Re: What's wrong with Hegel? (Foucault's _Archaeology..._)

>By the end of "discourse on Language_, Foucault seems to be
>going mad himself over the impossibilty of ever having
>a philosophy that isn't Hegelian...(_Archaeology of Knowledge_, p. 236).
>Why is he so upset with Hegel?
>Is the point of the whole study of madness in _Archaeology..._ to
>refute Hegel's methods and philosophy?
>I'm curious as to why Foucault feels this strong antipathy,
>frustration, and helplessness regarding Hegel.
>Could someone enlighten me?

I have always found that passage (which is one of the very few that
Foucault explicitly mentions Hegel) fascinating because in it he doesn't
try to present his work as necessarily anti-hegelian. He wonders whether
or not Hegel is total. He knows that to go against Hegel may be "one of
his tricks" directed against us. For Foucault it is enough to TRY to break
free from the gravity of Hegel's philosophy of consciousness. Yet he knows
that at the end of it all, perhaps Hegel is waiting, patiently, for us. I
remenber David Hoy once telling me that poststructuralism began the day
Nietzsche collapsed in Turin, seeing that horse flogged in the street. I
sometimes wonder if Nietzsche saw Hegel's face on the horse.

>Isn't it just that he thinks Hegel's story of history as the articulation
>of Spirit's moments robs us of the irrational breaks and discontinuities
>that make room for critical analysis and human freedom?

I think so. Hegel thinks that his own history of the world is the
necessary history of the development of consciousness's awareness of
itself; that it could not happen otherwise. Foucault rejects this
privileging of consciousness (and this I think forms part of his critique
of the phenomenological subject) and its ontological necessity. In other
words, the difference between self-consciousness as absolute ontology and
consciousness thinking itself as the absolute model may be indistinct,
which, I think, is part of Foucault's (among others') suspicion that total
or absolute philosophies may be no more than a manifestation of the time in
which they are written. To criticize them, therefore, would be generative
in that the critique would form a rupture, though the critique may not be
conscious of the effects.

>There's a lot wrong with Hegel! Mainly because he assumes we live in an ever
>progressing / improving / *enlightening* world. Maybe F was just pissed off
>because HE thought Hegel could enlighten him too and he didn't....
>Sorry for being facetious but it is Friday afternoon!
>Rebekah Bale
>University of Hong Kong

It's still Thursday night for me!

I think Foucault challenges the idea of progress: that it may be no more
than an ideal of the present. However, even with F's suspicion, there's no
certainty one way or the other. Is that the promise of enlightenment, or
is the promise empty, or what?


  • Re: What's wrong with Hegel? (Foucault's _Archaeology..._)
    • From: Bo Daley
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