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Scatter 1The Politics of Politics in Foucault, Heidegger, and Derrida$
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Geoffrey Bennington

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780823270521

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823270521.001.0001

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(p.9) Chapter 1 Parrhēsia
Scatter 1

Geoffrey Bennington

Fordham University Press

Chapter one undertakes a close critical examination of Foucault’s discovery and development of the subsequently popular concept of parrhēsia (free speech, open speech, fearless speech) in his later courses at the Collège de France. It is shown that Foucault is aware that this concept will require him to open the question of the relationship between philosophy and rhetoric, but that he consistently defers that question and never adequately deals with the fact that parrhēsia is also the name of a rhetorical figure, and indeed of the rhetorical figure that claims to eschew all rhetoric. Foucault attempts to solve the potential contamination of philosophy by rhetoric by distinguishing between a “good” and a “bad” parrhēsia and by increasingly identifying his own discourse with the supposedly “good” form. It is suggested that this is an eminently metaphysical gesture that condemns Foucault’s thinking to a measure of dogmatism, moralism and philosophical incoherence.

Keywords:   Foucault, parrhēsia, Quintilian, rhetoric

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