Re: Fouc. and Witt. Revisited

Thanks for your response, David.

Regarding the ontological status of those relegated to the realm of
madness, I agree that Descartes and especially Foucault are more
straightforwardly inclined to think in these terms. There is an
interesting paper in *The Final Foucault* by Karlis Racevskis. I can't
now recall the title exactly, but it has something to do with identity
and Rameau's nephew. In there, Racevskis talks about identity as our
"metaphysical refuge." I, too, am inclined to think of human identity
as our metaphysical refuge -- a refuge from the demands of modern(ist)
epistemology. That is, coming to be "labelled" -- mad, criminal,
homosexual -- serves to locate the "cause" for one's (incoherent,
unacceptable, illogical, etc.) behaviour or thoughts. In this sense,
one is able to maintain the illusion (that is, given the demands for
consistency, rational maximization, and the like) of an underlying
rational subjectivity. Note that these are not "reasons" in the sense
that they so much reason consistently with other reasonable behaviour,
but rather they are more appropriately understood as causes for such
behaviour and thought.

So this is my link to Wittgenstein, as you may recall that
Wittgenstein's response to the Cartesian skeptic was, I argued, at least
in part to distinguish between reasons for doubt and causes for doubt.
Is there evidence that Wittgenstein thought that madness should be given
a different ontological status? Well, perhaps not much. But if there
isn't much evidence, I think it's because Wittgenstein's work just
didn't take him primarily in that direction. Nevertheless, there is
some indication of that trend. I can't recall precisely which is from
the Investigations, and which from On Certainty, but piecing together
some of his points provides this evidence. He says, for instance that
the kind of certainty is the kind of language game; and to describe a
language game is to describe a form of life. So, the kind of certainty
determines the form of life. And, I submit, where people are operating
with different "certainties" -- loosely, what I take to be Foucault's
rules for producing true statements, and Wittgenstein's rules or
background against which knowledge can be had -- they can only provide
causes for disagreement, not reasons. And Wittgenstein, in On
Certainty, does seem to think of people who are making this sort of
disagreeable statement, for which only causes can be provided and not
reasons, as mad -- in a sense, I would argue, as another "form of life."

I'm sorry, David (et al?), but I haven't explained this well at all, I'm
afraid! I only hope something connects -- the alternative is that you
take *me* to be another form of life!!!!



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