Foucault’s Lectures on Subjectivity and Truth, VIII

Barry Stocker’s reading continues…


Lecture of 1st March, 1981

Foucault highlights the difference between love for women and love for boys, and the value placed on the man-woman love, particularly man-wife love, in antiquity in the period of Hellentistic-Roman philosophy. He focuses on Plutarch’s discussion of love and sex, in the Dialogue on Love with particular reference to Plutarch’s reactions to Greek texts of the classical period like Plato’s Symposium and Euripides’ tragedy Hyppolitus (I presume that is what Foucault is referring to when he mentions a text called Phèdre, the name of the female character in the play, used to name the plays on the same story by Seneca and Racine) and to Stoic influenced texts of his own time on the art of living. It is the texts of his own time, which are more directed towards marriage as the ideal.

Foucault refers to Christian sexual morality as referring first to pagan…

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