Re: foucault and specific intellectual (SI)

Hi John,

Just some comments:

You argue that Foucault claims that Darwin be considered to be thought of as
the originator of specific intellectual because:

But this surely gets the issue upside down. I don't know how Foucualt
understands, or employs the terms universal and specific (notwithstanding,
of course, that the interplay between the universal and the particular has
been one of the most problematic issues for philosophy) but to describe
Darwinism as an instance of the particular (specific) seems perverse. The
whole point of Darwinism, certainly in its more radical forms, is that
evolution is universal.

Also you say that Foucault claims that I's should shift their focus from a
battle on behalf of truth to one that questions the status of truth and the
economic and political role it play. However, it hardly needs pointing out
that in order to do the latter one must know what T is. Hence I don't see
how the two questions can be separated.

Also, what is this with Foucault, why has the right not also paraded as a
master of truth and justice also? Good old Maggie Thatcher and Reagan were
fairly adept at presenting truths, as of course, was Adolph Hitler. Are F's
attacks on the left evidence of his own political leanings?

>One consequence of this move from care for the universal to care for the
>specific is that the wall between practice and theory is breached.

How and why? The wall between theory and practice is not simply one of scale.
I also think we have to begin to question what Foucault thinks the political
is or was. I mean, to say that 'Everyone gets politicized' implies that
there must have been something that wasn't already politicised. To a
Marxist, of course, this would be nonsense.

ee p. 127 of _P/K_. So there's
>this sort of breakdown of the division of labor between those who 'write'
>and those who 'do.'

Sorry, I don't get this. Does this mean that everyone is now an activist?
Absolutely everyone? Does rather let the non-activists off the hook does it
not? There is no difference between taking part in a revolution and writing
about it, is that the argument? Seems like a dreadfully monistic view of
axiology to me.

Part of the problem to me seems to be F's overblown conception of what an
intellectual was before F came along. After all, the easiest way to make
your own arguments look sophisticated is to make your opponents look silly.
Just who are these universal intellectuals? Not Marx surely? After all, if
Marxism is predicated on economic reductionism, then this is a very specific
form of theory, and doesn't include, politics culture, or the environment.
That is it is specific to the economy. So it would seem that Marx can't be
both guilty of economic reductionism and playing the role of a universal
intellectual. One or other stick with which the FI beats Marxists over the
head would have to go it seems, non?


Colin Wight
Department of International Politics
University of Wales, Aberystwyth


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