The work of Michael Focault has been extremely influential in fields as varied as philosophy, history, cultural studies, sociology and sexualilty studies. In his later work, Focault turned to the question of ethics. Working back through history, through the Christian interrogation of desire to the origins of the self in the texts of classical Greece, Focault attempted to concieve of ethics as an art of the self, as an aesthetics of existence and as a practice of liberty. Focault and the Art of Ethics argues that Focault's exploration of the history of sexuality and reinterpretation of the critical philosophical tradition combine to frame a new approach both to the way we understand the tasks of philosophy and to the way we live our lives. The book is essential reading for all those working at the intersection of contemporary debates in philosophy, ethics, politics and cultural studies. Timothy O'Leary is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Hong Kong. He has spent several years working in the Focault Archives and has published on Focault, aesthetics and literature.
"Timothy O'Leary's Foucault: The Art Of Ethics is an excellent, critical exploration of the contribution which Foucault's philosophy makes to contemporary discussion of morality. He appreciates Foucault's effort to return philosophy to being a way of life: It is an aesthetics of existence which is not a passive celebration of beauty but rather a rigorous ethical practice of more liberating ways of relating to one's self. O'Leary shows that Foucault is a significant thinker because, unlike so many other contemporary philosophers, he asked the most important of questions: How are we to live?" James Bernauer, Boston College