Re: "local" vs "universal"

Erick Heroux wrote:

>I tend to see what Timo Siivonen is saying about Foucault's version of
>modernism as inclusive of a strand of postmodernism-- although I'm
>nervous about the claim that relying on reason vs authority to free
>ourselves isn't one of those metanarratives. The Enlightenment project
>is afterall the exemplary metanarrative that post-modernists point to as
>having lost its legitimacy.
>Foucault's response, and again this is where he leans toward the "local,"
>was several times to refuse to found anything on a unitary Reason
>(opposed to madness, the irrational, etc.), but instead to reason within
>relatively specific situations, beginning with the diverse discourses of
>reason applicable (e.g., "reasons of state," medical reason, economic
>reasons, etc.).

It is true that the Enlightenment is the project post-modernists have said
as having lost it's credibility, but that is not the point I tried to say.
What I meant was that in his late writings Foucault tried to find a
_positive_ way to think about Enligtenment and modernity.

In his reading of Kant's "Was ist Aufkl{rung" Foucault found that in the
Enligtenment there is a new way to understand reason in a self-reflexive
manner. By that he meant that reason thought itself in it's own
historicity. This, I feel, is by no way a unitary Reason but a reason that
understands itself in local terms; a critical reason that posits itself a
task to investigate "the events that have led us to constitute ourselves
and to recognize ourselves as subjects of what we are doing, thinking,
saying," as Foucault put it.

Of course everything can be thougt at least in two different ways. I'm sure
that it is not a coincidence that at the same historical era there emerged
another reason too. And it was also historical. Foucault calls this reason
bio-power, as you know. - There is always two sides in modernity, as
Baudelaire said.

Timo Siivonen

Timo Siivonen tsiivone@xxxxxxxxxxxx
University of Jyvaskyla
Department of Literature
P.O. Box 35
SF-40351 Jyvaskyla
Voice:+358 (9)41 601 293

Voionmaankatu 15 A 9
SF-40700 Jyvaskyla
Voice: +358 (9)41 614 194


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