Re: Foucault and Truth

On Mon, 8 May 1995, Geraldine Coggins wrote:

> Does anyone know where I can find an exposition and/or criticisms of Foucault's
> relativism and the relationship between truth and power.
> I believe there is a book called "Power/Knowledge", edited by Colin Gordon,
> but I can't get a copy of it in the library or the bookshops.

Try the interview with Foucault on the ethics of the care of the self in
"The Final Foucault". He suggests here that his project has always
concerned the "costs" of telling the truth. Also try "What is
Enlightenment" in the "Foucault Reader" (ed. Rabinow), which is good on
the "critical ontology of our-selves", and offers a counter point to the
more pessimistic readings (favoured by analytics) of Foucault.It's also
useful to get into his archaelogical works - the production of objects
within a domain of knowledge, what counts as a 'truth', what is rendered
intelligible and what is excluded as unintelligible. They key point being
that the objects that epistemology claims merely to discover and
describe are themselves products of regime of power-knowledge. A regime
that must be reiterated over time, policed and maintained (I think Judith
Butler gives a really good and productiove reading of Foucault).
Similarly the 'substantive subject', the 'true core' of an individual,
that which is taken to animate the body, is an effect manifested on the
surface of the body through its implication in regimes of bio-power.

> Does anyone have anything to say on the subject?

> While I'm at it, I'm in an analytic philosophy department. We're studying
> Foucault as a token continental philosopher. Does anyone else have trouble
> writing analytic style essays about Foucult & Co. or am I just over-reacting?

I had the same trouble last year - the analytic philosophers hated what I
was writing (may be they were right to). I'd say read him and let the
style follow - resist through a tropic experiment.

> Geraldine Coggins,
> Trinity College,
> Dublin,
> Ireland.
> gcoggins@xxxxxxxxxxx


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