• Gim GRECU PhD Candidate and researcher, “Al.I. Cuza” University of Iasi.


Foucault, responsibility, subject, critique, ethos


In this paper, I propose myself to overview the problem of responsibility in the works of Michel Foucault. As one of Foucault’s main themes is the ‘subject’, I aim at revealing, next to his dynamic inquiries, the correspondent instantiations of responsibility. In French, the term ‘subject’ has two main meanings1: a passive one – to be submitted, to be dependent, and an active one – to have conscience, acknowledgment of your self, to be center of actions and thoughts. It can be said that these meanings polarize Foucault’s analyses about the subject. The first meaning (present in his earlier works), un-allowing a major role from subject’s part, minimizes its responsibility, directing it towards the points of dependence. The second (his later writings) creates the possibility that the subject can give an account about his actions and about himself. I attach to each of these foucauldian positions a type of ethos: one critical and one hermeneutical, trying to reveal how Foucault is situated in rapport with these modern attitudes.


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