From: John Ransom <ransom@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 22 Feb 1998 19:46:11 -0500 (EST)
On Mon, 23 Feb 1998, david wachtfogel wrote:
> The following quote is from chapter 9 of The Philosophical Discourse of
> Modernity. I'd like to read your comments on Habermas's critique, and how
> it relates to the previous discussion on Foucault as Materialist.
> "On the one hand, Foucault has to retain for his concept of power - which
> ironically conceals itself in discourse as the will to truth and at the
> same time makes itself felt therein - the transcendental meaning of a
> condition of the possibility of truth. On the other hand, he not only
> brings to bear against Idealism of the Kantian concept a temporalizing of
> the a priori - so that new discourse formations, which push out the old,
> can emerge like *events* - but also strips this transcendental power of
> the connotations that Heidegger prudently leaves to an auratic history of
> Being. Foucault not only historicizes; his approach is at the same time
> nominalist, materialist, and empiricist. He thinks of the transcendental
> practices of power as something particular that strives against all
> universals, and further as the lowly corporeal-sensual that undermines
> everything intelligible, and finally as the contingent that could also
> have been otherwise because it is not governed by any regulative order."
> -- David W
Well it's an OK description, though it is written in the context of a
critique; the overall mood is critical/descriptive.
But near the end: What does the stuff about "transcendental practices of
power" have to do with F? He didn't think there were transcendental
practices of power. What does that even mean? Why use "transcendental"
Also, we see near the end of the quotation Habermas's nostalgia for
another time when such insults against "universals" would not have been
tolerated. (Habermas as Burke: "I thought ten thousand swords must have
leaped from their scabbards to avenge even a look that threatened her with
insult. But the age of chivalry is gone.")
The mood of nostalgia is maintained to the end of the selection, with the
complaint that the "lowly" corporeal realm undermines everything
intelligible. (But this complaint has no merit. It's just not true that
"everything" is unintelligible in the kind of work Foucault did. Unless
by "everything" you mean "the totality.")
Last, there's the contingent, which is not even governed by any regulative
It all makes Habermas *so sad*!