Societies that are marked by rules of law, techniques of management, and techniques of the self which minimize domination within power relationships and so enable agents to achieve self-realization could be considered better than societies that do not minimize domination to the same extent. In other words, societies that enable an agent to practice his freedom within power relationships in such a way that he is able to achieve self realization could be considered better than societies that inhibit his ability to achieve self realization by limiting the ways in which he can practice his freedom. Hence, Foucault, like Taylor, seemed to support societies that are characterized by practices that enable agents to define their own ends and the type of people they want to be. So while Foucault did not adopt Taylor’s conception of freedom, he did seem to endorse those practices which Taylor would consider to be supportive of or examples of positive freedom. 25 26 Conclusion To summarize, we have seen that we should not just treat the capacity for strong evaluation as a basic capacity of all agents. Instead, we should treat it as a technique of the self. Once we think about techniques of the self that are different than the practice of strong evaluation we then realize that some techniques of the self can contribute to the internal obstacles to a person’s freedom, in the sense Taylor uses the concept. However, by making strong evaluations, a person can overcome these obstacles. Given that some techniques of the self can contribute to the obstacles to a person’s freedom, when we evaluate the freedom a society’s members we must analyze the techniques of the self practiced by those members. By doing so, we enhance our ability to make a normative judgment regarding that society. Furthermore, while Foucault might not have advocated such an evaluation of freedom, in his later writings regarding freedom he did seem to endorse a society that enables its members to practice their freedom, in the sense that he used the concept, so that they can define and realize their own ends and the types of people they want to be. I now want to conclude by pointing out that no where have I argued that only the practice of strong evaluation or one form of government can enable people to achieve self-realization. I have merely tried to show that if we are concerned with enabling people to achieve self- realization then we have to pay attention to the techniques of the self that they practice. Nevertheless, it will be useful, so long as we value self-realization, to think about those techniques of the self and those forms of government that do enable people to achieve self- realization. In doing so, though, we should be wary of the dominating potentials of these techniques and forms of government. As Foucault says, My point is not that everything is bad, but that everything is dangerous, which is not exactly the same as bad. If everything is dangerous, then we always have something to do. So my position leads not to apathy but to a hyper- and pessimistic activism. I think the ethico-political choice we have to make every day is to determine which is the main danger. (Dreyfus and Rabinow 1983, 231-32) 27 Bibliography Bernauer, James W. And Michael Mahon. (2005) “Michel Foucault’s Ethical Imagination.” In Garry Gutting, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Foucault: Second Edition. New York: Cambridge University Press. Becker, Helmut, Raul Fornet-Betancourt, and Aifredo Gomez-Muller. (1988) “The Ethic of Care for the Self as a Practice of Freedom.” In James Bernauer and David Rasmussen, eds., The Final Foucault. Cambridge: The MIT Press. Benson, Paul. (1991) “Autonomy and Oppressive Socialization.” In Social Theory and Practice, Vol. 17, No. 3 (Fall 1991). Davidson, Arnold I. (2005) “Ethics as Ascetics: Foucault, the History of Ethics, and Ancient Thought.” In Garry Gutting, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Foucault: Second Edition. New York: Cambridge University Press. Dreyfus, Hubert and Paul Rabinow. (1983) Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Dumm, Thomas L. (2002) Michel Foucault and the Politics ofFreedom. Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. Foucault, Michel. (1977) Discipline & Punish: The Birth ofthe Prison, tr. Alan Sheridan. New York: Vintage Books. Foucault, Michel. (1982) “The Subject and Power.” In Hubert Dreyfus and Paul Rabinow, Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics. Chicago: Univeristy of Chicago Press. Foucault, Michel. (1986) The Care ofthe Setf The History ofSexuality Volume 3. New York: Random House. Foucault, Michel. (1988) “The Political Technology of Individuals.” In Luther H. Martin, eds. et. al., Technologies ofthe Sef Amherst: The University of Massachusetts Press. Foucault, Michel. (1993) “About the Beginning of the Hermeneutics of the Self: Two Lectures at Dartmouth.” In Political Theory, Vol. 21, No. 2 (May 1993). 28 Fraser, Nancy. (1992) “Foucault on Modern Power: Empirical Insights and Normative Confusions.” In Peter Burke, ed., Critical Essays on Michel Foucault. Rants: Scolar Press. Shapiro, Michael J. (1986) “Review: Charles Taylor’s Moral Subject.” In Political Theory, Vol. 14, No. 2 (May 1986). Taylor, Charles (1985a) Human Agency and Language: Philosophical Papers I. Bath: Cambridge University Press. Taylor, Charles (1985b) Philosophy and the Human Sciences: Philosophical Papers II. USA: Cambridge University Press. Taylor, Charles (1992) “Inwardness and the Culture of Modernity.” In Axel Honneth, eds. et. al., Philosophical Interventions in the Unfinished Project ofEnlightenment. Cambridge: The MIT Press. Taylor, Charles (2007) A Secular Age. Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

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