RE: Performative contradiction.

The performative contradiction is, among other people's, Habermas's favorite
weapon against Foucault, Derrida, et al. I don't want to respond extensively
to it, at least at the moment. But I think it's important to see how much
this sort of criticism depends on where one starts. If one starts with the
premise that there's no such thing as truth, or everything is interpretation,
or everything is false, etc., the question automatically arises "well, how
can you claim the 'truth' that 'everything is false'?" Alternatively, if
the claim that 'truth is a fiction' is a conclusion, the last or at least a
later part of an inquiry or critique, then it might be possible to draw
certain claims or affirmations from the very journey undertaken in the
process of making this critique.

The real question, then, is whether Foucault's attack on the will to truth
puts truth into doubt at the beginning, as a premise, or as a conclusion. I
seriously doubt much of a case can be made for the first possibility -- that
it is a presupposition or starting point.

In terms of Gramsci's concept of hegemony, it might be useful to look at
Laclau and Mouffe's HEGEMONY AND SOCIALIST STRATEGY. It doesn't necessarily
relate Gramsci to Foucault (except marginally, it's more of a Derridian text
in many of its orientations), but it is a good work.

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