From: "Timothy O'Leary" <autrement@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 2 Mar 2010 00:51:59 +0800
I think you are quite right about the misleading English translation.
Here is a modified translation of the passage that I use in a recent
publication - it's very close to yours, I think. However, I did insert
[first], [second], [third] to clarify what I understand to be Foucault's
"By 'thought', [first] I mean that which institutes, in diverse possible
the game of truth and falsehood and which, consequently, constitutes the
human being as a subject of knowledge; [second] that which founds the
acceptance or the refusal of the rule and constitutes the human being as a
social and juridical subject; [third] that which institutes the relation to
and to others, and constitutes the human being as ethical subject." (ibid.:
This is in my "Rethinking Experience With Foucault", in *Foucault and
Philosophy *(Blackwell, 2010).
On Mon, Mar 1, 2010 at 7:12 PM, Kevin Turner <kevin.turner@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> The following passage comes from ‘Préface a l’ « Histoire de la sexualité »
> ‘Par « pensée », j’entends ce qui instaure, dans diverses formes possible,
> le jeu du vrai et du faux et qui, par conséquent, constitue l’être humain
> comme sujet de connaissance ; ce qui fonde l’acceptation ou le refus de la
> règle et constitue l’être humain comme sujet social et juridique ; ce qui
> instaure le rapport avec soi-même et avec les autres, et constitue l’être
> humain comme sujet éthique’ (DEII : 1398).
> The published English translation of this passage reads:
> ‘By “thought,” I mean what establishes, in a variety of possible forms, the
> play of true and false, and consequently [which as a consequence]
> constitutes the human being as knowing subject [a subject of learning]; in
> other words, it is the basis for accepting or refusing rules, and
> constitutes human beings as social and juridical subjects; it is what
> establishes the relationship with oneself and others, and constitutes human
> beings as ethical subject’ (EW1: 200 [Foucault Reader: 334]).
> My rendition of this passage is as follows:
> By “thought”, I mean that which establishes, in various possible forms, the
> play of truth and false and which, consequently, constitutes the human being
> as subject of knowledge (knowing subject); that which sets up (fuses
> together - fonde) the acceptance or refusal of rules and constitutes the
> human being as social and juridical subject; that which establishes the
> relationship with oneself and with the others, and constitutes the human
> being as ethical subject.
> (A) The wording of the published English translation of this passage make
> it sound like what Foucault meant by “thought” was the play of true and
> false, and that it is “thought,” understood thus, which, on the one hand, is
> the basis for the acceptance or refusal of rules, and, on the other,
> establishes the relation to oneself and others.
> That is to say, on this reading, it is the constitution of the knowing
> subject which is the basis both for the constitution of the social and
> juridical subject and for the constitution of the ethical subject. That is
> to say, the constitution of the subject of knowledge by way of the play of
> true and false is seen as being both prior to and as acting as the basis for
> (the inclusion of “in other words” in the published English translation) the
> constitution of the social and juridical subject by way of the acceptance
> and refusal of rules, and the constitution of the ethical subject by way of
> the relation to oneself and others. Stated simply, the first axis is not
> only given more weight that the other two, it is seen as their condition of
> (B) In my revised translation, each axes is given equal weight it that what
> Foucault meant by thought was that which (1) establishes the play of true
> and false, (2) founds the acceptance and refusal or rules, and (3)
> establishes the relation with oneself and others. And it is thought,
> understood thus, that constitutes (1) the subject of knowledge, (2) the
> social and juridical subject, and (3) the ethical subject.
> In the first reading (A), thought is identified with one of the axes under
> discussion (true and false – subject of knowledge); in the second reading
> (B), thought is understood to be exterior to each axis in that it is what
> establishes each of them and constitutes the subject in different ways
> relative to each axis. Thus, thought is not identified with the first axis,
> which is then taken to be the condition of possibility for the second and
> third axes; thought is simply understood to be the condition of possibility
> for all three axes.
> I was wondering what people thought of the English translation, my revised
> translation, and the subsequent readings of the two passages.
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