Arnold Davidson

Arnold I. Davidson is the Robert O. Anderson Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Philosophy, the Department of Comparative Literature, the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, the Committee on the Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science, and the Divinity School. European Editor of Critical Inquiry, he is also a director of the France-Chicago Center. His major fields of research and teaching are the history of contemporary European philosophy, the history of moral and political philosophy, the history of the human sciences, and the history and philosophy of religion. 

He has been a visiting professor at many French institutions (including the Collège de France, the École Normale Supérieure, the University of Paris I and the University of Paris VII) and has also been Professor of the History of Political Philosophy at the University of Pisa. Beginning in 2013, each spring he will be Visiting Professor of the Philosophy of Cultures in the Department of Philosophy and Cultural Heritage at the University Ca’Foscari of Venice.  His main publications are in French and Italian as well as in English.

CV (PDF)

Arnold Davidson's recorded lectures & interviews

Contact

office: Stuart Hall 228
office hours: on Leave Spring Quarter
office phone: 773/702-9849
email: fiorentina@uchicago.edu

 

Recent News

  • Arnold I. Davidson will contribute regularly to the Italian newspaper "Il Sole 24 Ore" as jazz critic for the Sunday cultural supplement, "Domenica". The most important cultural section in Italy, "Domenica" will  include essays and reviews by Davidson on all aspects of jazz. His collaboration will begin in the Fall of 2014.
  • The University Ca' Foscari, Venice is going to confer its highest honor on Arnold I. Davidson, naming him an honorary member of the faculty (Membro Onorario del Corpo Accademico). He will be the first American to receive this honor. The conferring of this title will take place in a formal ceremony presided over by the Rector of the Università Ca' Foscari, Venezia and followed by a Lectio Magistralis. Davidson has given the Lezioni Veneziane and is a regular visiting professor in the Department of Philosophy and Cultural Heritage at the University Ca' Foscari, Venice. Link
  • Arnold I. Davidson pronounces the "laudatio" for the conferring of an honorary degree on Hilary Putnam by the Università Ca' Foscari Venezia. The video includes Putnam's "lezione magistrale". Video
  • Arnold Davidson has been named to the rank of Officer in the Ordre des Palmes Académiques, recognizing his contribution to the promotion of French culture.
  • Arnold Davidson, January 13, 2012 discussed "Foucault and the Courage of Truth" for materiali foucaultiani - Link to videos
  • Arnold Davidson discussed "Improvisation" with Vijay Iyer, Composer and Jazz Pianist, and Experimental Music Scholar George Lewis in Concert at Wellesley College (Youtube, disucssion begins at 36:37) - Link
  • Arnold Davidson gave a one hour radio interview on France Culture for the program Les Nouveaux Chemins de la Connaissance.  The topic was "L'émergence de la sexualité selon Michel Foucault", May 31, 2012. - Link
  • A day-long conference around Davidson's work was organized at Goldsmiths College, London, England. (Friday, Jan 13, 2012) - Link
  • "Newhouse Center Kicks off Exploration of Improvisation with Innovative Concert and Lecture on Improvisation," Wellesley College, February 8, 2012 - Link
  • Arnold Davidson co-organized (and participated in) an international conference with the French Consulate of Chicago and DePaul University on "Archives in Contemporary French Philosophy" in Fall 2011.
  • Arnold Davidson and George Lewis will present a lecture, "Improvisation as a Way of Life" on October 19 and participate in the Q & A following the performance of George Lewis and Geri Allen on October 20, 2011 at the University of Michigan's Institute of Humanities
  • Arnold Davidson and Visiting Professor George Lewis' November 11, 2010 "Improvisation as a Way of Life" event was mentioned in the February 2011 issue of Downbeat Magazine (page 18) - Link
  • "I improvise, therefore I am" on the University of Chicago Magazine UCHIBLOGO, October 27, 2011 about the collaborations this quarter between Arnold Davidson and music scholar George Lewis - Link
  • "Musician George Lewis riffs on improv and ethic" featuring Visiting Professor George Lewis and Professor Arnold Davidson, Chicago Maroon, November 15th, 2010 - Link
  • "An interview with discipline-defying philosopher Arnold Davidson" May 2010, Tableau Magazine - Link
  • Additional past news and announcements can be found on our "News" and "Announcements" pages here.

Books

  • L'emergenza della sessualità. Epistemologia storica e formazione dei concetti - Link
  • With Frédéric Gros, Foucault, Wittgenstein: de possibles rencontres, June 2011 by Editions Kimé
  • Edited Pierre Hadot, L’enseignement des antiques, l’enseignement des moderns (Paris: Presses de l’Ecole Normale Superieure, 2010) with Frédéric Worms; Primo Levi, Vivir para contar. Escribir tras Auschwitz (Barcelona: Alpha Decay, 2010); and Michel Foucault, The Birth of Biopolitics, Lectures at the Collège de France, 1978–1979 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010) with Graham Burchell.
  • La philosophie comme manière de vivre (Co-authored with Pierre Hadot and Jeannie Carlier). Albin Michel, 2001. (Translation into Italian and English) - English translation: The Present Alone is Our Happiness: Conversations with Jeannier Carlier and Arnold I. Davidson (translated by Marc Djaballah), Stanford University Press, 2009.
  • The Late Derrida, with W. J. T. Mitchell, University of Chicago Press May 2007.
  • Co-editor of Michel Foucault: Philosophie. Gallimard, 2004 (A 940-page anthology of the writings of Foucault).
  • Psychiatric Power: Lectures at the College de France, 1973--1974 (English Series Editor), 2003 - Link
  • Abnormal: lectures at the Collège de France, 1974-1975, Edited with Michel Foucault, Valerio Marchetti, Antonellai Salomoni - Link
  • Editor of Pierre Hadot. Exercices spirituels et philosophie antique. Albin Michel, 2002. (Italian Edition with expanded preface; Spanish, Dutch, and Chinese editions forthcoming). - Link
  • The Emergence of Sexuality: Historical Epistemology and the Formation of Concepts. Harvard University Press, 2001. (Translation into Spanish and French with a new preface, forthcoming in Italian). - Link
  • Editor of Foucault and His Interlocutors. The University of Chicago Press, 1997.
  • Editor of Pierre Hadot. Philosophy As a Way of Life: Spiritual Exercises from Socrates to Foucault. Basil Blackwell Press, 1995. Link
  • Co-editor of Questions of Evidence: Proof, Practice, and Persuasion. The University of Chicago Press, 1995.
  • Co-editor of Reconstructing Individualism. Stanford University Press, 1986.

Selected Publications

  • Co-Editor with Frédéric Worms, Pierre Hadot: l'insegnamento degli antichi, l'insegnamento dei moderni (Edizioni ETS, 2012) [Includes my preface and my conversation with Pierre Hadot]
  • "In praise of counter-conduct", History of the Human Sciences, n. 24 (4), 2011 "Sulla fine dell'ermeneutica del sé", postface to Michel Foucault, Sull'origine dell'ermeneutica del sé (Cronopio, 2012)
  • "Strutture e strategie del discorso: considerazioni per una storia della filosofia del linguaggio di Foucault", Paideutika, 15, 2012
  • "Exercices spirituels, improvisation et perfectionnisme moral: à propos de Sonny Rollins", Le travail de la litterature, sous la direction de D. Lorenzini et A. Revel (Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2012)
  • "Elogio de la contraconducta", Revista de Estudios Sociales, 43 [This will be published in August.]
  • Miracles of Bodily Transformation, or How St. Francis Received the Stigmata in Critical Inquiry 35 (Spring 2009) - PDF
  • Closing up the Corpses: Diseases of Sexuality and the Emergence of the Psychiatric Style of Reasoning, in Homosexuality and psychoanalysis by Tim Dean, Christopher Lane, 2001 - Link
  • Introductory Remarks. Critical Inquiry, Vol. 21, No. 2 (Winter, 1995), pp. 275-276 Link
  • Religion and the Distorions of Human Reason from Pursuits of Reason: Essays in Honor of Stanley Cavell Texas Tech University Press 1993 Part I Part II
  • Reading Hadot Reading Plotinus, Introduction to Plotinus, or, The simplicity of vision  by Pierre Hadot - Link
  • The Horror of Monsters, in The boundaries of humanity: humans, animals, machines by James J. Sheehan, Morton Sosna - Link
  • Spiritual Exercises and Ancient Philosophy: An Introduction to Pierre Hadot, Critical Inquiry, Vol. 16, No. 3 (Spring, 1990), pp. 475-482 Link
  • Beginning Cavell, in The Senses of Stanley Cavell, Bucknell University Press 1989 PDF
    Questions concerning Heidegger: Opening the Debate
    Critical Inquiry, Vol. 15, No. 2 (Winter, 1989), pp. 407-426 Link
  • Sex and the Emergence of Sexuality in Critical Inquiry, Vol. 14, No. 1 (Autumn, 1987), pp. 16-48 Link
  • Ethics as ascetics. in The Cambridge Companion to Foucault Ed. Gary Gutting Link
  • How to Do the History of Psychoanalysis: A Reading of Freud's "Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality" Critical Inquiry, Vol. 13, No. 2, The Trial(s) of Psychoanalysis (Winter, 1987), pp. 252-277 Link
  • Styles of Reasoning, Conceptual History, and the Emergence of Psychiatry
    in The Science Studies Reader, Ed. Mario Biagioli - Link
  • Foucault, Psychoanalysis and Pleasure in Homosexuality and Psychoanalysis by Tim Dean, Christopher Lane - Link

Selected Translations

  • The Conditions of the Question: What Is Philosophy? By Gilles Deleuze (Trans. Daniel W. Smith, Arnold I. Davidson) Critical Inquiry, Vol. 17, No. 3 (Spring, 1991), pp. 471-478 Link
  • The Final Foucault and His Ethics by Paul Veyne (Trans. Catherine Porter, Arnold I. Davidson) Critical Inquiry, Vol. 20, No. 1 (Autumn, 1993), pp. 1-9 Link

Selected Reviews by Arnold Davidson

  • The spirit in which things are said. Review of Themes out of School: Causes and Effects by Stanley Cavell, London Review of Books, Vol. 6 No. 24, (December 20, 1984), pages 17-18 - Link
  • Assault on Freud. Review of Freud: The Assault on Truth by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, London Review of Books, Vol. 6 No. 12 · 5 July 1984
    pages 9-11 - Link
  • On the Englishing of Freud. Review of Freud and Man’s Soul by Bruno Bettelheim, London Review of Books, Vol. 5 No 20, (November 1983) pages 17-18 - Link

Please see my CV (PDF) for a complete list of publiucations.

Selected Reviews of Arnold Davidson's Work

  • Reviewd work: L'emergenza della sessualità. Epistemologia storica e formazione dei concetti, Recensione di Gianni Zen –  27.12.2010 - Link
  • Reviewed work: The Emergence of Sexuality: Historical Epistemology and the Formation of Concepts, by Robert G. Hudson in Isis, vol. 94, no. 4, pp. 691-692. December 2003 - PDF
  • Reviewed work: The Present Alone is Our Happiness,  reviewed in Foucault Studies, No 7, pp. 164-169, September 2009 by Antonio Donato -- link
  • Reviewed work: The Emergence of Sexuality: Historical Epistemology and the Formation of Concepts, Reviewed in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews Sept. 2007by Linda Martin Alcoff, Syracuse University - Link
  • Reviewed work: The Emergence of Sexuality: Historical Epistemology and the Formation of Concepts, reviewed in Foucault Studies, No 2, pp. 159-164, May 2005 by Nandita Biswas Mellamphy, University of Toronto - Link
  • Reviewed work: The Emergence of Sexuality: Historical Epistemology and the Formation of Concepts, Review: [untitled] by Greg A. Eghigian Journal of the History of Sexuality, Vol. 12, No. 1 (Jan., 2003), pp. 134-137 Link
  • Reviewed work: The Emergence of Sexuality: Historical Epistemology and the Formation of Concepts, by Ian Hacking in Common Knowledge Volume 9, Issue 3, Fall 2003 - Link

Courses

PHIL 25115/35115. Topics in the Philosophy of Religion: The Challenge of Suffering from Job to Primo Levi. (=HIJD 35115, DVPR 35115, ITAL 25115/35115, RLST 25115) This course will focus on authors from the Jewish tradition, although some attention will be given to Catholic and Protestant perspectives, as found, for example, in liberation theology and in certain forms of religious existentialism. We will look at the various ways in which contemporary philosophers of Judaism have dealt with suffering, evil and God, especially after the experience of the Shoah. We will examine the often repeated claim that Judaism has approached the philosophical and religious challenges of suffering more through an ethics of suffering than on the basis of a metaphysics of suffering. After an introductory discussion of Maimonides on the Book of Job, readings for the course may come from authors such as E. Lévinas, J.B. Soloveitchik, Y. Leibowitz, H. Jonas, A. Lichtenstein, D.W. Halivni, D. Shatz, and E. Berkovits. The course will culminate in a philosophical analysis of some of the most important writings of Primo Levi. Winter 2015.

PHIL 24800. Foucault: History of Sexuality. (= GNSE 23100, HIPS 24300, CMLT 25001, FNDL 22001, THEO 53357). PQ: One prior philosophy course is strongly recommended. This course centers on a close reading of the first volume of Michel Foucault’s The History of Sexuality, with some attention to his writings on the history of ancient conceptualizations of sex. How should a history of sexuality take into account scientific theories, social relations of power, and different experiences of the self? We discuss the contrasting descriptions and conceptions of sexual behavior before and after the emergence of a science of sexuality. Other writers influenced by and critical of Foucault are also discussed. Autumn 2014.

PHIL 53357. Philosophy and Theology of Judaism. (=HIJD 53357, DVPR 53357, CMLT 43357) PQ: Reading knowledge of French is required. An examination of the works of some of the most significant twentieth-century philosophers of Judaism. In the first part of the seminar we will examine the philosophical, theological, and ethical foundations of Modern Orthodox Judaism. The principal readings will be Joseph B. Soloveitchik's The Emergence of Ethical Man and Aharon Lichtenstein's By His Light. The second part of the seminar will focus on the post World War II emergence of a new philosophy and theology of Judaism in France. Primary readings will come from Emmanuel Lévinas, Léon Askénazi, Alexandre Safran, and Henri Meschonnic. Special attention will be given to the relation between philosophical argument and analysis, and theological conception and method. Autumn 2014.

25112/35112. Philosophy, Talmudic Culture, and Religious Experience: Soloveitchik. (= DVPR 35112, RLST 25112, HIJD 35112) Joseph Soloveitchik was one of the most important philosophers of religion of the twentieth-century.  Firmly rooted in the tradition of Biblical and Talmudic texts and culture, Soloveitchik elaborated a phenomenology of Jewish self-consciousness and religious experience that has significant implications for the philosophy of religion more generally.  This course will consist of a study of some of his major books and essays.  Topics to be covered may include the nature of Halakhic man and Soloveitchik’s philosophical anthropology, the problem of faith in the modern world, questions of suffering, finitude and human emotions, the nature of prayer, the idea of cleaving to God.  Soloveitchik will be studied both from within the Jewish tradition and in the context of the classical questions of the philosophy of religion.  Some previous familiarity with his thought is recommended. (I) Winter 2014.

24800. Foucault: History of Sexuality. (= GNSE 23100, HIPS 24300, CMLT 25001, FNDL 22001) One prior philosophy course is strongly recommended. This course centers on a close reading of the first volume of Michel Foucault’s The History of Sexuality, with some attention to his writings on the history of ancient conceptualizations of sex. How should a history of sexuality take into account scientific theories, social relations of power, and different experiences of the self? We discuss the contrasting descriptions and conceptions of sexual behavior before and after the emergence of a science of sexuality. Other writers influenced by and critical of Foucault are also discussed. Autumn 2013.

50008. Michel Foucault: Self, Government, and Regimes of Truth. (=CMLT 50008, DVPR 50008, FREN 40008)PQ: Limited enrollment; Students interested in taking for credit should attend first seminar before registering. Reading knowledge of French required. Consent Only. A close reading of Michel Foucault’s 1979-80 course at the Collège de France, Du gouvernement des vivants.  Foucault’s most extensive course on early Christianity, these lectures examine the relations between the government of the self and regimes of truth through a detailed analysis of Christian penitential practices, with special attention to the practices of exomologēsis and exagoreusis.  We will read this course both taking into account Foucault’s sustained interest in ancient thought and with a focus on the more general historical and theoretical conclusions that can be drawn from his analyses. (I) Autumn 2013.

25111/35111. Judaism and Philosophy of Religion in Contemporary Thought. (=DVPR 35111, HIJD 35111). Note: Graduate students interested in taking for credit should attend the first session before registering. How do distinctive elements in the Jewish tradition contribute to more general issues in the philosophy of religion?  We will approach this question through a study of three major twentieth-century Jewish thinkers:  Joseph Soloveitchik, Yeshayahu Leibowitz and Emmanuel Levinas.  Topics to be discussed include the role of practice in religion, the nature of faith, the relations between ethics and law and between religion and politics, prayer and divine service, the status of tradition and sacred texts.  Attention will be given both to debates within the Jewish tradition and to the framework of philosophical and theological issues that characterizes contemporary thought. Priority will be given to students with reading knowledge of French.  The course will alternate between lectures and discussions. (I) Winter 2013.

50211. Models of Philosophy/Religion as a Way of Life. (=CMLT 50511, DVPR 50211, FREN 40212, HIJD 50211). PQ: Reading knowledge of French required. Limited enrollment; Students interested in taking for credit should attend 1st seminar before registering. Consent only. In the first part of this course, we will examine Stoicism as a way of life through a reading of Pierre Hadot’s commentary (in French) on Epictetus’ Manual, supplemented by other writings of Hadot. The second part of the course will be devoted to the topic of Judaism as a way of life, focusing on the writings of Joseph Soloveitchik.  The third part of the course will consider a number of historically and theoretically heterogeneous essays that take up different aspects of our theme.  Depending on the interests of the seminar participants, texts for this part of the course may include the writings of Francis of Assisi, essays by Michel Foucault, Hilary Putnam, and Wittgenstein’s “Lectures on Religious Belief”. (I)  Autumn 2012

51990. Spiritual Exercises, Relations of Power, Practices of Freedom. (=DVPR 51990, HIJD 51990, CMLT 51990) Priority will be given to students who can read texts in French. How do ethical and political practices create new spaces of freedom?  What kinds of practices can effectively modify networks of power and provoke transformations in our relations to ourselves? What is the dynamic between freedom and resistance? What forms of disobedience/dissidence/counter-conduct are ethically and politically productive? These questions will be approached through philosophical, historical, literary, and musical analysis. Readings and music may come from Pierre Hadot, Michel Foucault, Stanley Cavell, Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Primo Levi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Derek Bailey, George Lewis, and Ceil Taylor. Autumn 2011. Syllabus

24790. Self-Transformation and Political Resistance:  Michel Foucault, Pierre Hadot, Primo Levi, Martin Luther King, Jr. (=CMLT 24790, JWSC 24790) How should we understand the connections between an ethics of self-transformation and a politics of resistance to established relations of power?  How are forms of the self and strategies of power intertwined?  We shall examine the philosophical frameworks of Michel Foucault and Pierre Hadot with respect to these questions and then study two particular cases:  Primo Levi’s account of Auschwitz and Martin Luther King Jr.’s account of the civil rights movement.  We will look at the ways in which these two historically specific cases allow us to develop and test the philosophical frameworks we have examined. Autumn 2011.

21910/31910.  Problems Around Foucault. (=CHSS 31910, HIPS  21910, CMLT 25102/35102, DVPR 35100) We will read some of Foucault’s most important essays and lectures, from all periods of his work, in an attempt to assess the originality and continued significance  of his thought in the context of twentieth century European philosophy. We will also look at the work of other philosophers who influenced or were influenced by Foucault, for example: Georges Canguilhem, Gilles Deleuze, Paul Veyne, Pierre Hadot, Ian Hacking, etc. A final section of the course will consider how we can make use of Foucault today, with respect to questions of epistemology, politics, and ethics. Winter 2011. Syllabus

50910. Improvisation as a Way of Life. (=CDIN 50910, CMLT 51800, MUS 45511, DVPR 50901). Enrollment to be capped at 20; Graduate students interested in enrolling should email Arnold Davidson prior to registering.  This seminar will be organized around the idea that the practice of improvisation is not at all limited to the artistic domain, but is a ubiquitous practice of everyday life, a primary method of exchange in any interaction.  Improvisation is, in effect, a certain kind of orientation or attitude towards oneself, others, and the world. Combining philosophical, ethnographic, musicological, and technological modes of analysis and creation, this seminar aims at the presentation of new models of intelligibility, agency, expression, and social responsibility that can inform the theory and practice of real-time musical analysis, leading to new and more effective interactive technologies as well. With G. Lewis. Syllabus

21209/31209. Contemporary European Philosophy and Religion. In the first part of this course we will consider Martin Heidegger's critique of humanism and various attempts, both explicit and implicit, especially in contemporary French philosophy, to formulate alternative versions of humanism. We will study Emmanuel Levinas' conception of ethics as first philosophy and its effect on political philosophy and philosophy of religion, Jacques Derrida's politics of hospitality and cosmopolitanism, and Pierre hadot's conception of spiritual exercises and philosophy as a way of life. In the second part of this course, we will discuss the status of ethical, political, and religious concepts (and especially those concepts linked to the ideals of humanism) after the experience of Auschwitz. How should such an event affect the articulation of these concepts? The main text for this part of the course will be Primo Levi's If This is a Man(translated into English with the misleading title Survival in Auschwitz). Other readings may come from Levinas, Robert Antelme, Sara Kofman and Hans Jonas. Although all texts will be read in English, the ability to read the texts in the original languages is an advantage. Winter 2010. Syllabus

24800. Foucault and The History of Sexuality. PQ: Prior philosophy course or consent of instructor. This course centers on a close reading of the first volume of Michel Foucault’s The History of Sexuality, with some attention to his writings on the history of ancient conceptualizations of sex. How should a history of sexuality take into account scientific theories, social relations of power, and different experiences of the self? We discuss the contrasting descriptions and conceptions of sexual behavior before and after the emergence of a science of sexuality. Other writers influenced by and critical of Foucault are also discussed. Autumn 2009, Syllabus, Autumn 2012.

 Twentieth-Century Continental thought: Philosophy, Theology, Literature (=PR 393/Rel 235, DivRe 415). Discussion of some major themes and figures in twentieth-century European thought. Topics for this year may include: humanism, its critique and defense (Jean-Paul Sartre, Martin Heidegger, Emmanuel Levinas, Jacques Derrida), philosophy and religion as a way of life (Pierre Hadot, Michel Foucault, Henri Bergson, Miguel de Unamuno, Lars Von Trier's Breaking the Waves in the context of the Kierkegaardean tradition), evil and the limits of moral philosophy (Maurice Blanchot, Sarah Kofman, Primo Levi, Giorgio Agamben, Roberto Beningni's Life is Beautiful, Vladimir Jankélévitch). Attention will be given to issues raised by differences in philosophical, theological, literary and cinematographic representation.

21401/31401. Philosophical Thought and Expression in Twentieth-Century Europe Open to college and grad students. Prerequisites: One prior course in philosophy.. An examination of some principal philosophical themes and figures in twentieth-century European (especially French) thought. Attention is given to the relation of philosophy, to theology, the human sciences, literature, and music. Winter 2003.

521. Historical Epistemology: Abnormality and the Self (=CFS 500; PR 507). PQ: Reading knowledge of French. The major part of this course will consist of a reading of Michel Foucault's Les Anormaux, his 1974-75 course at the Collège de France, which takes up many of the issues found in the first volume of his Histoire de la sexualité. We shall examine the emergence of the modern notion of abnormality, considering its historical background, epistemological role in the constitution of the human sciences, and political consequences. The course will begin by discussing a number of methodological issues revolving around the distinctive approach of historical epistemology, and its relation to Foucault's archaeological and genealogical analyses.

51100. Twentieth Century French Philosophy: Vladimir Jankélévitch. (=CHSS 41800, HIST 57700) PQ. Reading knowledge of French required. A study of some central texts by Vladimir Jankélévitch, one of the most significant twentieth-century French philosophers, whose major works have unfortunately not been translated into English. Texts will be drawn from Jankélévitch's writings on moral philosophy, the aesthetics of music, and metaphysics. Some attention will also be given to Jankélévitch's relation to Henri Bergson and to Emmanuel Levinas.

21202/31202. Spiritual Exercises & Moral Perfectionism. Open to college and grad students. A number of philosophers have recently proposed a new way of approaching ethics (and of reconceiveing the task of philosophy) that focuses on exercises of self-transformation and ideals of moral perfection (sometimes conceived of as forms of wisdom). A distinctive set of notions, such as spiritual exercises, practices of the self, ways of life, the aesthetics of existence, the care of the self, conversion, and moral exemplarity, is meant to displace the picture of morality as primarily a code of good conduct. We shall study three contemporary authors who are central to reviving this way of thinking about ethical practice - Pierre Hadot, Michel Foucault, and Stanley Cavell. Their work will be read against the background of some classic texts in the history of philosophy in an attempt to uncover the historical tradition and the contemporary significance of this conception of the moral life. (A) Autumn 2006.

21401/31401. Philosophical Thought and Expression in Twentieth-Century Europe. Open to college and grad students. Prerequisites: One prior course in philosophy.. An examination of some principal philosophical themes and figures in twentieth-century European (especially French) thought. Attention is given to the relation of philosophy, to theology, the human sciences, literature, and music. Winter 2003.

24800. Foucault and the History of Sexuality. Open to college students. Prerequisites: Prior philosophy course or consent of instructor. This course centers on a close reading of the first volume of Michel Foucault's The History of Sexuality, with some attention to his writings on the history of ancient conceptualizations of sex. How should a history of sexuality take into account scientific theories, social relations of power, and different experiences of the self? We discuss the contrasting descriptions and conceptions of sexual behavior before and after the emergence of a science of sexuality. Other writers influenced by and critical of Foucault are also discussed. Autumn 2005, Autumn 2007.

25401/35401. History, Philosophy and Politics of Psychoanalysis. Open to college and grad students. A reading of some central texts of Freud (both early and late) in the context of a study of the role of psychoanalysis in contemporary European philosophy. Other authors to be read may include Foucault, Deleuze and Guatteri, Marcuse, and Derrida. Winter 2002, Winter 2008.

25901/39501. Topics in Contemporary European Thought. Open to college and grad students. A study of selected authors and texts that have played a significant role in contemporary European thought. Special attention to questions of aesthetics, ethics, and politics. Winter 2006.

51101. Practices of the Self. Open to grad students. Prerequisites: Reading knowledge of French. This seminar will consist primarily of a study of Michel Foucault's 1981-82 course at the Collège de France, "L'Herméneutique du sujet," in which Foucault develops his notions of ethics and practices of the self on the basis of an interpretation of ancient, especially Hellenistic, philosophy. This text will be read against the background of the essays by Foucault, texts by Pierre Hadot, etc. Autumn 2002.

52000. Foucault: Technologies of Power. Open to grad students. Prerequisites: PQ: Reading knowledge of French. A study of Foucault's 1977-78 course Securite, Territoire, Population and the opening lecture of his 1978-79 course Naissance de la biopolitique. Securite, Territoire, Population is an analysis of the history of technologies of power from the Christian pastoral to reason of State. A crucial aspect of these courses is the development of the notion of "governmentality." Autumn 2005.

58500. French Philosophy. Open to grad students. Prerequisites: Reading knowledge of French required.. A close reading in French of Emmanuel Lévinas's Totalité et Infini. Some supplementary texts will be considered, but primarily as a way of situating Totalité et Infini within the corpus of Lévinas's work and within the history of 20th century European philosophy. Winter 2007, Autumn 2007.

58600. Workshop: Continental Philosophy. Open to grad students. Meets over three quarters. Autumn 2006, Winter 2006, Spring 2006, Autumn 2004, Winter 2007.

58702. Topics in Contemporary European Thought. Open to grad students. Prerequisites: Reading knowledge of French required. This course will focus on Pierre Hadot's Le voile d'Isis. Essai sur l'histoire de l'idée de nature. This book studies the idea of nature, from Heraclitus to Heidegger, in philosophical, theological, scientific and aesthetic contexts. At the end of the course we will read Merleau-Ponty's discussion of scientific and aesthetic perceptions of nature in Causeries, as well as a number of texts on related topics. Throughout the class we will raise methodological issues about how to write the history of philosophy. Autumn 2004.