I think we may probably just have to agree to have different positions on this. I
will certainly concede that there are many fine points to the Enlightenment
tradition - ie the championing of freedom, social equality, of intellectual
endeavour and the free pursuit of knowledge and I totally agree that its best
points are something the West can be proud of.
But the downside in my view is that Enlightenment thought is generally
intolerant of views that argue that Reason is not the only way of acceding to the
truth about human existence. This has led to a number of less than positive
consequences - which Foucault has been instrumental in outlining.
I am also unwilling to see Foucault as just another white male bastion of
academic thought propping up a self satisfied institution of academic
philosophy with a new injection of jargon. I think his ideas have a wider use
than just perpetuating the good old boys club.
My comments are made from within the current context of the systematic
decimation of the humanities within Australian universities -even the good old
boys clubs. Profit and money making are now the ultimate values. The best
Enlightenment values are out the window as well. Foucault's work helps give me
at least a perspective on all of this from the outside.
---- Original message ----
>Date: Fri, 4 May 2007 02:44:48 +0900 (JST)
>Subject: Re: [Foucault-L] The agent discussion once more
>To: "Mailing-list" <foucault-l@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>I think he was more interested in demonstrating how power operates
discursively and he used methods of intellectual argumentation and tools from
his own cultural heritage to put forward this position.
>>>The methods of intellectual argumentation he used are not the sole
>>>European Enlightenment thinkers
>Of course they aren't. If I didn't resolutely believe that, I wouldn't be here in
the first place. I am also free to engage with these tools and then further
problematize them as well as problematize my ‘self’ which engages with these
tools, aren't I?
>- as those Enlightenment thinkers would like
>>>us to believe incidentally - a convenient way of condemning everybody else
>>>silence and incoherence.
>Another thing that I should perhaps say is that e.g., David Owen's book
delineates an 'alternative' lineage of Enlightenment thought which would not
condemn everyone else (by the way, who's 'else'? and who are 'those'?) to silence
>I've always had a fondness for Enlightenment. I find it to be beautiful (the
thought, that is). The 'West' need not be ashamed of it. It wasn't Enlightenment
that plundered and colonized, though at times it was filched for the purpose of
legitimating such acts....
>Look, to be honest, I don't accede to your interpretation of Foucault's work at
all. You seem to be horrified with the very suggestion that Foucault could be
considered the last descendant of Enlightenment and/or that he himself decided
in one article called ‘What is Enlightenment?’ to put himself forward as such.
But why is that so bad? I think it’s kind of cool. My relationship with Foucault is
problematic not so much because he is one but because… well, I don’t want to
say… but it has more to do with the flaws in my reasoning...flaws in my