Bios: Ethical Fourfold
Paul Rabinow
Anthony Stavrianakis
Fourfold: The Actual

This is the fourfold that allows us to move from the actual to the virtual.

Ethical substance Parastēma

Askesis Technē tou biou

Subjectivation Vindicare

Telos Eudaemonia  

Given the problematization that we have diagnosed, and given our inquiries that provided the subjectivational and veridictional experiences and insights that warranted our diagnosis, we need to make this explicit so that it can be subjected to scrutiny. We have given form to a mode of subjectivation that we think with some justification aids us in further form giving appropriate to this problem space.

Ethical Substance

The reason we think that the ethical substance has to be one in which truth and conduct are into a flourishing or capacity building relationship is that both Weber and Geertz separated truth and conduct. This separation we have argued led to two dead ends: Weber's mis-diagnosis of the truth side, science, led to an exaggerated formulation of the conduct side. Geertz impoverished view of the conduct side, led to an impoverished view of the truth side. Both Weber and Geertz got the actual configurations of discordancy, but did not re-problematize whether you could move to actual configurations.

Askesis: Techne tou biou

There are practices of techne tou biou which are known (Seneca etc.), however, they need to be re-integrated into a different form and substance. This re-integration requires refactored and repurposed logos to bear on this newly introduced ethical substance.

Even the effort to experiment with a reintegration has provoked demands for self-justification.

Vindicare is not individual; the form presupposes and contributes to a practice of philia. Vindicare for Seneca and Lucilius was oriented to ataraxia in and from the present; for us the appropriate form for vindicare is re-purposed with respect to collaborative inquiry. The counterpoint to ataraxia is restiveness. Hence, not only the logos side but the conduct side, this restiveness, doubly provoke calls for self-justification, which somehow can never be satisfied. The call can never be satisfied, not because we had nothing to say, but because others were incapable of listening. Seneca picks out listening as the starting point for thinking and philosophy. Plutarch picks it out as the starting point to exit immaturity. Self Justification wouldn't work and hence we needed a substitute.

(Erik, Jim, Khushf)

Mode of Subjectivation: Vindicare

Once we understood we needed a substitute for self-justification as the only way to move from actual configurations to a configuration of the actual, Seneca's concept of vindicare (possession of oneself, one's time and the actuality of the situation one finds oneself in) seemed like the right concept. Furthermore, it seemed that it could be used to produce the right form. For Seneca and Lucilius the form was the exchange of letters. For us, the form is a practice bridging truth and conduct. In order to make parastema part of a practice, one needed to possess and make actual the veridictional side as well as the conduct side. Vindicare was a cover term to at least indicate what this practice could be.

It was not self-justification in that it had eliminated a communicational and defensive response, through its production via inquiry of a significant body of work and the growing understanding that this work could only have been performed if there was from the start a techne tou biou with a metric beyond instrumentally.

Telos: Eudaemonia

Listening to the good daemon: having performed vindicare, we are now listening to the good daemon. This is not reactive to the demons although the attacks of the demons (the calls for self-justification) were not superfluous. We had to do the work of transforming the calls for self-justification into possessing freely the warranted claims that we could make about the actual and its demands.

The transformation of calls for self-justification, which we understood as a call to take this up as a problem enabled us to see that self-justification was the deficiency and that the excess would be to ignore or be satisfied with the work we had done, as having already answered this challenge of truth and conduct. Hence, the problem of eudaemonia at this in this context was to find a mean.

The identification of the need for a mean was what the daemon was whispering in our ears. The mean is never an essence, it is what has been called an "horos," a boundary or measure.