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Sartre, Foucault, and Historical ReasonA Poststructuralist Mapping of History$
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Thomas R. Flynn

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780226254708

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226254722.001.0001

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Sartre on Violence, Foucault on Power: A Diagnostic

Sartre on Violence, Foucault on Power: A Diagnostic

(p.230) Chapter Ten Sartre on Violence, Foucault on Power: A Diagnostic
Sartre, Foucault, and Historical Reason
University of Chicago Press

Foucault's interest in courageous speech (parrhesia) formed the topic of his last courses at Berkeley and at the Collège de France. This chapter compares parrhesia with Sartrean authenticity as well as parrhesiastic history with “authentic” history. The similarity between Sartre ‘s theory of history as a tale of violence and oppression and Foucault's appeal to strategy and tactics as the conceptual vehicle for making sense of history have been alluded occasionally. The chapter examines the nature and ground of these claims in detail, locating them in the broader context of each author's reflections on violence and/or power. In both cases, they have immediate relevance to the general problem of the nature of historical reason. The topic of violence is one of a number of areas where the interests and writings of these two major theorists overlap. In proposing these reflections, the chapter casts some light not only on the nature and forms of violence and their relevance to historical understanding but also on the larger question of the possibilities and limits of dialogue between existentialist and poststructuralist philosophers in general.

Keywords:   Sartre, Foucault, spatialized reasoning, courageous speech, history, violence, existentialist philosophers, poststructuralist philosophers

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