Studies in Philosophy and Education

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 75–91 | Cite as

A Critical Theory of the Self: Wittgenstein, Nietzsche, Foucault

  • James D. Marshall


Critical thinking, considered as a version of informallogic, must consider emotions and personal attitudesin assessing assertions and conclusions in anyanalysis of discourse. It must therefore presupposesome notion of the self. Critical theory may be seenas providing a substantive and non-neutral positionfor the exercise of critical thinking. It thereforemust presuppose some notion of the self. This paperargues for a Foucauldean position on the self toextend critical theory and provide a particularposition on the self for critical thinking. Thisposition on the self is developed from moretraditional accounts of the self from Descartes toSchopenhauer, Nietzsche and Wittgenstein.

self care of the self critical theory Schopenhauer Nietzsche Wittgenstein Foucault 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Beauvoir, Simone de: 1954, She Came to Stay, World Publishing, Cleveland (c 1943).Google Scholar
  2. Beauvoir, Simone de: 1948, The Blood of Others, Knopf, New York (c1945).Google Scholar
  3. Coppleston, S.J.: 1965, A History of Philosophy 7(2), Image Books, New York.Google Scholar
  4. Dewey, John: 1916, Democracy and Education, Macmillan, New York.Google Scholar
  5. Fogelin, R.J.: 1996, ‘Wittgensteins Critique of Philosophy’, in H. Sluga (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Wittgenstein, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 34-58.Google Scholar
  6. Foucault, M.: 1977, ‘Truth and Power’, in C. Gordon (ed.), Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings, Pantheon, New York, pp. 109-133.Google Scholar
  7. Foucault, M.: 1978, ‘Quest-ce-que la Critique’, Bulletin de la Société Francaise de Philosophie 84(2), April–June, 1984.Google Scholar
  8. Foucault, M.: 1979, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, Vintage, New York.Google Scholar
  9. Foucault, M.: 1983, ‘Afterword: The Subject and Power’, in H. Dreyfus and P. Rabinow (eds.), Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics, Chicago University Press, Chicago, pp. 208-226.Google Scholar
  10. Foucault, M.: 1984a, ‘The Ethics of the Concern for Self as a Practice of Freedom’, in P. Rabinow (ed.), Michel Foucault: Ethics, Subjectivity, Truth, The New Press, New York, pp. 281-301.Google Scholar
  11. Foucault, M.: 1984b, ‘The Concern for Truth’, in L.D. Kritzman (ed.), Michel Foucault: Politics, Philosophy, Culture, Routledge, London and New York, pp. 255-267.Google Scholar
  12. Foucault, M.: 1984c, ‘What is Enlightenment?’ in P. Rabinow (ed.), The Foucault Reader, Pantheon, New York, pp. 32-50.Google Scholar
  13. Gordon, C.: 1980, Michel Foucault: Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings, Pantheon, New York.Google Scholar
  14. Gordon, C.: 1991, ‘Introduction’, in D. Burchell, C. Gordon and P. Miller (eds.), The Foucault Effect: Studies in Governmentality, Chicago University Press, Chicago, pp. 1-52.Google Scholar
  15. Gutman, H.: 1988, ‘Rousseaus Confessions: A Technology of the Self’, in L.H. Martin, H. Gutman and P.H. Hutton (eds.), Technologies of the Self: A Seminar with Michel Foucault, University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst, pp. 99-120.Google Scholar
  16. Henriques, J. et al.: 1984, Changing the Subject, Methuen, London.Google Scholar
  17. Habermas, J.: 1987, The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity, Polity Press, London.Google Scholar
  18. Honderich, T.: 1995, The Oxford Companion to Philosophy, Oxford University Press, Oxford & New York.Google Scholar
  19. Hume D.: 1888, A Treatise of Human Nature, Oxford University Press, London.Google Scholar
  20. Janaway, C.: 1989, Self and World in Schopenhauers Philosophy, Oxford University Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  21. Lankshear, C.J.: 1982, Freedom and Education: Toward a Non-rational Philosophy of Education, Milton Brookes, Auckland.Google Scholar
  22. Locke J.: 1924, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Oxford University Press, London (c1690).Google Scholar
  23. Lyotard, J-F.: 1984, The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge, Transl. G. Bennington & A. Massumi, Manchester University Press, Manchester.Google Scholar
  24. MacMillan, C.J.B.: 1985, ‘Rational Teaching’, Teachers College Record 86, 411-422.Google Scholar
  25. Marshall, J.D.: 1996a, ‘The Autonomous Chooser and ‘Reforms’ in Education’, Studies in Philosophy and Education 15(1), 89-96.Google Scholar
  26. Marshall, J.D.: 1996b, Michel Foucault: Personal Autonomy and Education, Kluwer, Dordrecht.Google Scholar
  27. Marshall, J.D.: 1998, ‘Simone de Beauvoir: The Self in the Metaphysical Novels’, Philosophical Studies in Education 1997, pp. 90-101.Google Scholar
  28. Marshall, J.D.: 1999, ‘The Mode of Information and Education: Insights on Critical Theory from Michel Foucault’, in T. Popkewitz and L. Fendler (eds.), Critical Theories in Education: Changing Terrains of Knowledge and Politics, Routledge, New York, pp. 141-163.Google Scholar
  29. Marshall, J.D.: 2000, ‘Nietzsches New Philosopher: The Arts and the Self’, in M. Peters and J. Marshall (eds.), Past and Present Values: Nietzsches Legacy for Education, Bergin and Garvey, Westport, Con. (in press).Google Scholar
  30. McCarty, L.P. and McCarty, D.C.: 1995, ‘Wittgenstein on the Unreasonableness of Education: Connecting Teaching and Meaning’, in P. Smeyers and J.D. Marshall (eds.), Philosophy and Education: Accepting Wittgensteins Challenge, Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp. 63-76.Google Scholar
  31. Miller, J.: 1993, The Passion of Michel Foucault, Simon and Schuster, New York.Google Scholar
  32. Nietzsche, A.: 1966a, The Birth of Tragedy, Transl. Walter Kaufmann, Viking Press, New York.Google Scholar
  33. Nietzsche, F.: 1966b, Beyond Good and Evil, Transl. W. Kaufmann, Viking Press, New York.Google Scholar
  34. Nietzsche, F.: 1968, The Will to Power, Transl. W. Kaufmann and R.J. Hollingdale, Vintage Press, New York.Google Scholar
  35. Nietzsche, A.: 1976, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, in W. Kaufmann (ed.), Transl. & ed. The Portable Nietzsche, Penguin, Harmondsworth, pp. 103-429.Google Scholar
  36. Nietzsche, F.: 1983, Untimely Meditations, Transl. R.J. Hollingdale, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  37. Peters, M. and Marshall, J.: 1999, Wittgenstein: Philosophy, Postmodernism, Pedagogy, Bergin and Garvey, Westport, Con.Google Scholar
  38. Popkewitz, T. and Fendler, L. (eds.): 1999, Critical Theories in Education: Changing Terrains of Knowledge and Politics, Routledge, New York.Google Scholar
  39. Poster, M.: 1984, Foucault, Marxism, History: Mode of Production Versus Mode of Information, Polity Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  40. Poster, M.: 1989, Critical Theory and Poststructuralism: In Search of a Context, Cornell University Press, Ithaca.Google Scholar
  41. Poster M.: 1993, The Mode of Information, Chicago University Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  42. Rabinow, P. (ed.): 1997, Michel Foucault: Ethics, Subjectivity, Truth, The New Press, New York.Google Scholar
  43. Rousseau, J-J.: 1953, The Confesssions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Penguin, Harmondsworth (c1781).Google Scholar
  44. Russell, B.: 1946, A History of Western Philosophy, George Allen and Unwin, London.Google Scholar
  45. Schopenhauer, A.: 1996, The World as Will and Representation, Transl. E.F.J. Payne, Dover, New York (c1819).Google Scholar
  46. Schopenhauer, A.: 1883, The World as Will and Idea, Transl. R.J. Haldane and J. Kemp, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London (c1819).Google Scholar
  47. Shoemaker, S.: 1963, Self Knowledge and Self Identity, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, N.Y.Google Scholar
  48. Sluga, H.: 1996a, The Cambridge Companion to Wittgenstein, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  49. Sluga, H.: 1996b, ‘“Whose Home is That?”: Wittgenstein on the Self’, in H. Sluga (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Wittgenstein, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 320-353.Google Scholar
  50. Taylor, C.: 1989, Sources of the Self: The Making of Modern Identity, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass.Google Scholar
  51. Usher, R., Bryant, I. and Rennie, J.: 1997, Adult Education and the Postmodern Challenge: Learning Beyond the Limits, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London.Google Scholar
  52. Wellmer, A.: 1985, ‘Reason, Utopia and the Dialectic of Enlightenment’, in R.J. Bernstein (ed.), Habermas and Modernity, Blackwell, Oxford.Google Scholar
  53. Wittgenstein, L.: 1953, Philosophical Investigations, Basil Blackwell, Oxford.Google Scholar
  54. Wittgenstein, L.: 1958, The Blue and the Brown Books, Blackwell, Oxford.Google Scholar
  55. Wittgenstein, L.: 1961, Notebooks, 1914–1916, Blackwell, Oxford.Google Scholar
  56. Wittgenstein, L.: 1971, Tractatus-Logico-Philosophicus, Basil Blackwell, Oxford.Google Scholar
  57. Wittgenstein, L.: 1975, Philosophical Remarks, Basil Blackwell, Oxford.Google Scholar
  58. Wittgenstein, L.: 1982, Last Writings on the Philosophy of Psychology, in G.H. von Wright and H. Nyman (eds.), Blackwell, Oxford.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • James D. Marshall
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of AucklandNew Zealand

Personalised recommendations