Truth Through Confession: An Analysis On Rousseau And Foucault

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Truth through Confession: An analysis on Rousseau and Foucault How do we know the truth about ourselves and how do we communicate it? Foucault explores these questions in The History of Sexuality where he poses the “repressive hypothesis” that repressing sex in society caused the opposite effect. There occurred a proliferation of sexual discourse where sex became part of every sector of society entering spaces such as education and medicine. The confession is the primary means of discourse, in other words how information and power are disseminated in society. To Foucault the confession is a mechanism that produces truth; through confession we are creating a truth about ourselves. When considering Rousseau’s autobiography The Confessions of Jean…show more content…
Yet the process of writing a book is in many ways private and solitary. Foucault sheds light on the viability of writing as a forum for confession stating “one confesses . . . things it would be impossible to tell to anyone else, the things people write books about”. Knowing that the book was written after his political works and the heavy criticism surrounding his political ideals, the Confessions served as a way for Rousseau to justify himself and his work to society through divulging the details of his life through his coming of age. Writing in the first person he reveals details about his education and problems with authority as well as secret desires and crimes. While he claims these revelations are truthful confessions, there are moments in which Rousseau is an inconsistent narrator and his version of truth differs from true events. His inconsistencies call into question the meaning of the truth he produces. Through a Foucauldian lens, Rousseau’s Confessions shows the creation of a distinct type of truth one that liberates its confessor even if straying from
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