Re: [Foucault-L] RE?: Translation of ?nonc? to English

ons, 19 09 2007 kl. 16:11 -0700, skrev Thomas Lord:
> When you try to extract a calculus for
> the new science, I think you're bound to just embarrass Foucault
> because those particular metaphors he used don't survive
> extraction from their context in any coherent, reliable way.

But, that leaves it open to us to rearticulate Foucault's works in a
coherent or incoherent way, as we like, and he said himself we should
feel free to. He even accepted Dreyfus & Rabinow though they apparently
did undstand the archeology of science at all ;-)
> I just don't see that he ever built any "system" or, really,
> seriously aimed to do so.
> There's a technical way in which this reading is actually quite
> generous. All of Foucault's analyses look, just very basically,
> at relations between abstract symbolic artifacts and the physical
> "stuff" of human societies. He links ephemeral, informational
> human constructs to what actually happens to real bodies and
> real places, etc. His main rapier was in feeling out the main
> disconnects between accepted *theories* of the meanings of
> various texts (symbolic artifacts) and their actual operational
> meaning in terms of the real, physical "stuff". He found, in
> his sampling of the records, that retrospectively obvious
> metaphysical errors in the popular theories of meaning were
> seemingly often instigated and sustained by power interests
> in the management of bodies and things. And so, he uncovered
> a great, pervasive intellectual mistake on the record that, once
> we know of this kind of mistake -- now becomes a kind of
> intellectual problem which, if ignored, is an intellectual dishonesty.

Here, I think you overemphasise Foucault's 'lyrics'. Frank is right in
that Foucault is also concise, particularly in l'archelogie. His works
are both concise analysis and lyrics. But, you are right, he did not
build a concise system or methodology. For many years, it was a puzzle
for me why Foucault had chosen exactly the four levels he expounds in
l'archeologie. Well, because the French epistemology had tried each of
them without success ... and so what? The same is the case with his
power analysis. Though the proof of pudding is in its eating, and his
concepts really worked, I think Foucault was too radically
anti-metaphysical. I prefer a position saying: We cannot avoid universal
and eternal statements (For instance: You shall die). But, building
systems that specify the concise meaning of such statements, and
combines them, is a looser-strategy. We must accept that any ontology is
either concise and deeply flawed, or vague and dependent on the
historical context. Therefore, I agree that we should not try to find a
concise system in foucault's works. But, in our own works, we could be
more concise that Foucault. Right now I work on an article in which I
try to provide a clearer foundation of the four levels in the archeology
- without trying to be systembuilder. That offers a better understanding
of how far-reaching his discourse analysis is. I am sure that some will
disagree, but that is the part of the game.


> One of my
> main interests in Foucault is in my capacity as a freelance software
> engineer. I have the challenge of having to decide what kinds of
> new programs to create. So, I have to listen to what many people
> have to say about what kinds of program are desirable. But,
> how am I to understand the consequences -- the meaning -- of
> what I decide to build? What would Foucault say about
> the "semantic web," for example?)

I have publishe an article in which I try to formulate some principles
for how IT produces new power dispositives.

A couple of years ago, I also tried to make a discourse analysis of
python introductions. But, I ran into problems because the few pages I
made tended to be a general description of programme languages, and that
wasn't very revolutionary. Nevertheless, I learnt something: Software
transforms abstract information, that is, it changes information
independently of the meaning it has (computers doesn't understand a
word). Consequently, programming has extremely reduced objects or
subject positions (the two first levels of the archeology), it is just
conceptual structures and tactics/strategies for using them in a social
context (the two last levels of the archeology). Programming, so to say,
outsources the formation of objects and subject positions, but
transforms the objects and modalities that are inserted into the
software according to abstract rules. And this is infused into the
social context.

However, returning to Les Mots et Les Choses, and the model of
articulation, attribution, designation and attribution (aadd-model), I
became in doubt: Perhaps it was better to analyse programming as an
apophantique that couples articulation (object formation) and
attribution (modality formation in the sense information treatment)
which afterwards are open for interpretation (designation and
derivation). But, then, outsourced object formation disappears. So,
perhaps we have to add two intermediate levels to the the four levels.
Foucault suggests this to some extent in the archeology (p. 81) where he
considers the aadd-model to belong to the concept formation level. This
means that both formalisation and interpretation belong to the concept
level (e.g. social science article using statistics and mathematics in
empirical research). In that case, why doesn't he use the aadd-model as
an analytical model as he did in Les Mots et le Choses? Because that
seems to be relevant. Moreover, les mots et les choses ALSO deals with
production of objects and modalities - also in the aadd-model. Thus, on
these matters Foucault is NOT clear. It is left for us to make further
clarification. (I have a suspicion that the problem turns up due to some
changes in the epistemé in the 1870's, but that is another story.)

I hope you find this challenging and have comments because we are not
many foucault-inspired people who are interested in programming, too.


Re: [Foucault-L] RE?: Translation of ?nonc? to English, Frank Ejby Poulsen
Re: [Foucault-L] RE?: Translation of ?nonc? to English, Thomas Lord
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