The concept of parrhesia, or free speech, was explored by the philosopher Michel Foucault to describe the discourse between a person of high political power and a subordinate, wherein the subordinate is risking his own well-being or freedom in order to convey an unwelcome truth. In Foucault’s Discourse and Truth lectures, he briefly entertains a link between political rhetoric and parrhesia before dismissing the concepts as completely incompatible. According to Foucault, parrhesia requires a dialectic format and a real threat to the speaker, and rhetorical speeches lack both. However, the scholar of Greek philosophy, Laurent Pernot, hosted a lecture at the University of Southern Mississippi that focused on how the two concepts may be compatible, referencing the distinction between emotional rhetoric and political parrhesia. A link between Foucault’s parrhesia and Pernot’s concept of rhetoric may be fleshed out with the help of the concept of modernity from Foucault’s “What is Englightenment?” essay.
"Political Rhetoric: The Modern Parrhesia,"
The Catalyst: Vol. 4
, Article 5.
Available at: https://aquila.usm.edu/southernmisscatalyst/vol4/iss1/5