Re: Materialism/Idealism...

On Mon, 16 Feb 1998, James Parr wrote (in part):

> As for Foucault, I've read less, but
> as I wrote earlier I'm concerned with his understanding of the "soul."
> I think he uses the term with a liberal number of grains of salt, and as
> someone else mentioned the "soul" is a social construction that serves
> to re-inscribe standards of power, discipline, and knowledge. Not only
> would Foucault deny the "soul" as a matter of metaphysical reality, but
> so is any conception or attempt at focusing our subjective realites
> around terminology such as "person," "self," "individual," or "I." Of
> course, we operate by a vague sense of these terms, indeed, we seem to
> have to, but are we really expressing agency, ever, or are we simply
> determined by a vague social reality and a quite literal
> imposition/construction of varying episteme, i.e., "ways of knowing"?

But it is striking how much emphasis Foucault puts on the materiality of
the soul in _Discipline and Punish_. See page 30 of English version of
_DP_ where F insists that the soul is "no illusion or ideological effect"
and refers to the "historical reality of the soul." I'm mentioning this
not to disagree with you but just to see if you or anyone else has further
comments on this in light of the reference above.

--John Ransom

> Ahh, when I sat down to write this it was going to be a glittering,
> cohesive work of prose that would stun you all. Alas, this hasn't been
> the case. Thanks for your time.
> James
> James Parr
> University of Virginia
> Department of English

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