Re: Foucault, truth, and Rorty

On Tue, 16 May 1995, Tom Blancato wrote:

> Yeah: didn't F go on about "Episteme" in The Order of Things? What does this
> mean for the question of "epistemology?"
> ---
> ************************************************************************
I don't know if this addresses the previous post of this thread, but I
would say that Foucault goes back and forth between doing a
history of the truth (or a history of language games)--OT being the most
extreme example--and playing language games--i.e his discursive
interventions. But interestingly, even when he is at his archaeological
best, he is still playing language games quite consciously, even
violently (note the "flames" on Sartre, for instance, in OT), and is thus
intervening. And when
he is at his interventionist best, he can't resist the temptation to make
metaphilosophical points (I think here of his intro to THE USE OF PLEASURE
and the interviews in REMARKS ON MARX and some in LIVE). I think that
"What is Enlightenment" provides a symmetrical intersection between the
desire to play language games and the desire to talk about language games
from a position reminiscent of, but not at all fallen to the illusion of,
objectivity. "What is Enlightenment" also suggests that his
epistemological concerns are often organized around a
reverse-epistemology. Instead of Kant's concern with being aware of the
limits of reason, Foucault is interested in transgressing such limits,
for the very reason that they are contingent and historical--which
explains why he approaches epistemological issues either as a historian
of the truth or as a transgressor of the truth.

(John Rajchman does a nice job of showing how Foucault's philosophy
should thus be seen as a kind of ethos, rather than a kind of
logos--reminds me of our "ungrounded" pragmatist friend :) --but that's
just me).

One more quick point/question. It seems to me that the way F. holds
these two strains in tension suggests that he learned a lot from Derrida
after MADNESS and OT, both of which Derrida put through the ringer. What
do others think?

Erik D. Lindberg
Dept. of English and Comparative Lit.
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Milwaukee, WI 53211
email: edl@xxxxxxxxxxx


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