[Foucault-L] Foucault: philosopher or historian?

on the question of whether Foucault was a philosoher or historian, you should check out the discussion between Gary Gutting (http://ndpr.nd.edu/review.cfm?id=1262) and Béatrice Han (http://privatewww.essex.ac.uk/~beatrice/Gutting%20_answer_%202003-05.pdf).

Personally, I think Foucault was both a philosopher and a historian and thus not quite either or more that either.
As an historian he posed philosophical questions: "what are we now?"
As a philosopher he addressed those questions historically: not "what are we?" but "what are we now?"
Doesn't the phrase "historical ontology" imply both a philosophical and an historical enquiery?

- k

> -----Original Message-----
> From: frank.ejby.poulsen@xxxxxxxxx
> Sent: Wed, 19 Sep 2007 20:53:33 +0200
> To: foucault-l@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Subject: Re: [Foucault-L] RE?: Translation of ?nonc? to English
> >Poulson, in the bottom-quoted stuff below, gives an example
> >of what weirds me out and Mograin just takes it right up:
> >He introduces the noun phrase "the archeologist". That's an
> >ontological concept of deep consequence and I don't think it
> >is found anywhere in Foucault (but, again: amateur here).
> >I don't mean to negate the possiblity of a "close reading"
> >of Foucault and I think it was the pursuit of such a possibility
> >that sparked this thread but.... "the archeologist"??!? wtf
> >is that?
> Poulsen, the name is Poulsen and not Poulson. Please write my name
> correctly, I am Danish not Swedish. Moreover, you may call me either Mr
> Poulsen or just Frank, but not with my family name without title (this is
> only for citations and authors who passed away).
> It is also the least one can do to write politely and with respect. We
> are
> not discussing at the local pub after pints and pints of beers have
> achieved
> evaporating all good manners and civilised behaviour. So no endless
> exclamation and question marks and no "wtf". Besides, showing a lack of
> good
> manners is also disrespecting yourself.
> When I wrote "the archaeologist", I just meant the person who is doing an
> "archaeology", understood as the "science" (Deleuze, Gilles. Foucault.
> Paris: Minuit, 1986) that Foucault intended to set up in the history of
> ideas as opposed to classical epistemology, structuralism, and
> anthropological interpretations - i.e. analysing the enunciative level of
> discourses. You do not even elaborate on why you think it is "an
> ontological
> concept of deep consequence", nor on what this consequence is. You can be
> an
> amateur, but it does not tether you to throwing vague statements without
> elaboration. And no it is nowhere to be found in Foucault. But Foucault
> wrote The Archaeology of Knowledge so that other people could make their
> own
> archaeology of other sciences (see Foucault, Michel. "Questions à Michel
> Foucault sur la géographie." In *Dits et écrits par Michel Foucault
> 1954-1988. Vol. III: 1976-1979*, edited by Daniel Defert and François
> Ewald,
> 28-40. Paris: NRF Gallimard, 1994 [1976]. English version: Foucault,
> Michel.
> "Questions of Geography." In *Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and
> Other
> Writings 1972-1977*, by Colin Gordon, 63-77. Harlow: The Harvester Press,
> 1980.). If a person doing history is called a historian, I just assume
> that
> someone doing an "archaeology" may be called an "archaeologist" because
> archaeology is a way of making history (see Veyne, Paul. "Foucault
> révolutionne l'histoire." In *Comment on écrit l'histoire*, by Paul
> Veyne,
> 383-429. Paris: Seuil: Points, 1978.).
> I have the impression that many commentators emphasise too much on the
> philosophical side of Foucault, or other sides, and tend to forget that
> he
> was nominated at the chair of the "history of systems of thoughts" (the
> name
> he chose) at the College de France. Even if historians did not always
> accept
> him well as such, that is primarily what he was doing, history. Granted,
> he
> used his large erudition in philosophy and especially on the philosophy
> of
> history, as well as contemporary discussions on language and literary
> criticism, but he was a historian who wrote histories with his own
> methods
> or "tools" as he called them ("Questions of Geography").
> Someone else you should pay respect to, beside me and you, is Foucault
> himself. You can disagree with him, but calling him "a professional
> "trouble
> maker"" is showing disrespect to a deceased person. They also deserve
> respect when commenting their thoughts, no matter how insignificant these
> may seem to you.
> I disagree with the "imprecise" character. Doesn't he seem "imprecise" to
> you simply because you are not reading him with all due precision to his
> work? I confess that I thought a bit the same before. However, now, I am
> trying myself to do an archaeology, and I find his writings surprisingly
> precise, once one has passed his endless negative sentences.
> Otherwise, concerning mathematics and precision, your comment smells a
> lot
> like some good old Sokal warmed up. To which I won't answer.
> Amateur comments are more than welcomed anywhere, I am myself an amateur,
> and in a way we all are always, but I do think that the moderator of this
> list should do something to filtrate comments of that nature. Your tone
> is
> absolutely inappropriate!
> --
> Frank Ejby Poulsen (MA candidate in political science University of
> Copenhagen)
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> Foucault-L mailing list

  • Re: [Foucault-L] Foucault: philosopher or historian?
    • From: Flemming Bjerke
  • Replies
    Re: [Foucault-L] RE?: Translation of ?nonc? to English, Frank Ejby Poulsen
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