Re: [Foucault-L] Foucault, correspondence theory vs coherence, theory


I think Foucault identified the genealogy of truth-telling practices as distinct - or splitting off from - truth-discernment practices (at least) since modern Western regimes of knowledge became established. It is my understanding from his studies that in Ancient Greece truth-telling and truth-discernment were combined in one kind of practice - an ethical practice of the self - which enabled direct access to the truth of the objective/rational world. By the Enlightenment, when the human subject and object became separated (and their relationship in regards to truth problematised), distinct truth-discernment practices (in the form of 'method') were developed and were largely separated from truth-telling practices of the self. The latter were also downgraded in their importance for knowing/perceiving the truth but, I think, have remained an important tradition in the political/social sphere for fearlessly speaking the truth (already known) to power.

So, assuming I've captured his analysis well enough, in modern times ethical truth-telling practices are not sufficient nor the most important practices for knowing the truth (I call these truth-discernment practices). Having said that, I think the critical tradition has maintained a greater investment in ethical truth-telling practices than the analytical tradition (eg speaking truth to power; greater skepticism about the possibility of, or analytical method for, purifying knowledge from power). Which is probably why Foucault was interested in tracing this line of practice as he recognised some of his own commitments in this tradition.


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