Comprised of six lectures delivered, in English, by Michel Foucault while teaching at Berkeley in the Fall of 1983, Fearless Speech was edited by Joseph Pearson and published in 2001. Reviewed by the author, it is the last book Foucault wrote before his death in 1984 and can be read as his last testament. Here, he positions the philosopher as the only person able to confront power with the truth, a stance that boldly sums up Foucault’s project as a philosopher.
Still unpublished in France, Fearless Speech concludes the genealogy of truth that Foucault pursued throughout his life, starting with his investigations in Madness and Civilization, into the question of power and its technology. The expression “fearless speech” is a rough translation of the Greek parrhesia, which designates those who take a risk to tell the truth; the citizen who has the moral qualities required to speak the truth, even if it differs from what the majority of people believe and faces danger for speaking it.