From: "Gabriel Ash" <Gabriel.Ash.1@xxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 13 Feb 97 21:44:59
On Wed, 12 Feb 1997 11:27:35 -0500 (EST), Stephen D'Arcy wrote:
>On what reading of "philosophy" is Foucault not a philosopher?
>Philosophy is generally acknowledged (by, say, Aristotle, Kant,
>Heidegger, Habermas, Rawls, etc.) to be the elucidation and critical
>evaluation of the unquestioned assumptions of our thought, speech and
>action. That works quite well as a description of Foucault, I think.
Partly, yes, with two reservations. First, philosophy stands out as opposed
to science inasmuch as its objects exist in thoughts, i.e to do philosophy one
needs no more than a mind. form this perspective, Foucault's
work is partly outside philosophy. Second, often philosophy is not critical
evaluation of unquestioned assumption but rather an elaboration of those
I agree with all the rest. And that is why I think F. is not 'doubting' objectivity.
Portraying F. as someone who 'doubted' objectivity (i.e. elaborated some
logical arguments against objectivity,) instead of as someone who studied it (i.e.
observed the way it is produced in concrete places) is a specific misreading with
its political implications. Rejecting his works because of their political consequences
seems to me incompatible with a defense of 'scientific objectivity', for, in accordance
with the latter, the only valid reason to reject a statement about the objective world (and what F.
says about institutions that produce knowledge are statement about the objective world) is
that it is false to best that science can determine.