More fkucault, however, Socrates teaches the student not just how to respect the limits of his knowledge, but he teaches the student how to relate to himself, how to care for himself — a relation that is both a kind of practice or exercise askesis and love eros [ 7 ]. Articles containing Ancient Greek-language text. Philos Ethics Humanit Med. He devotes his last two lectures respectively to the practices of parrhesia both in human relationships and by parrheisa of techniques to be learned and applied in achieving the character of the parrhesiast.

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Foucault, Michel Basingstoke; New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Necessity of the other for the practice of truth-telling about myself 5 However, even if the role of this other person who is indispensable for telling the truth about oneself is uncertain or, if you like, polyvalent, even if it appears with a number of different aspects and profiles—medical, political, and pedagogical—which mean that it is not always easy to grasp exactly what his role is, even so, whatever his role, status, function, and profile may be, this other has, or rather should have a particular kind of qualification in order to be the real and effective partner of truth- telling about self.

Nor is it, as in modern culture, an institutional qualification guaranteeing a psychological, psychiatric, or psychoanalytic knowledge. The qualification required by this uncertain, rather vague, and variable character is a practice, a certain way of speaking which is called, precisely, parrhe—sia freespokenness. So it is the truth subject to risk of violence. In a way, the parrhesiast always risks undermining that relationship which is the condition of possibility of his discourse. The parrhesiast, on the contrary, is the courageous teller of a truth by which he puts himself and his relationship with the other at risk.

Parrhe—sia is not a skill; it is something which is harder to define. It is a stance, a way of being which is akin to a virtue, a mode of action. The prophet, by definition, does not speak in his own name. He speaks for another voice; his mouth serves as intermediary for a voice which speaks from elsewhere.

The parrhesiast is not someone who is fundamentally reserved. On the contrary, it is his duty, obligation, responsibility, and task to speak, and he has no right to shirk this task. Anyway, this truth- telling establishes a filiation in the domain of knowledge.

Now we have seen that the parrhesiast, to the contrary, takes a risk. He risks the relationship he has with the person to whom he speaks. I insist on this; I would like to stress it: they are essentially modes of veridiction. The ontological modality of truth- telling, which speaks of the being of things, would no doubt be found in a certain modality of philosophical discourse.

The technical modality of truth- telling is organized much more around science than teaching, or at any rate around a complex formed by scientific and research institu-tions and teaching institutions. And the parrhesiastic modality has, I believe, precisely disappeared as such, and we no longer find it except where it is grafted on or underpinned by one of these three modali-ties.

Revolutionary discourse plays the role of parrhesiastic discourse when it takes the form of a critique of existing society. Philosophical discourse as analysis, as reflection on human finitude and criticism of everything which may exceed the limits of human finitude, whether in the realm of knowledge or the realm of morality, plays the role of parrhe-sia to some extent.

And when scientific discourse is deployed as criticism of prejudices, of existing forms of knowledge, of dominant institutions, of current ways of doing things—and it cannot avoid doingthis, in its very development—it plays this parrhesiastic role.

He does not venture to give advice to the city publicly by appearing before the people. Socrates will not be Solon. We are dealing with a parrhe-sia which, in its foundation and in the way it unfolds, is clearly very different from political parrhe-sia.

But to what end? To encourage them to take care, not of their wealth, reputation, honors, and offices, but of themselves, that is to say, of their reason, of truth, and of their soul phrone-sis, ale-theia, psukhe.

T hey must at tend to them-selves. This definition is crucial. Oneself in the relation of self to self, oneself in this relation of watching over oneself, is [first] defined by phrone-sis,39 that is to say, practical reason, as it were, reason in practice, the reason which enables good decisions to be taken and false opinions to be driven out. What is at stake in this new form of parrhe-sia is the foundation of e-thos as the principle on the basis of which conduct can be defined as rational conduct in accordance with the very being of the soul.

Ze-te-sis, exetasis, epimeleia. Ze-te-sis is the first moment of Socratic verid-iction—the search. Exetasis is examination of the soul, comparison of the soul, and test of souls. Epimeleia is taking care of oneself. He shifts their effects by embedding them in an investigation of truth. Second, he establishes the difference from the speech, the veridiction, the truth- telling of the sage by radically distin-guishing his object.

He does not speak of the same thing and his search is not pursued in the same domain. Finally, he establishes a difference in relation to the discourse of teaching by, if you like, reversal. Where the teacher says: I know, listen to me, Socrates will say: I know nothing, and if I care for you, this is not so as to pass on to you the knowledge you lack, it is so that through understanding that you know nothing you will learn to take care of yourselves.

But this courage is not to be employed on the political stage where this mission cannot in fact be accomplished. This courage of the truth must be exercised in the form of a non-political parrhe-sia, a parrhe-sia which will take place through the test of the soul. It will be an ethical parrhe-sia. It is not courage in battle that authenticates the possibility of talking about courage.

It will not speak of competence; it will not speak of tekhne. It will speak of something else: of the mode of existence, the mode of life.

The mode of life appears as the essential, fundamental correlative of the practice of truth-telling. Telling the truth in the realm of the care of men is to question their mode of life, to put this mode of life to the test and define what there is in it that may be ratified and recognized as good and what on the other hand must be rejected and condemned.

In this you can see the organization of the fundamental series linking care, parrhesia free-spokenness , and the ethical division between good and evil in the realm of bios existence. Logos ale-the-s is not just a set of propositions which turn out to be exact and can take the value of truth. Logos alethes is a way of speaking in which, first, nothing is concealed; in which, second, neither the false, nor opinion, nor appearance is mixed with the true; [third], it is a straight discourse, in line with the rules and the law; and finally, ale-the-s logos is a discourse which remains the same, does not change, or become debased, or distorted, and which can never be vanquished, overturned, or refuted.

It is unable, Plato says, to give way to logos ale-the-s true discourse. Taking up the coin again, changing its effigy, and, as it were, making the theme of the true life grimace.

Cynicism as the grimace of the true life. In the case of Socratic irony, it involves introducing a certain form of truth into a knowledge that men do not know they know, a form of truth which will lead them to take care of themselves.

With Cynicism, we have a third form of courage of the truth, which is distinct from both political bravery and Socratic irony. Cynic courage of the truth consists in getting people to condemn, reject, despise, and insult the very manifestation of what they accept, or claim to accept at the level of principles. It involves facing up to their anger when presenting them with the image of what they accept and value in thought, and at the same time reject and despise in their life.

This is the Cynic scandal. After politi-cal bravery and Socratic irony we have, if you like, Cynic scandal. We can take it also that the institutionalization of truth- telling practices in the form of a science a normed, regulated, established science embodied in institutions has no doubt been the other major reason for the disappearance of the theme of the true life as a philosophical question, as a problem of the conditions of access to the truth.

If scientific practice, scientific institutions, and integration within the scientific consensus are by themselves sufficient to assure access to the truth, then it is clear that the problem of the true life as the necessary basis for the practice of truth- telling disappears.

So, there has been confiscation of the problem of the true life in the reli-gious institution, and invalidation of the problem of the true life in the scientific institution. You understand why the question of the true life has continually become worn out, faded, eliminated, and threadbare in Western thought.

This neglect of the philosophical life has meant that it is now possible for the relation to truth to be validated and manifested in no other form than that of scientific knowledge. It is a life which does in public, in front of everyone, what only dogs and animals dare to do, and which men usually hide. It is indifferent to whatever may occur, is not attached to anything, is content with what it has, and has no needs other than those it can satisfy immediately.

Third, the life of the Cynic is the life of a dog, it received the epithet kunikos because it is, so to speak, a life which barks, a diacritical diakritikos life, that is to say, a life which can fight, which barks at enemies, which knows how to distinguish the good from the bad, the true from the false, and masters from enemies. In that sense it is a diakritikos life: a life of discernment which knows how to prove, test, and distinguish.

Finally, fourth, the Cynic life is phulaktikos. We encounter Cynicism and the theme of an other life vie autre. These two lines of development—one leading to the other world, and the other to an other life, both starting from the care of self—are clearly divergent, since one give rises to Platonic and Neo- Platonic speculation and Western metaphysics, while the other gives rise to nothing more, in a sense, than Cynic crudeness.

But it will revive, as a question which is both central and marginal in relation to philosophical practice, the question of the philosophical and true life as an other life. May not, must not the philosophical life, the true life necessarily be a life which is radically other? The formula of Protestantism is, to lead the same life in order to arrive at the other world. It was at that point that Christianity became modern. We constantly come across this theme afterwards: the Cynic lives in the street, in front of the temples.

Absolute visibility of the Cynic life. As a result, the philosophical life appears as radically other than all other forms of life. Begging is poverty pushed to the point of dependence on others, on their good will, on the chance encounter.

Begging was Cynic poverty pushed to the point of voluntary scandal. And, here again, this is something odd and scandalous in ancient thought. In general terms, and summarizing considerably, we may say that in ancient thought animality played the role of absolute point of differentiation for the human being. It is by distinguishing itself from animality that the human being asserted and manifested its humanity. Animality was always, more or less, a point of repulsion for the constitution of man as a rational and human being.

It will be charged with positive value, it will be a model of behavior, a material model in accordance with the idea that the human being must not have as a need what the animal can do without. The first route, the first way: the relationship to the truth is an immediate relationship of conformity to the truth in conduct, in the body. The Cynic life must also include precise self- knowledge.

The Cynic life is not just the picture of the truth; it is also the work of the truth of self on self. This is very schematic, but it seems to me that there is in this one of the first major differences between Christian and Cynic asceticism. Through histori-cal processes which would obviously need to be examined more closely, Christian asceticism managed to join Platonic metaphysics to that vision, that historical- critical experience of the world.

This concerns the importance that Christianity, and only Christianity gives to something which is not found in either Cynicism or Platonism.

This is the principle of obedience, in the broad sense of the term. Obedience to God conceived of as the master the despote-s whose slave, whose servant one is; obedience to His will which has, at the same time, the form of the law; obedience finally to those who represent the despote-s the lord and master and who receive an authority from Him to which one must submit completely.

There is true life only through obedience to the other, and there is true life only for access to the other world. Thus we see the emergence of a new style of relation to self, a new type of power rela-tions, and a different regime of truth. With regard to men, parrhe-sia will be the courage to assert the truth one knows and to which one wishes to bear witness regardless of every danger.


Parrēsia: Notes on the Thought of Michel Foucault

But it can also still be found in the patristic texts written at the end of the Fourth and during the Fifth Century AD, dozens of times, for instance, in Jean Chrisostome [AD ]. The one who uses parrhesia, the parrhesiastes, is someone who says everything he has in mind: he does not hide anything, but opens his heart and mind completely to other people through his discourse. In parrhesia, the speaker is supposed to give a complete and exact account of what he has in mind so that the audience is able to comprehend exactly what the speaker thinks. For in parrhesia, the speaker makes it manifestly clear and obvious that what he says is his own opinion. And he does this by avoiding any kind of rhetorical form which would veil what he thinks. If we distinguish between the speaking subject the subject of the enunciation and the grammatical subject of the enounced, we could say that there is also the subject of the enunciandum — which refers to the held belief or opinion of the speaker.

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Michel Foucault: « Discourse and Truth » and « Parresia »

The game of truth-telling is the institutional framework designed in order to select the genuine elite among the competitors. This is why courage is needed in order to engage in the practice of truth-telling. The problem is, however, that after the death of Pericles the institutional check of the risk of truth-telling no longer was perceived as successful. The core of the critique of the fourth and fifth century B.


Usage in ancient Greece[ edit ] In ancient Greece, rhetoric and parrhesia were understood to be in opposition to each other through the dialogues written by Plato. There are two major philosophies during this period, one being Sophistry and one being Dialectic. Sophistry is most commonly associated with the use of rhetoric or means of persuasion to teach or persuade an audience. In its opposition is the practice of dialectic, supported by Plato and his mentor Socrates , which uses dialogue to break apart complex issues in search of absolute truth or knowledge. Parrhesia was a fundamental component of the democracy of Classical Athens. In assemblies and the courts Athenians were free to say almost anything, and in the theatre , playwrights such as Aristophanes made full use of the right to ridicule whomever they chose. It also is used to describe the reply Jesus made to the Pharisees.


Additional Information In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: 43 The Socratic Moment So far we have seen how Foucault articulates the problematization of political life and political discourse in fifth-century Athens. Furthermore , the relationship between the subject and the words he speaks was mediated by techniques of flattery and of dissimulation; in other words, by a technology of control. Because political life takes place in the element of language, and frank, truthful language was not tolerated, just and effective political life was impossible. It was within the horizon of this problem that a new experience of the self took shape. The need to articulate self-knowledge in order to found a just and true life came into focus perhaps for the first time. It became necessary to confront the truth of oneself in order to be able to speak the truth to the assembly and hear the truth spoken there by others. This confrontation with oneself required a particular relation to the other.

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