Vortrag im Rahmen der Veranstaltung „Das Theoriezentrum zu Gast beim Kolloquium Mittelalter und Frühe Neuzeit“.
According to Michel Foucault’s controversial thesis, the genesis of the individual in the Christian West is closely linked to self-mastering and everyone’s relationship with their own flesh. It is in relation to the manifestation of concupiscence, a kind of law that inhabits every human being in opposition to reason, that a culture of self-knowledge has taken root through the monitoring of one’s body and one’s feelings (Confessions of the Flesh, 2018). But how central is subjectivity in relation to corporeality and its uses, outside of religious discourse? The risk of projecting onto the past a proprietary vision of the body and a centrality of subjectivity can be averted by further exploration not only of the notions of body and person in the normative corpus (theological, juridical, medical) that regulates these aspects of human living, but also of the visions of time that underlie them. In the presence of an apocalyptic vision of history, which proceeds by premonitions and returns, and a biological vision of human life as marked by ineluctable phases, what space is granted to the centrality of individual desire as a shaping force of subjectivity? What idea of the human being emerges from these tensions?