‘Subject van zijn daden’: Lacaniaanse reflecties bij een foucaultiaanse levenskunst | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 115 Number 1
  • ISSN: 0002-5275
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1244



In , the fourth volume of his , Foucault explains how the still dominant idea that man is ‘subject of desire’ – and thus subjected to the of desire – has its origin in the libido theory of Augustine. With this genealogical analysis Foucault targets, among other things, the libido theory of his contemporary, the psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan. This essay briefly discusses what makes Lacan and Foucault theoretically opposed to each other. I zoom in on how both conceive the modern ‘subject’. Opposite to the subject as ‘subject to desire’, Foucault puts forward the ‘subject of one’s own actions’, the subject that is itself the ground/base of its own ‘care for oneself’ (). This essay presents a critical reflection on the possibility of such a subject. It is here that Lacan’s theory of the subject can shed a light on Foucault’s understanding of a modern ‘care of oneself’ or ‘art of living’. Lacanian psychoanalysis can provide a ‘critical theory’, indispensable for what is at stake in a Foucauldian ‘art of living’.


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