Foucault’s Lectures on Subjectivity and Truth, VI

Barry Stocker on lecture 6 of Foucault’s most recently published course.


Lecture of 11th February, 1981

Foucault continues the theme from the previous lecture of community in marriage. He largely refers to Stoics, particularly Musonius Rufus (best known as the teacher of Epictetus. Foucault takes the discussion from Aristotle and Xenophon. That is Xenophon’s dialogue on economy and goes up to John of Chrysostom, the 4th century Archbishop of Constantinople. Chrysostom features briefly, and represents a new Christian stage, though that stage does build on Stoicism.

Xenophon represents the end of a way of thinking, so its Xenophon and Chrysostom who define the temporal and conceptual boundaries of what Foucault is considering here. There is more attention paid to Xenophon though and Foucault refers to the dialogue on economy with regard to passages in which a husband addresses a wife on the purposes or marriage. The purpose of marriage, apparently, is not  just to share a bed, but create some broader…

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