Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 175 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange
7

His intention is not to lay out a method for criminology (if anything he views the panopticon as highly oppressive) but rather to examine the genealogy of the penal system to better understand how power relates to knowledge. A major trend which emerges from the minutiae of his impressively detailed study is that public, violent displays of state power were ...


5

Short version: No. Longer version: The Panopticon itself is an idealized prison that Jeremy Bentham imagined. There were some somewhat similar prisons made. The basic idea at the time was the prisoners could be reformed if they felt observed. This was a change from the idea that they were being punished. (Thus, the key idea was that observing them in a ...


5

First, let me make some general remarks not limited to Michel Foucault specifically. There is a balancing act in philosophy. On the one hand, it is not mathematics or hard science with clear standards of evidence and methodology, and there is vast ambiguity in most philosophically non-trivial notions and issues. To a lesser extent than poets, but ...


5

Foucault's own thoughts for or against things that he writes about, are often difficult to unravel. His first goal in writing is to allow us as readers to see something clearly which at first is not particularly clear. For example with the recent publication of his lectures, particularly, "Society Must be Defended", "Security, Territory, Population", "The ...


4

You're right -- his work is difficult to read. And it's not your fault. He doesn't write very clearly; it might be said that he also didn't think very clearly. However, he had some interesting ideas. If you want a quick summary, start with this awesome video: youtube.com/watch?v=BBJTeNTZtGU. Basically, Foucault wanted to challenge the holders of power in ...


4

The Gay Science is a rambling mass of loosely connected pieces somewhat like the Jewish Wisdom literature in Proverbs or Ecclesiastes. It does not directly develop or converge, and it tries to be more honest to various moments and tropes than to any organizing theme or structure. Many of the segments are short dialog-format jokes. The first English ...


4

I agree with Ben that calling work "obscurantism" is not ad hominem. Academic obscurantism seems to me at least a problem and possibly an important phenomenon which needs understanding. Warning: I'm not a Deleuze expert; I'm at best an amateur epistemologiost. I do understand, however, that obscurantism and difficulty of topic are two entirely different ...


4

Short answer: Foucault avoids programmatic statements and rarely passes judgments. It would be safe to say that yes, indeed, Foucault simply offers a descriptive analysis without value judgments and "solutions". Foucault does not believe that the role of the intellectual is to tell others what to do. However, we may also add that by choosing to focus his ...


3

I did a little research and it wasn't easy, but I think I finally understand what Foucault meant by "genetic". He explained how human beings are being conditioned to perform essentially like machines, with really very little emotional interaction at all between the ruling powers and their subjects, 'distancing' those who dominate us from any blame we might ...


3

A good place to start is the two volume Histoire du Structuralisme (1991/2) by F. Dosse: it provides a context and a few chapters on Foucault in both books. In the late 70's quite a few people claimed to have always been "post-structuralists" but many of them, including Foucault, earlier were just "structuralists", a rather laudatory or at least fashionable ...


3

Do we no longer take Plato seriously because he proposed the celestial spheres? Do we reject Marx on the basis that he reasoned partly from Engels' incorrect anthropology? Do we discard Kant because his psychology does not allow for the current behavior of physicists? To what other philosopher do we apply the standard you propose here -- consigning them ...


3

You must read : Claude Lévi-Strauss, 1958, Anthropologie structurale, Engl. Structural Anthropology and Anthropologie structurale deux, 1973, Engl. Structural Anthropology. Volume II; it is mainly dedicated to the structural analysis of myth; Roland Barthes, Éléments de sémiologie, 1964 - Engl : Elements of Semiology; it is quite short, but it is mainly ...


3

Terms like "philosopher" can be used in a descriptive sense, or an evaluative sense, and once you make clear which sense you mean, the remaining questions are rather more particular, and not well-contained enough for a forum like this one. The descriptive sense of "philosopher" usually refers to someone's relationship to the institution of professional ...


3

Consider Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626): Non inutiles scientiae existimandae sunt, quarum in se nullus est usus, si ingenia acuant et ordinent. (Sciences which have no practical use in themselves must not be considered useless if they sharpen and order the mind.) Bacon was frustrated with speculations which did not lead to improvements in the human ...


2

For Foucault power does not always work in terms of law and police. There are other mechanisms, invisible at times, that serve to dominate and subjugate the individual (micro level) institutionally. Examples include the school, the hospital and psychiatry. These exercise a direct control on the human body and mind of the individual without giving him a ...


2

Going on the basis of this passage only; Foucault appears to be describing an ontology of power; which isn't flat ie of one form - only the large institutions of power, whose motions are commonly the subject of politics and history; or the counter-narrative pioneered by Marxism and Social Darwinism which reduces these situations to individuals - to the ...


2

The sentence in the Wikipedia article prior to the one you cited gives a rough idea of how Foucault moves towards to structuralism. it is an examination of the evolving meaning of madness in European culture, law, politics, philosophy and medicine from the Middle Ages to the end of the eighteenth century, and a critique of historical method and the idea ...


2

For Foucault, truth is historical and perspective. See C.G. Prado, Searle and Foucault on Truth, Cambridge University Press (2005), page 81 : Foucault seeks to unmask the historicity of truth, to show that truth is not how things are, but is instead the highest-order value in a discourse and set of practices. Knowledge, then, is not the learning of ...


2

This short essay on Foucault News attempts a description of regimes of truth; a more extended elaboration of this is in this paper, What is a regime of truth? by Daniele Lorenzini. He explains: The first time Foucault introduces the concept of 'regime of truth' is in chapter one of Discipline and Punish where... a corpus of knowledge, techniques, '...


2

During the 19th c. Neokantians proposed that there are two types of science: one that understands and the other that explains or clarifies. This division of 'social' and 'natural' sciences was rejected by positivists who claimed that there is just one standard and a discipline is either up to it and is a science or it is not. This is a still (more or less) ...


2

Nothingness is a key word for Existentialism, a central philosophical movement in the post WW II in France; see at least Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus. In Foucault's reading of the Enlightenment worldview, reason and truth are "being" and thus the key features of madness: unreason and hallucinations, "are nothingness, since they represent nothing". See ...


2

I don't think that the following extract from Whiteheads Science & The Modern World constitutes an answer, but it might help; he quotes Lecky, History of European Morals The Roman legislation was in a twofold manner the child of philosophy. It was in the first place formed upon the philosophical model, for instead of being a mere empirical system ...


2

You could try : Calvin O. Schrag, The Resources of Rationality: A Response to the Postmodern Challenge, ISBN 10: 0253350549 / ISBN 13: 9780253350541 Published by Indiana University Press, United States, 1992. This ranges widely, as you might expect from the title, but does address Deleuze. There's a different but equally critical angle on Deleuze (among ...


2

Lois Shawver associates Foucault with postmodernism through Lyotard: Lyotard (1993) defines postmodernism as an incredulity towards metanarratives. A metanarrative is a theory or story that passes itself off as a truth without exception, generalized truths that pretend to be true for all objects in a category, such as all Priests are pure, all people in ...


1

For Foucault, like Nietzsche, there is a kind of evolutionary dynamic to knowledge. The idea of money say, is not objectively real, but a society with it will have additional capacities, which help in some ways to spread their mode of life - metaphorical truth, derived from advantage by living as though something were objectively true. Power and success in ...


1

It is the examination [for example, the school test] which assures the great disciplinary functions of: distribution and classification which fabricate cellular individuality maximum extraction of forces and time which fabricates organic individuality continuous genetic accumulation which fabricates genetic individuality optimum combination of aptitudes ...


1

This extract from Tom Keenan might help : Individuals, as citizens, have rights and obligations [droits et devoirs] against or in the face of abusive rulers-governments that have attempted to reserve to themselves the power to speak and to act. This nongovernmental citizenry can and must intervene, verbally and actively, and not merely get ...


1

▻ FOUCAULT I think you have not quite got the right hold on the conception of truth that Foucault has in mind here. The key is in Foucault's talking of truth's being 'produced'. We'd normally say that truth is discovered or discoverable - not 'produced', which suggests that truth or what passes for truth is manufactured. Truth, or perhaps we should say '...


1

I'm not sure that the phrasing of question makes a great deal of sense. I'll try to explain why below. When Foucault is developing the concept of biopower (most particularly in is lectures published as "Society Must Be Defended") he traces it as a transformation in the classic definition of sovereignty from "the right of life and death" (Hobbes uses this as ...


1

Think of it more as a diagnosis than a cure, not as an answer to a problem. The paniopticon is a device that was made by Jeremy Bentham, the English philosopher. In Discipline and Punish, Foucault is talking about the panopticon as a structure for the dispersal of power and as method of surveillance. It was taken up by certain institutions as a method for ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible