Philosophy

Please choose any two of the following four essay questions and write an easy on each one, about 2-3 double-spaced pages long. Your overall exam should be 5 to 6 pages in total.

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1. In his book Discipline and Punish, Michel Foucault, proposes the concept of disciplinary power as more adequate for thinking about how power has been exercised since the 18th century. Compare Foucault’s analysis with Machiavelli’s The Prince as illustrative of a different (“pre-disciplinary”) technology of power. As you discuss Foucault, you may want to talk about the function of hierarchical observation, normalizing judgment, and the examination as different facets of the new disciplinary power. For Foucault, disciplinary power is power over ordinary men and women, both individually and collectively. By contrast, how much do we learn about “the people” in Machiavelli’s text, and how is his vision different from Foucault’s?

2. In his text on “alienated labor” from the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts, Karl Marx identifies four different aspects of what constitutes human labor as alienated. Compare Marx’s discussion with Silvia Federici’s exploration of the (sexual) “alienation” that women experience under capitalism. After talking about Marx’s text, you may want to explore, with Federici, the different facets of “sex-as-work” for women at home. What are some of the significant differences between the arguments of the two texts?

3. As he argues that in the 18th and 19th centuries, Western European societies develop “disciplinary” mechanisms for the control of their populations, Foucault suggests that this new type of disciplinary power operates by continuous surveillance, normalization, and practices of examination. By contrast, Paul Preciado claims that 21st-century capitalism no longer operates by way of discipline alone, but rather on the basis of a “pharmaco-pornographic” regime of power. Drawing on the two authors, compare the key characteristics of the two technologies of power that they discuss. What are, for Preciado, some of the inherent limits of disciplinary power, and why does he claim that “pharmaco-pornographic” capitalism operates far more efficiently and seamlessly?

4. Using Silvia Federici’s “Why Sexuality Is Work” and Arruzza, Bhattacharya, and Fraser Feminism for the 99%: A Manifesto, develop a Marxist feminist critique of contemporary capitalist society. With Federici, make sure to explore the different reasons that often turn the experience of female sexuality into another chore. Drawing on Feminism for the 99%, talk about what kind of feminism they are interested in, and also what their critique of mainstream types of liberal/corporate/carceral feminism is. Do you see any significant differences between the two texts? For more information on Philosophy check on this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy

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