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Written by fabiorojas
December 31, 2011 at 12:01 am
Posted in fabio, just theory
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Here’s what I’d like to know now that we have a certified Foucault expert in the house.
Foucault is often lumped together with other suspicious people like Derrida into some kind of diffuse and undefined mass called post-modernism. But was there ever really anything radical about Foucault’s philosophy of science, or is he unjustly being coupled with all those other typically anti-science people beause he chose to study weird stuff? Was Foucault perhaps really just a confused and/or misunderstood empiricist with a radical research agenda?
December 31, 2011 at 1:57 pm
Mike: Good question. This deserves a whole post, but my answer is that Foucault is “a little po-mo” but not too much. He clearly believes in truth, doesn’t address issues of meta-narrative, and doesn’t make any comment about the difference between industrial and post-industrial society. These are all core po-mo statements and he either rejects or ignores them.
The one point of agreement, in my view, is that Foucault believes in a de-centering of self. He means that modern (1600+) people operate in a culture where your attention or focus is diplaced through a system of symbols that have their internal logic. That was the argument of The Order of Things.
But most of Foucault’s other claims aren’t terribly po-mo. For example, the History of Sexuality project is all about the formation of a discipline that legitimizes the regulation of sex. You don’t need po-mo to buy that, nor do you need to be po-mo to believe that modern people have internalized a sense of order and are no longer rules by threat of violence.
January 2, 2012 at 4:45 am
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