What Is a Desiring Man?

  • Agustín Colombo Université catholique de Louvain
Keywords: Confessions of the Flesh, Desiring man, History of Sexuality, Christianity, Saint-Augustine, John Cassian

Abstract

This article investigates Foucault’s account of desiring man by drawing upon History of Sexuality vol. 4, Confessions of the Flesh. In order to do so, the article focuses on Foucault’s diagnosis of the Christian elaboration of “the analytic of the subject of concupiscence” that closes Confessions of the Flesh. As the article shows, “the analytic of the subject of concupiscence” inspires Foucault’s account of desiring man. However, Foucault’s diagnosis of the Christian elaboration of “the analytic of concupiscence” proves to be debatable as it relies on a problematic interplay between Cassian’s and Saint Augustine’s account of concupiscence. The article exposes the problems that such interplay supposes by addressing the contrast between Cassian’s and Augustine’s perspective on both concupiscence and the human condition. Despite this problematic aspect of Foucault’s investigation of Christianity, the article argues that the publication of Confessions of the Flesh is central to understanding Foucault’s History of Sexuality. By providing new elements of analysis, the book reopens Foucault’s genealogical diagnosis of the formation of the medical account of sexuality and allows us to problematise new avenues for developing Foucault’s investigation in depth.

Author Biography

Agustín Colombo, Université catholique de Louvain
Agustín Colombo is a Postdoctoral researcher of the Fonds de la recherche scientifique F.R.S – FNRS at the Institut supérieur de philosophie of the Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium. Through Michel Foucault’s and Michel Henry’s investigation of Christianity, his research develops the critique of subjectivity built up by contemporary French philosophy. His recent publications include “L’expérience des Pères: Les Aveux de la chair de Michel Foucault et la formation de l’expérience de la chair” (Revue théologique de Louvain 52, 2021), “Michel Foucault e a obediência da carne crista” (Aurora, v. 32, n. 55, 2020). He is the editor of several books on the thought of Michel Foucault, most recently Foucault, Les Pères et le sexe. Autour des Aveux de la chair (Éditions de la Sorbonne, forthcoming), and The Politics of Desire. Foucault, Deleuze, and Psychoanalysis (Rowman & Littlefield International, forthcoming).

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Published
2021-04-08
Section
Special Issue: Foucault’s History of Sexuality Vol. 4, Confessions of the Flesh