more from Michel Foucault

Single Idea 7500

[catalogued under 1. Philosophy / B. History of Ideas / 2. Ancient Thought]

Full Idea

For early Greeks their techné for life was to take care of the city, of companions (see Plato's 'Alcibiades'). Taking care of yourself for its own sake starts with the Epicureans, and becomes very general in Seneca and Pliny.

Gist of Idea

Early Greeks cared about city and companions; later Greeks concentrated on the self


Michel Foucault (On the Genealogy of Ethics [1983], p.260)

Book Reference

Foucault,Michel: 'Essential Works 1954-1984 I: Ethics', ed/tr. Rabinow,Paul [Penguin 1994], p.260

A Reaction

In Aristotle the two strike me as ideally balanced - to become a wonderful citizen by looking after yourself. Presumably the destruction of the city-states by Alexander took away the motive, and the aim became more private.