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Federico Testa

I am currently based at the University of BristolLink opens in a new window, where I hold an independent British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship.

I obtained my PhD in Philosophy at the University of Warwick and Monash University (Australia) in 2019. I have been a Postgraduate Fellow at the European University Institute (Italy), an Early Career Fellow and an Associate Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Study (IAS) of the University of Warwick, and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at PUC-Rio (Brazil). I specialise in Continental philosophy and political theory, and my work focuses on ethical and political issues concerning the notions of life and normativity. Drawing on 20th-century thinkers such as Michel Foucault and Georges Canguilhem, and 19th-century ones, notably Friedrich Nietzsche, I explore different ways to conceive of the relation between life and norms, through a renewed notion of normativity.

I have two main research strands:

1. The first explores the field of biopolitics and the concepts of life, norm and normativity in the works of Michel Foucault and Georges Canguilhem. My attempt is to read Foucault’s work from the perspective of Canguilhem’s notion of normativity. This framework allows me to connect different moments of Foucault’s research, mobilising the notion of norm in order to understand both the functioning of power over life and modern governmental technologies, and the relation to norms mobilised in the creation of ways of life and the government of the self. This renewed notion of normativity allows us to redefined the idea of critique in Foucault's working, responding to the challenges posed by critical theorists. I have recently finished a monograph on this topic, On the Politics of the Living: Life and Norms in Foucault and Canguilhem.

At the University of Bristol, I am further developing this research strand and working on a second book project focusing on the ethical and political aspects of Canguilhem's thought, situating it in the context of the debates on pacifism and resistance during the two World Wars.

2. My second research strand explores the revival of the Hellenistic tradition within modern and contemporary philosophy. I have published a critical edition and translation of Jean-Marie Guyau’s The Ethics of EpicurusLink opens in a new window (co-edited with Keith Ansell-Pearson, Bloomsbury, 2021) and, together with Matthew Sharpe, I have translated and edited Pierre Hadot’s Selected Writings. Philosophy as Practice (Bloomsbury 2020).

As a lecturer and tutor, I worked at the University of Bristol, University of Warwick, Deakin University (Australia), Monash University (Australia), as well as in different institutions in Brazil. I have teaching experience in the history of philosophy, social and political theory and aesthetics. I have designed and currently convene the module "Thinking Radically in Twentieth-Century France" at the University of Bristol, which explores different ideas of resistance and submission in the context of French political thinking and philosophy in the 20th century.


Selected Publications

  • For a full list of publications, please visit my profile on


Articles and book chapters:

  • “A Neglected Philosopher: Georges Canguilhem Beyond Epistemology and the History of
    , Revue internationale de philosophie, forthcoming.
  • “Between Pleasure and Truth-Telling: The Place of Epicureanism in the Interrupted Dialogue Between Michel Foucault and Pierre Hadot”, in M. Faustino & H. Telo, eds., Hadot and Foucault on Ancient Philosophy: Critical Assessments, Brill, 2024.
  • “Jean-Marie Guyau on Life and Morality” (with Keith Ansell-Pearson), in M. Sinclair & D. Whistler, eds., Oxford Handbook of Modern French PhilosophyLink opens in a new window, Oxford University Press, 2024.
  • "Foucault’s Epicureanism: Parrhēsia, Confession and the Genealogy of the Self", Arethusa, vol. 53, no. 3, 2023.
  • “Guyau et Nietzsche, lecteurs d’Épicure”, in A. Contini & J. Riba, eds., Guyau et ses contemporains, Lyon: ENS Éditions, 2023.
  • “A Filosofia como Modo de Vida: Cartografia de um Debate” [“Philosophy as a Way of LIfe: Cartography of a Debate”] (with M. Faustino), in F. Testa & M. Faustino, eds., A Filosofia como Modo de Vida: Ensaios, Lisboa: Edições 70, 2022.
  • “Guyau on Epicurus and the Art of Living: A Novel Approach to the History of Philosophy" (with K. Ansell-Pearson), in Jean-Marie Guyau, The Ethics of Epicurus, London: Bloomsbury, 2021
  • “The Great Cycle of the World: Cosmic Perspective and Spiritual Practices in Foucault and Hadot”, in Marta Faustino & Gianfranco Ferraro, eds., Ethical Questions in the Late FoucaultLink opens in a new window, Bloomsbury, 2020.
  • “Is an Art of Living Possible Today? Foucault and Canguilhem on the Norms of Life”, in Jean-Marc Narbonne, Hans-Jürgen Lüsebrink & Heinrich Schlange-Schöningen, eds., Michel Foucault. Repenser les rapports entre les Grecs et Les Modernes, Vrin & Presses de l’Université Laval, 2020.

  • “Guyau and Nietzsche on the Temporality of Epicurean Pleasure”, in Vinod Acharya & Ryan Johnson, eds., Nietzsche and EpicurusLink opens in a new window, Bloomsbury, 2020.
  • “Guyau’s Spinoza: Between Epicureanism and Stoicism”
    Parrhesia: A Journal of Critical Philosophy, 32, 2020.
  • “Jean-Marie Guyau’s Presence and Absence in the History of Philosophy”
    Pli: The Warwick Journal of Philosophy, Volume 30: Restoration and Resistance, 2019.
  • “Pleasure and Self-Cultivation in Guyau and Nietzsche” (with M. Dennis)
    The Agonist (Nietzsche Circle, New York). Volume X, Issue II, Spring 2017.
  • “Hacia una Historia de las Prácticas Filosóficas en Michel Foucault y Pierre Hadot”.
    Konvergencias. Filosofía y Cultura en Diálogo (Buenos Aires), Número 24, 2017.
  • “Towards a History of Philosophical Practices in Michel Foucault and Pierre Hadot”.
    Pli: The Warwick Journal of Philosophy. Special Volume. Self-Cultivation: Ancient and Modern. 2016.
  • “An Archaeology of Silence: experience and power in Michel Foucault’s History of Madness.
    “Uma arqueologia do silêncio: experiência e poder na História da loucura de Michel Foucault”. Cultura e Fé (Porto Alegre), 2013.
  • "Michel Foucault and Hellenism: Subjectivation and the Care of the Self”.
    “Michel Foucault e o helenismo: subjetivação e cuidado de si”. Intuitio (Porto Alegre), v. 4, 2011.
  • “Art from a Sociological Point of View: Jean-Marie Guyau’s Aesthetics and Minor Sociology”.
    “A arte do ponto de vista sociológico: a estética e a sociologia menor de Jean-Marie Guyau”. Cultura e Fé (Porto Alegre), v. 132, 2011.


Edited volumes, translations and critical editions:

  • A Filosofia como Modo de Vida: Ensaios Escolhidos, F. Testa & M. Faustino, eds., Lisbon: Edições 70, 2022.
  • Jean-Marie Guyau, The Ethics of Epicurus and its Relations to Contemporary Doctrines, London & New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2021 (paperback edition forthcoming), translated by F. Testa, co-edited with K. Ansell-Pearson, with a critical introduction by the editors.
  • Pierre Hadot, Selected Writings: Philosophy as Practice, London & New York: Bloomsbury,
    2020. Co-edited and translated with M. Sharpe.


Conference Papers

  • "Crafting Vital Norms: Life and Technique Between Foucault and Canguilhem" (invited talk).
    Historical Epistemology Workshop, University of Pennsylvania, USA, 2023.
  • "On the Technologies of Life: Between Foucault and Canguilhem". (invited talk).
    Cycle de conférences Liberté(s) confinée(s), ENSTA/Institut Polytechnique de Paris, France, 2023.
  • "Des exercices spirituels à une pragmatique de la norme" (invited talk).
    Actualité des exercices spirituels : histoire, éthique et esthétique, Collège International de Philosophie, Paris, France, 2022.
  • "The Political Economies of the Punitive Society" (invited talk).
    Abolition 13/13, Columbia University, USA, 2021.
  • "From Pacifism to Resistance: Georges Canguilhem as a Political Thinker".
    Society for French Studies Annual Conference, UK, 2021.
  • "Espiritualidade Política e Conversão Revolucionária em Michel Foucault". (invited talk).
    Formas de Conversão, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, 2021.
  • ‘Between Pleasure and Duty: Jean-Marie Guyau and the History of Ethics’ (invited talk).
    Arts of Living Permanent Seminar, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, 2021.
  • “Life and Norms: Foucault and Canguilhem”.
    Foucault at Warwick, 2020.
  • “Georges Canguilhem and the Notion of Crisis in the History of Medicine”.
    Warwick Continental Philosophy Conference. The University of Warwick, 2020.
  • “Decadence and Degeneration: Between Sickness and Health” (with L. Serini).
    Nietzsche, Psychologist of Décadence (Seminario Permanente Netzscheano). Ca’ Foscari, University of Venice, 2018.
  • "The Vitality of the Norm: Ways of Life and Normativity in Foucault and Canguilhem".
    Reinventing Philosophy as a Way of Life (Workshop). Monash University Prato Centre, Prato, Italy, 2018.
  • "Nietzsche and Guyau on the Temporality of Epicurean Pleasure".
    Art of Living / Art of Dying: Philosophical and Literary Perspectives (Conference). Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal, 2018.
  • “Jean-Marie Guyau, the Ethics of Epicurus: Pleasure and Duty in the History of Moral Thought”.
    Modern Receptions of Epicureanism: Political Receptions and the Politics of Reception (MWP Multidisciplinary Research Workshop). European University Institute, Florence, Italy, 2018.
  • “Guyau et Nietzsche lecteurs d’Épicure”.
    Jean-Marie Guyau et ses contemporains (Conference). Université Paris 8 and Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, Paris, France, 2018.
  • “Norma, filosofía y modo de vida: una lectura de Foucault con Canguilhem”.
    V Congreso Internacional La actualidad de Michel Foucault (Conference). Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Madrid, Spain, 2018.
  • “Foucault and the Enlightenment”.
    The Legacy of the Enlightenment (Workshop). European University Institute. Florence, Italy, 2017.
  • “Foucault on Bio-techniques: A Critical History of Norms”.

    II Congreso Internacional Michel Foucault (Conference). Universidad de Granada. Granada, Spain, 2017.

  • “On the Politics of the Living: Foucault, Canguilhem and the Norms of Life”.
    Reinventing Philosophy as a Way of Life (Workshop). Monash University, Prato, Italy, 2017.

  • “Vitalismo e Políticas do Vivente em Foucault e Canguilhem”.
    I Workshop Natureza, Vitalismo e Ecologia: pensar o naturalismo filosófico. IMED University, Porto Alegre, Brazil, 2017.

  • “‘The Great Cycle of the World’: Knowledge of Nature and the Cosmologic Perspective of the Care of the Self in the Hermeneutics of the Subject”.
    Government of self, government of others. Ethical and political questions in the late Foucault (Conference). Universidade Nova de Lisboa. Lisbon, Portugal, 2017.

  • “Is There a Politics of the Care of the Self in Michel Foucault?”
    Foucault Circle 2016 (Conference). University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney, Australia, 2016.

  • “Way of Life, Spirituality and Care of the Self: the Reception of Hellenistic Philosophies in Michel Foucault and Pierre Hadot”
    Prospects for an Ethics of Self-Cultivation: Modern Appraisals of the Hellenistic Legacy (Conference). Monash University Prato Centre. Prato, Italy, 2015.

  • “Libera Multitudo: Politics and Ontology in Spinoza’s Tratactus Politicus”.
    Power Ontologies in Ethics and Politics (Conference). University of Queensland, Australia, 2015.

  • “Guyau’s Spinoza: Selections from La Morale d'Épicure(with M.Dennis).
    Power Ontologies in Ethics and Politics (Workshop). University of Queensland, Australia, 2015.

  • “Michel Foucault on Literature: Philosophy and Politics of Writing”.
    Filosofia em Debate (Conference). Faculdade IDC. Porto Alegre, Brazil, 2014.


I am a British Academy Postdoctoral FellowLink opens in a new window at the University of Bristol.

I completed my PhD at the University of Warwick and Monash University (Australia) in 2019. Supervisors: Miguel de Beistegui (Warwick) and Michael Ure (Monash).

Academia pageLink opens in a new window


GuyauLink opens in a new window

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Foucault at Warwick 2018

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