The Will to Knowledge[ edit ] Part I: We "Other Victorians"[ edit ] In Part One, Foucault discusses the "repressive hypothesis", the widespread belief among late 20th-century westerners that sexuality, and the open discussion of sex, was socially repressed during the late 17th, 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries, a by-product of the rise of capitalism and bourgeois society, before the partial liberation of sexuality in modern times. Arguing that sexuality was never truly repressed, Foucault asks why modern westerners believe the hypothesis, noting that in portraying past sexuality as repressed, it provides a basis for the idea that in rejecting past moral systems, future sexuality can be free and uninhibited, a " We have not only witnessed a visible explosion of unorthodox sexualities; but — and this is the important point — a deployment quite different from the law, even if it is locally dependent on procedures of prohibition, has ensured, through a network of interconnecting mechanisms, the proliferation of specific pleasures and the multiplication of disparate sexualities. He argues that this desire to talk so enthusiastically about sex in the western world stems from the Counter-Reformation , when the Roman Catholic Church called for its followers to confess their sinful desires as well as their actions. As evidence for the obsession of talking about sex, he highlights the publication of the book My Secret Life , anonymously written in the late 19th century and detailing the sex life of a Victorian gentleman.
The History of Sexuality, Volume 2: The Use of Pleasure
The History of Sexuality - Wikipedia
So, a husserlian reduction of sexuality into its archaeological context. Just to set the tone, Foucault observes the ancient complexity of disentangling sex and gender from sexuality, sexual orientation, and gender identity: And it is with these same traits that Agathon appears in the Thesmophoriazusae: It would be completely incorrect to interpret this as a condemnation of love of boys, or of what we generally refer to as homosexual relations; but at the same time, one cannot fail to see in it the effect of strongly negative judgments concerning some possible aspects of relations between men, as well as definite aversion to anything that might denote a deliberate renunciation of the signs and privileges of the masculine role. The ancients considered that the intensity of the aphrodisia compelled discipline: Two key concepts are enkrateia, self-mastery, and sophrosyne, moderation. These are usefully contrasted with two defects, respectively akrasia incontinent and akolasia immoderate 64 ff ; whereas the latter fails to see a vice as an affirmative evil and abandons the self to enjoying it, the former realizes that a particular aphrodisiac course is unprincipled, a bad idea, and in actively attempting to avoid it, succumbs nevertheless.
The History of Sexuality, Vol. The first area of ethics for Foucault is the determination of the ethical substance. For Foucault, aphrodisia are considered both positive and negative. They are positive since they are natural and necessary, i. Nonetheless, bodily pleasures also had a negative quality, which required for their delimitation.
In particular, two elements were of primary interest to Foucault: Foucault wrote about the intellectual uses of certain words over various historical periods on particular themes such as medicine, penal practice, psychiatry, and sexual conduct. Professor Hicks includes Foucault among the four philosophers in his definition of Postmodernism as a philosophy characterized by metaphysical antirealism, epistemological collective subjectivism, social constructionism in human nature, and value collectivism. Following a summary reading, I will use this proposed definition to see if the material permits the inclusion of Foucault in the proposed definition.