From: "M.A. King" <kingma@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 2 Sep 1998 04:10:20 -0400 (EDT)
On Wed, 2 Sep 1998, Darren wrote:
> In his paper on Truth and Power (Foucault, M., "The Foucault Reader"),
> Foucault articulates his position against the "universal intellectual"
> promoting the "specific intellectual". He associates key phrases such as
> "the exemplary", the "just-and-true-for-all", with the universal
> intellectual. My argument is that Foucault himself, through his epistemic
> and ontological works, has made himself the "universal intellectual" he so
> distastes. Is his argument an example of the failure of Western philosophy?
> Doesn't he fail on this point?
Can you elaborate your argument a bit? One thing I'd say off the bat:
I assume that by "his epistemological and ontological works" you're
referring to The Order of Things and The Archaeology of Knowledge, the
latter of which was published in 1969; the "Truth and Power" interview,
meanwhile, was conducted in 1977--in other words, after the publication of
the first volume of the History of Sexuality, during the transition from
the "genealogical" to the "ethical" phase, and quite a while after the
critique of epistemology represented by OT and AK. It may be that
Foucault had made the universal/specific intellectual distinction before
1977, but not much before, I don't think.
My feeling, at any rate, is that you're probably right, insofar as
Foucault's critique of epistemology was, apparently, supposed to have
implications not only for every discipline, but for Humanity Itself--as
evidenced by the infamous final passage of The Order of Things.
---Matthew A. King-----Department of Philosophy-----McMaster University---
"The border is often narrow between a permanent temptation to commit
suicide and the birth of a certain form of political consciousness."