Philosophy and Religion
One of the fundamental issues in 20th century philosophy is of the nature of individual subjective experience. I seek to show how this “nature” is revealed and hidden by a historical process outlined in History of Madness by Michel Foucault. Foucault’s philosophical and anthropological engagement with the experience of madness in The Modern Age functions as a useful tool towards this end. The psychologisation and medicalization of madness in the 19th century allowed for an endless discourse on madness. This in turn permitted the language of the mad to burst open from its silence, historically present since the Great Confinement. This language of madness expressed itself poetically and artistically, thus revealing the paradoxical essence of the nature of human subjectivity as well as the particularity of its expression in the Modern Period. This particularity is elucidated from a genealogical account of the births of subjectivity and objectivity. I proceed to use this genealogy in conjunction with the language of madness to posit a prescriptive theory for aesthetic engagement. The essay seeks to show how the aesthetic experience can aid in the affirmation of the individual’s modern subjective reality. Thusly, the “goal” of the essay is to reveal affirmation, i.e., amor fati, the love of fate.
Advisor(s) or Committee Chair
Dr. Adrian Switzer
Graham, Clay, "Truth, Subjectivity, and the Aesthetic Experience: A Study of Michel Foucault's History of Madness" (2013). Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects. Paper 392.