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Governing through Ethics: the (Neo)liberal challenge to Politics
Donnerstag, 7. November 2019, 16:00 bis 18:00
Gastvortrag von Florence Caeymaex
As a member of Ethics and Bioethics Committees and as a philosopher, I question how the institutionalization of Ethics has become part of our « ethical life » (Sittlichkeit), changing the meaning of Ethics itself and our expectations about it. Its institutionalization is often seen (and presented) as the result of a historical move within liberal societies — as a choice tool for a democratic „government of sciences and technologies“ (Pestre, 2014). However, some tensions within the heterogeneous field of institutional ethical practices (which I will illustrate through two examples) challenge this view, asking for further inquiry into such « government ». Drawing from Foucault’s analysis of the neoliberal re-programming of the liberal governmentality as well as from more recent analysis of the neoliberal turn (W. Brown), I will try to show how some ethical practices are incorporated into a « governance » framework that both obfuscates its political significance and diminishes its democratic potential. On the occasion of this talk to social sciences scholars, I’d like to address the following question: how could we possibly build a historical & strategical understanding of the emergence of the ethical expertise at the turn of the 70’s ?
Florence Caeymaex teaches contemporary political philosophy at the University of Liège (Belgium).
Her research in history of philosophy is dedicated to ethical and political aspects of both philosophies of life and philosophies of existence (Bergson, Canguilhem, Foucault, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty); her current research concerns the question of Ethics itself, in its relation to politics. This work is partly a reflection on her longstanding experience of Ethics committees within the domains of health and research. FC is vice-president of the Belgian Advisory Committee on Bioethics and of two Research Ethics boards at the University of Liège. She published a number of papers and book chapters of contemporary history of philosophy (mainly in French). Her last publication is a collected essays book on and with Donna Haraway, co-edited with Vinciane Despret and Julien Pieron (Habiter le trouble avec Donna Haraway, éditions Dehors, 2019, in French).