From: "Gabriel Ash" <Gabriel.Ash.1@xxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 06 Jun 96 11:18:23
On Thu, 06 Jun 1996 11:23:28 +0100, ccw94@xxxxxxxxxx wrote:
>"Problematisation means neither the represantation of a preexisting object,
>nor >the creation by discourse of an object that doesn't exist. It is the
>sum total of >discursive and non discursive practices which causes something
>to enter the game>of the true and the false and constitutes it as an object
>Again, Garton, this is fine, but it refers, at least to me, to a process of
>'problematisation' and not to that which preceded it, nor that to which it
>is about. What I am trying to say is that here Foucault is stuck-fast on the
>epistemological axis, whereas in some of his later stuff he became more
>aware of the ontological conditions of possibility for truth claims.
Maybe, but this *is* one of his later writing, it appears one paragraph after
the citation you put in your signature.
>of course, I think it is encumbent upon those of us _interested_ in F to be
>critical of his work, and in this respect, the quote you use seems to be
>self-contradictory, since he wants to deny that this is a process that
>either preexists its symbolisation in thought or that it is created in
>thought. I personally find this formulation vacuous.
First, isolating the question weather F. conception of truth
has changed can be done apart from evaluating it.
Second, If "Madness & Civilization" is a problematisation of the object "mental illness"
then this object is neither created by Foucault, obviously, nor is it represented
by him. For "M&C" has its object not "mental illness" which is the object of
psychiatry, but "mental illness as object of psychiatry".
>Equally of course, the
>whole tenor of his argument tends to get undercut by his last phrase wherein
>he declares that it 'constitutes it as an object of thought', because this
>leaves underdetermined the issue of its existence outside of thought, which
>is at the very least an issue of truth that he alludes to in the much
>discussed truth quote, that is the distinction between truth and the
>thought of truth. So I find this whole quote problematic.
Not for me, for as I said, I don't think that F.'s truth/thought distinction can be
reduced to reality/representation of reality. Can you show F. defining
truth as that which is represented by thought?
> but the object is still constituted by
>>"the sum total of discursive and non discursive practices",
>The object in thought I take you to mean. At least I hope so. You aren't
>trying to tell me that you really think we make the world are you?
The object of discourse which is also the object of thought, what other
objects do we have in science? chemical-reactions-in-themselves?
>and ascription of truth
>>and falsehood continue to be concieved as a game, even as the whole
>question of truth
>>ceases to be the focus of interest.
>Well I agree they are a game. But whether the choice between two statements
>both claiming truth status, can be reduced to nothing other than the power
>rythmics of the games is a different matter. I think earlier Foucault did
>subscribe to this view, but later he came to recognise the paradoxes
>involved: For instance, the flatness of the earth would become a matter of
>just such rythmics and not a truth in itself distinct from its thought.
The question seems to me not of not reduction to power, but of accounting
for the choices taken in the game in terms of practices, of manipulating things,
of looking at things, of speaking/writing, of social interaction between those
who are part of the game, and of cross-interference with other games, etc.
Power is involved, but is not as an explenatory master-key.
>>formulates a conception of truth borrowed from Nietzche:
>>"Truth is itself part of of the history of discourse and is like an
>internal effect of>a discourse or a practice" (Dits et Ecrits 4:54)
>OK. you raise Nietzsche, so I will deal with Nietzsche. Never has a
>philosopher been so used and abused. Now insofar as his 'perspectivism' has
>been appropriated by all manner of postism's I just think they have got him
>wrong. In the much quoted section in the third essay from the genealogy of
>morals he puts "knowing" and "objectivity" in scare quotes, but never the thing.
I'd rather leave Nietzche aside now, I was justing pointing out to a late quote from F.
where he spells out a concept of truth while refering it to N.
>>I would like to offer a number of objections to this reading. First, that
>>suggest that interrelations
>>between truth and power that F. analysed apply only to some forms of truth
>>while others are exempt,
>No, since truth talk always emanates from some source then it will always be
>implicated in power. However, not every truth is equally implicted, the
>scale is differentiated. My claim that I like computers, which is basically
>truth calim, that is I could be lying, differs from my claim that this is a
Both claims are not part of a science, and hence are of little importance as far as
F. is talking about truth.
>but it is precisely in order to work outside of this
>>dichotomy that F. expressed dislike towards the concept of "ideology":
>Foucault set up a straw figure of ideology, Marx was never so vulgar on this
>issue as F portrayed him.
That's besides the point about F.'s conception of truth which is set out
against this straw figure.
>I also think it is clear that Foucault means a differeing thing in using the
>word truth in the quote you supplied than he did later.
Well, the question is not if it is different, but how different it is. You still
have to give reasons why in this quote 'truth' means 'things as they really
are as opposed to what we think they are'.
>>The problem, however, is what makes one such system of ordered procedures
>preferable over another.
>Example: I claim that you can't walk on water. You claim that you can. Try
>it and see.
I don't find in this example two systems of ordered procedures for ordering statements.