ERIC Number: EJ718900
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Aug
Foucault, Counselling and the Aesthetics of Existence
Peters, Michael A.
British Journal of Guidance and Counselling, v33 n3 p383-396 Aug 2005
Michel Foucault was drawn late in life to study the "arts of the self" in Greco-Roman culture as a basis, following Nietzsche, for what he called an "aesthetics of existence." By this, he meant a set of creative and experimental processes and techniques by which an individual turns him- or herself into a work of art. For Nietzsche, it was above all the figure of the musician that best represented the mode of creative self-transformation, although he also talked of the philosopher-artist. By contrast, Foucault in his famous essay "Writing the self" emphasised the writer and writing. Yet, at the same time, he was also to question the notion of the author and the author-function. This article explores the relations between counselling and Foucault's notion of the aesthetics of existence by focusing on processes of ethical self-constitution--an aesthetic ?sculpting of the self--and, in particular, the ways in which we come to shape our lives through the capacity of choice-making. The article begins by emphasising the consistency of an approach from an ?aesthetics of existence to Foucault's life and his relations to questions of the self in the history of madness, before considering the development of such an approach for counselling.
Descriptors: Aesthetics, Counseling Techniques, Phenomenology, Philosophy, Psychology, Ethics, Decision Making
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