This discussion has been pretty interesting so far. To add to the
interest I am going to try and secure a crossover of two threads that
have been running for the past few days - one on "Foucault and the
Proletariot" and the other on power/knowledge and truth.

First, I must say that I agree with the claim that it helps to understand
some dynamics of Foucault's philosophy by interpreting it within the
background of a marxist France. And it is true that Foucault was once
affiliated with several marxist groups in 60s France. However, it has
been historically noted that Foucault was always somewhat of an outsider
to these groups, with his affiliation only lasting for a short time
before the final split from them that would last the rest of his life.

Now on the matter of truth, Foucault definitely avoided subjective
constitutions of truth. During his life, Foucault revolted against many
philosophies, another one being phenomenology. For Foucault, truth is an
exterior manifesting complex, exterior that is to subjectivity. Consider
the following:

"The important thing here, I believe, is that truth isn't outside
power, or lacking in power: contrary to a myth whose history and
functions would repay further study, truth isn't the reward of free
spirits, the child of protracted solitude, nor the privelage of
those who have succeeded in liberating themselves. Truth is a thing
of this world: it is produced only by virtue of multiple forms of
constraint. And it induces regular effects of power. Each society
has its regime of truth, its `general politics' of truth: that
is, the types of discourse which it accepts and makes function as
true; the mechanisms and instances which enable one to distinguish
true and false statements, the means by which each is sanctioned;
the techniques and procedures accorded value in the acquisition of
truth; the status of those who are charged with saying what counts
as true." - _Power/Knowledge_, p. 131.

As is clearly stated in the above, truth is an external configuration. It
is worldly in every sense. Subjectivity does not produce truth.
Subjectivity, if anything, is itself constituted within a truth/power
nexus of relations.

Also, truth is a practice specific mechanism. If one wants to call
external constitution through practice and its material relations
objectivity than I am obliged to agree. However, truth, as determined by
the means of constraint, is context specific and evaporates without such
contextual relations. In Foucault, truth is not absolute, nor is truth
objective in an absolute sense.

Yours in discourse,

Steven Meinking
The University Of Utah

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