Re: new interp's/Positivism

At 02:33 PM 10/16/97 -0400, you wrote:
> I would like to disagree with one respondent, who wrote "this is
>althusser's achilles heel, his
>> positivism--there is no dividing science and philosophy--these divisions of
>> knowledge are merely historical reflections of our current society and its
>> god: the division of labor... ie, only in capitalism are their distinct
>> knowledges such as religion, science, and philosophy..." In For Marx, he
>equates science and philosophy, but in Reading Capital, he distinguishes
>the two and, like Foucault, goes on to critique foundational bourgeois
>philosophy and to argue for class struggle as the level of philosophy. I
>could dig out the references if you like. In no case does he treat the
>division between philosophy and science as an historical construct. That's
>the great error of Gramsci and, I might add, the Frankfurt School.
>Philip GOldstein

Wait a second. For, to raise an admittedly huge issue, how is the
distinction between philosophy and science *not* an historical product or
construct. Or not a valuation? Or is not this distinction we might choose
to make an historical one (and again a valuation)? The point is not that a
division of knowledge is a bad thing in and of itself, to be transcended
someday, but rather that the division between science and philosophy is one
of the more awful conditions under which "we" make history....
I wouldn't argue for an *essential* link between positivism and its legacy,
namely technocratic ideology and "social engineering," but its legacies are
too much with this, and I don't see what is to be done about this without
"deconstructing" the distinction. I take Foucault as (further) proof
positive for the constructedness of this division b/w science and
philosophy, and the need to rid ourselves of it. I'd still say his work,
like Marx's, lies between this division, or in both places at once.

I cannot, then, see how Foucault is not implicitly arguing for the
distinction here being an historical one. Additionally, I do see, of
course, the critique of bourgeois foundationalism in F et al, but I'm just
not generous enough to see his work as staging, a la Althusser, class
struggle at the level of philosophy. Please advise.


Daniel Vukovich
English; Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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