The Concepts of (dis)pleasure and pain in Nietzsche and Foucault

Karatekeli, Emre
This thesis seeks to problematise Nietzsche’s and Foucault’s interpretations of the feelings of pleasure, displeasure, and pain. For this purpose, I firstly bring under discussion Nietzsche’s treatment of the feelings in question on a physiological and a cultural level, by dealing with The Will to Power and On the Genealogy of Morality, respectively. In this part of the study, I examine the issues of, inter alia, the critique of the overvaluation of consciousness, the ineluctable yet predominantly forgotten significance of the body in human life, the novelty and radicality of immanency in the Nietzschean art of interpretation, and the possibility of a partial antidote to modern nihilism, as provided by ancient Greek life. Secondly, furthering my discussion on the cultural level, I investigate Foucault’s conceptualisation of pain and pleasure in his two works, Discipline and Punish and The Use of Pleasure, respectively.I aim to demonstrate how Nietzschean Foucault is in his construal of the role of the body and pain, as the latter undergoes fateful transformations in modernity as regards the economy of punishment. Foucault’s reading of ancient Greek (sexual) pleasures, aphrodisia, I claim, seeks to find a way out of modern asceticism or nihilism by revisiting enkrateia, namely asceticism à la the ancient Greeks.


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Citation Formats
E. Karatekeli, “The Concepts of (dis)pleasure and pain in Nietzsche and Foucault,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2016.