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The ethics of Foucault and Ricoeur: an underrepresented discussion in nursing

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FLAMING D. Nursing Inquiry 2006; 13: 220–227

The ethics of Foucault and Ricoeur: an underrepresented discussion in nursing

Paul Ricoeur and Michel Foucault enjoy a privileged status in nursing academia as two thinkers who influence both nursing research and philosophical explorations of nursing practice. Most nurse authors, however, focus only on the earlier works of these two philosophers and, for example, base qualitative research methodologies on Foucault's genealogy and Ricoeur's hermeneutics. In their later years, both these writers talk more explicitly about being an ethical self. Ideas from their earlier writing is evident in their writing on ethics and both writers could not discuss ethics without also exploring their ideas of the self and the other. I suggest that some of their thoughts on ethics connect with or complement each other quite well. I will first give an overview of Foucault's ethics, self and the other, and then do the same with Ricoeur's thought. In the third part of the paper I will describe how Foucault and Ricoeur complement each other, and conclude the paper by briefly suggesting how these writers influence my own practice as a nurse educator.

Keywords: Foucault; Ricoeur; ethics; self; the other

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1440-1800.2006.00323.x

Publication date: September 1, 2006

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