The Use and Misuse of Pleasure: Hadot contra Foucault on the Stoic Dichotomy Gaudium-Voluptas in Seneca
Chapter II of Foucault's The Care of the Self, 'The Cultivation of the Self,' is arguably one of the most controversial sections of the entire History of Sexuality. The diatribe over this chapter was initially mounted by Pierre Hadot's critical essay 'Reflections on the Idea of the 'Cultivation of the Self." Therein, Hadot objects to Foucault’s dissolution of the Stoic doctrinal antinomy between voluptas ('pleasure') and gaudium ('joy') and, thereby, to the relegation of the latter notion to the subordinate status of 'another form of pleasure', on the one side, and of Seneca himself to the problematic rank of a sort of Epicurean on the other. The present investigation aims to unveil this aspect of the Foucault-Hadot querelle as only a pseudo-controversy engendered by Seneca recurring to two different terminological registers throughout his writings: the so-called verbum publicum and the significatio Stoica.
Agamben, Giorgio, The Use of Bodies: Homo Sacer IV. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2016.
Annas, Julia. Hellenistic Philosophy of Mind. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992.
Armisen-Marchetti, Mireille, "La langue philosophique de Sénèque: entre technicité et sim-plicité," Antike und Abendland 42:1 (1996), 76-84. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110241549.76
Asmis, Elizabeth, "Seneca's On the Happy Life and Stoic Individualism," Apeiron 23:4 (1990), 219-256. https://doi.org/10.1515/APEIRON.1922.214.171.124
Beardsley, Monroe C., Aesthetics from Classical Greece to the Present. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2015.
Bocchi, Giuseppe, "A proposito di Seneca critico: l'ambivalenza al servizio dell'allegoria," in Analecta Brixiana, ed. Alfredo Valvo and Gian Enrico Manzoni, 221-231. Milano: Vita e Pensiero, 2004.
Brennan, Tad, "The Old Stoic Theory of Emotions," in The Emotions in Hellenistic Philosophy, ed. Juha Sihvola and Troels Engberg-Pedersen, 21-70. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands, 1998.
Cremonesi, Laura, "Pierre Hadot and Michel Foucault on Spiritual Exercises: Transforming the Self, Transforming the Present," in Foucault and the History of Our Present, ed. Sophie Fuggle, Yari Lanci and Martina Tazzioli, 195-209. London: Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2015.
Davidson, Arnold I., "Introduction: Pierre Hadot and the Spiritual Phenomenon of Ancient Philosophy," In Philosophy as a Way of Life: Spiritual Exercises from Socrates to Foucault, ed. Arnold I. Davidson, 1-45. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 1995.
Davidson, Arnold I., "Ethics as Ascetics: Foucault, the History of Ethics, and Ancient Thought," In The Cambridge Companion to Foucault, ed. Gary Gutting, 123-148. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005.
DeLacy, Phillip, "Stoic Views of Poetry," The American Journal of Philology 69:3 (1948), 241-271. https://doi.org/10.2307/291357
Dyson, Henry, "Pleasure and the Sapiens: Seneca De vita Beata 11.1," Classical Philology 105:3 (2010), 313-318. https://doi.org/10.1086/658630
Elden, Stuart, Foucault's Last Decade. Cambridge: Polity, 2016.
Evenepoel, Willy, "The Stoic Seneca on virtus, gaudium and voluptas," L'Antiquité Classique 83:1 (2014), 45-78. https://doi.org/10.3406/antiq.2014.3847
Evenepoel, Willy, "Seneca on virtus, gaudium and voluptas: Some Additional Observations," Antiquité Classique 85 (2016), 211-216. https://doi.org/10.3406/antiq.2016.3893
Fantham, Elaine, Harry M. Hine, James Ker, and Gareth D. Williams. Seneca, Hardship and Happiness. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014.
Fernández, José Miguel, “Spiritual Exercises and Language Games: The Influence of Wittgenstein’s Later Philosophy of Language on Pierre Hadot’s Approach to Ancient Philosophy as a Way of Life,” Littera Scripta. Revista Filosofía 3 (2022), 1-22.
Flynn, Thomas, "Philosophy as a Way of Life: Foucault and Hadot," Philosophy and Social Criticism 31:5-6 (2005), 609-622. https://doi.org/10.1177/0191453705055492.
Foucault, Michel, The Care of the Self: Volume 3 of the History of Sexuality. New York: Vintage Books, 1990.
Foucault, Michel, The Use of Pleasure: Volume 2 of the History of Sexuality. New York: Vintage Books, 1990.
Foucault, Michel, "On the Genealogy of Ethics: An Overview of Work in Progress," in Ethics: Subjectivity and Truth; The Essential Works of Michel Foucault 1954-1984 Vol. I, ed. Paul Rabinow, 253-280. New York: The New Press, 1997.
Foucault, Michel, "Self Writing," in Ethics: Subjectivity and Truth, ed. Paul Rabinow, 207-222. New York: The New Press, 1997b.
Foucault, Michel, The Hermeneutics of the Subject: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1981-82. New York: Picador, 2005.
Gill, Jerry H., "Wittgenstein and the Function of Philosophy," Metaphilosophy 2:2 (1971), 137-149. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9973.1971.tb00234.x
Graver, Margaret, Stoicism and Emotion. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007.
Graver, Margaret, "Anatomies of Joy: Seneca and the Gaudium Tradition," in Hope, Joy, and Affection in the Classical World, ed. Ruth R. Caston and Robert A. Kaster, 123-142. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.
Graver, Margaret, "Pre-emotions and Reader Emotions in Seneca: De ira and Epistulae mo-rales," Maia: Rivista di letterature classiche 69:2 (2017), 281-296.
Graver, Margaret, and A.A Long, Seneca, Letters on Ethics: to Lucilius. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2015.
Griffin, Miriam T., Seneca, On Benefits. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011.
Grimal, Pierre, L. Annaei Senecae De vita beata. Sénèque, Sur le bonheur. Paris: Presses Universi-taires de France, 1969.
Gros, Frédéric, "Course Context," in The Hermeneutics of the Subject: Lectures at the Collège de France 1981-1982, 507-550. New York: Picador, 2005.
Hadot, Pierre, "Reflections on the Notion of 'The Cultivation of the Self'," in Michel Foucault, Philosopher, 225-232. Exeter: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1992.
Hadot, Pierre, Philosophy as a Way of Life: Spiritual Exercises from Socrates to Foucault. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1995.
Hadot, Pierre, "Reflections on the Idea of the 'Cultivation of the Self'," in Philosophy as a Way of Life: Spiritual Exercises from Socrates to Foucault, 206-213. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1995.
Hadot, Pierre, The Inner Citadel: The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1998.
Hadot, Pierre, Exercices spirituels et philosophie antique. Paris: Albin Michel, 2002.
Hadot, Pierre, What is Ancient Philosophy?. Cambridge and London: The Belknap Press of Harvard University, 2004.
Hadot, Pierre, Wittgenstein et les limites du langage. Paris: Vrin, 2004.
Hadot, Pierre, The Present Alone is Our Happiness: Conversations with Jeannie Carlier and Ar-nold I. Davidson. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2009.
Hadot, Pierre, "Conversio," in Discours et mode de vie philosophique, ed. Xavier Pavie, 133-137. Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 2014.
Hadot, Pierre, "Foucault dans le texte," Philosophie Magazine 15 (2018), 91.
Hadot, Pierre, "Conversion," in The Selected Writings of Pierre Hadot, ed. Matthew Sharpe and Federico Testa, 90-103. London: Bloomsbury, 2020.
Hadot, Pierre, "An Interrupted Dialogue with Michel Foucault: Convergences and Diver-gences," in The Selected Writings of Pierre Hadot: Philosophy as Practice, ed. Matthew Sharpe and Federico Testa, 227-234. London and New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2020.
Hadot, Pierre, "The Figure of the Sage in Greek and Roman Antiquity," in The Selected Writ-ings of Pierre Hadot: Philosophy as Practice, ed. Matthew Sharpe and Federico Testa, 186-206. London and New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2020.
Hadot, Pierre, The Selected Writings of Pierre Hadot. Philosophy as Practice. London and New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2020.
Hadot, Pierre, "Epistrophe and Metanoia in the History of Philosophy," Philosophy Today 65:1 (2021), 201-210.
Haynes, Richard P., "The Theory of Pleasure of the Old Stoa," The American Journal of Philol-ogy 83:4 (1962), 412-419.
Hine, Harry M., Seneca, Natural Questions. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 2010.
Irrera, Orazio, "Pleasure and Transcendence of the Self: Notes on 'A Dialogue Too Soon Interrupted' Between Michel Foucault and Pierre Hadot," Philosophy and Social Criticism 36:9 (2010), 995-1017.
Laugier, Sandra, "Pierre Hadot as a reader of Wittgenstein," Paragraph 34:3 (2011), 322-337.
Long, Anthony A., "Aristotle's Legacy to Stoic Ethics," Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies 15 (1968), 72-85.
Malaspina, Ermanno, L. Annaei Senecae De clementia libri duo: Prolegomeni, testo critico e commento. Alessandria: Ed. dell'Orso, 2005.
McMahon, Jennifer A., "Beauty as Harmony of the Soul: the Aesthetic of the Stoics," in Proceedings of the 8th International Conference of Greek Studies 2009, ed. Marietta Rosetto, Michael Tsianikas, George Couvalis and Maria Palaktsoglou, 54-63. Modern Greek: Adelaide, 2012.
Montanari, Moreno, Hadot e Foucault nello specchio dei Greci: La filosofia antica come esercizio di trasformazione. Milano: Mimesis Edizioni, 2009.
Montanari, Moreno, "La Filosofia antica come esercizio spirituale e cura di sé nelle inter-pretazioni di Pierre Hadot e Michel Foucault," Studi Urbinati, B - Scienze Umane e Sociali 80 (2010), 343-353. https://doi.org/10.14276/2464-9333.189
Reynolds, L. D., L. Annaei Senecae Ad Lucilius Epistulae Morales. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1965.
Sharpe, Matthew, "Towards a Phenomenology of Sagesse: Uncovering the Unique Philo-sophical Problematic of Pierre Hadot," Angelaki 23:2 (2018), 125-138.
Sharpe, Matthew, "Introduction: Situating Hadot Today," in The Selected Writings of Pierre Hadot: Philosophy as Practice, ed. Matthew Sharpe and Federico Testa, 1-29. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2020.
Sharpe, Matthew and Matteo J. Stettler. "Pushing Against an Open Door: Agamben on Hadot and Foucault," Classical Receptions Journal 14:1 (2022), 120-139. https://doi.org/10.1093/crj/clab007
Simonazzi, Moreno, La formazione del soggetto nell'antichità: La lettura di Michel Foucault e di Pierre Hadot. Roma: Aracne Editrice, 2007.
Stephan, Cassiana Lopes, "Pierre Hadot e Michel Foucault: sobre a felicidade estoica e a experiência da alegria," Sapere Aude 7:13 (2016), 228-239. https://doi.org/10.5752/P.2177-6342.2016v7n13p228
Stimilli, Elettra, "Esercizi spirituali o tecniche di vita? Pierre Hadot e Michel Foucault a con-fronto," Pensiero: rivista di filosofia 46:1/2 (2008), 95-111.
Testa, Federico, "Towards a History of Philosophical Practices in Michel Foucault and Pierre Hadot," PLI: the Warwick Journal of Philosophy (2016), 168-190.
Wimberly, Cory, "The Joy of Difference: Foucault and Hadot on the Aesthetic and the Uni-versal in Philosophy," Philosophy Today 53:2 (2009), 191-202. https://doi.org/10.5840/philtoday200953261
Copyright (c) 2022 The Author
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Authors retain copyright to their work, but assign the right of the first publication to Foucault Studies. The work is subject to a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license, but despite these restrictions, authors can take for granted that Foucault Studies will permit articles published in Foucault Studies to be translated or reprinted in another format such as a book providing a full reference is made to Foucault Studies as the original place of publication.