Re:Order of Things Intro

On Friday, Mar 22, Brendon wrote:

[text deleted]
> He (the text)
> is quite clear that he (it) is attempting to delineate the systems of
> regularities which govern the formation and operation of discursive
> practices. These sets of discursive practices, unities, are what constitute
> periodicities - i.e. ages, periods, epistemes.

[paragraph deleted]
> The system of regularity governing a discourse is invisible. We see what we
> see indubitably and naturally. The ordering principles which are prior to
> our vision (in fact, any form of cognition), and which make our world
> coherent, are not disclosed along with the cognition itself. Hence F,'s
> striking question at xix: "What is this coherence - which, as is immediately
> apparant (sic), is neither determined by an a priori and necessary
> concatenation, nor is imposed on us by immediately perceptible contents?"
> (The former intended to show the inadequacy of any strictly Kantian account;
> and the second the failure of all purely phenomenological accounts).

Isn't the preface asking "what is this coherence" created by the
"ordering principles" that govern discourse since it (the coherence) isn't
the result of some integral link between discourse and the "principles"
NOR a function of the perceptible content of the discourse itself?
Your use of the words "inadequacy" (in the same sentence with Kant???) and
"failure" in your last line bother me because they seem to be emphasizing
the wrong words: isn't it the verbs that are important: "determined by"
and "imposed on"? I say this because at the end of the same paragraph,
the text describes order as "that which is given in things as their
inner law" (a priori and necessary concatenation) "...and also that which
has no existence except in the grid created by a glance, an examination,
a language" (such as phenomenological accounts?).
Not only that, but Foucault ends that sentence, of course, by
identifying "the blank spaces of this grid" as the place "that order manifests
itself..." (xx) or at least the possiblitly that order as we know it ,may
not be the only order nor, perhaps, even the best one (thus the significance
of the Borges introduction). Exploring this region reveals tht underneath
(below the level? Is support or foundation implied here?) of what has seemed
to be "the spontaneous orders" (note the plural) of various cultures,
exists "other things" that have a certain "unspoken order" (meaning it
has not been perceived or expressed?); "the fact, in short, that order
exists...Thus, in every culture, between the use of what one might call the
ordering codes and reflections upon order itself, there is the pure
experience of order and of its modes of being" (xxi). an ideas that is
so attractive to us and so easy to personify, as Jim Underwood noted, even
if we don't believe in absolutes anymore.
It is this pure experience that "this present study" attempts
to analyze; to expose "the episteme in which knowledge...grounds its
positivity and thereby manifests a history which is not that of its
growing perfection, but rather of its conditions of possibility" (xxii).
What Foucoult's archeological approach ultimately asks us to question is
(as Machado phrased it) "the immutable, systematic and universally
applicable method of science and history." Which is the long way around
of saying what Wm Blake expressed in a few words at the end of the 18th
Century, "One law for the lion and ox is oppression."

Darlene Sybert
Offices:Tate Hall, Rm 6 or 16 (knock), or ZooMoo
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"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to
be chewed and digested." -Francis Bacon


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