politics and ethics

I would like to make some remarks to the question Dirk was raising:
the relation between the ethical
stance of Foucault and his politics. I think you are touching a very
important point here and mainly (to my mind at least) it concerns the
question of critique...
The problem to my mind is the way the question is posed. If you ask
for the relation between his politics (for prisoners for ex.) and
his theory you admit that there are two aspects that do have a
relation (or not). I think that F. wanted (in hist work, with his
work) to question this dichotomy between theory and practise. I mean
of course there is a difference between writing about prisons
struggle and work actually with prisoners, their relatives etc. But
the main point here is that for F. theory or thinking in general is
always a way of practice and every practice is alway also a way of
thinking and practice is inhabited by a certain rationality....
But there is something more at stake (in fact I posed the question
you posed when I started my thesis on Foucault and I saw that I
couldn't go on this way): There is a very interesing remark of F. in
the "Politics and Ethics" interview, where he rejects that politics
can be deduced from a certain theory, he speaks of a very "weak
analytical" link I guess. What he wanted to point on is that -to
certian limits- that theory can be used for very different political
end, which means that we have to be responsible for the truths we
express...so the necessity of an ethics. What F. always rejected was
the idea that theory in itself can give a justification for fighting
or political struggle ... and that you have to wait for the right
theory to fight. That's why he speaks of politics as an ethics and of
an ethos. To my mind this means: We fight because we don't accept
certain things, but there can be no universal reasoning everybody has
to accept that forces us to do this thing and not another.
Maybe I am wrong but that's the way I interpret his texts ...


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