CultureLab • Seminar

Lucas Nascimento Machado

Life Beyond Capitalism: An Attempt at an Interlocution Between Hadot, Foucault and Byung-Chul Han

14 June | 4 PM (UTC+1)

11 AM New York
12 PM Brasilia
4 PM Lisbon
5 PM Central Europe
For other locations click here.


Byung-Chul Han is one of the most debated philosophers of our time, who reached great projection with his most famous book, Burnout Society. In Byung-Chul Han’s philosophy, we see a critique of how power works in our society today, so to make us entrepreneurs of the self, that voluntarily explore ourselves to attend productivity demands, while believing to be entirely free in this self-exploitation. However, one can find in Byung-Chul Han’s work not only a critique of our current forms of life, but, in works such as Philosophy of Zen Buddhism, Ode to the Earth and, most recently, Vita Contemplativa, also a more propositive side to his philosophy, where he points to what could be a way of life alternative to our current modes of living, that would allow us to live truly full and free lives. One of the things that is remarkable about this propositive side of Han’s philosophy is that, although he never explicitly quotes Hadot in any work, his descriptions of this alternative way of life, particularly in Vita Contemplativa, coincide in many and significant ways with Hadot’s descriptions of philosophy as a way of life. Not only that: his critique of Foucault’s care of the self, as an alternative way of life to the one that society imposes upon us, has many and significant parallels to Hadot’s own critique of Foucault’s notion. With this in mind, in our presentation, we’ll attempt to explore these connections between Hadot’s understanding of PWL, Foucault’s care of the self, and Byung-Chul Han’s “Affability” (understood as the paradigm of the alternative way of live he proposes), in such a way that highlights how PWL is a central theme to understand and deal with some of the main problems and impasses that we face today as a society, particularly in the modes of subjectivity and understandings of freedom available to us today.


Lucas Nascimento Machado is substitute professor of History of Philosophy at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, having completed his PhD and his MA in Philosophy at the University of São Paulo. He is the current director of the Latin-American Network of Intercultural Philosophy (ALAFI), author of the book Hegel and the Relationship Between Skepticism and Philosophy (Editora Dialética, 2022), and one of the translators of Byung-Chul Han’s work to Brazilian Portuguese, while also having translated works of other modern and contemporary philosophers such as Hegel, Fichte, Markus Gabriel and Dieter Henrich. He has published several articles and given talks on German Idealism, Philosophy of Mind, Ancient Philosophy (both Greek and Indian), Intercultural Philosophy, Byung-Chul Han’s philosophy, PWL and other themes.

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