File spoon-archives/foucault.archive/foucault_1998/foucault.9809, message 29

Date: Sun, 06 Sep 1998 11:28:28 -0600
Subject: Re: foucault ... not a personal snipe ...

My take on this is that he was expressing some serious misgivings about his career part of the way down the road
(witness also his scorching contempt for the contemporary "fascination" with "language".  Who is he attacking, here?).
Maybe he realized that he could have had a much bigger impact on psychiatry or prison reform if he had been a
world-renowned behaviorist or criminologist, rather than a world-renowned...historian.  Intellectual life in
Universities has taken a highly ahistorical turn in the last several decades, as Carl Shorske, Page Smith, (both
historians, incidentally), Gadamer, and others have noted.  Nevertheless, what is disappointing about Foucault is that
he sees criticism of the natural sciences as "setting the standard for possible explanations impossibly high" (also from
the Rabinow reader).  In any case, though, I think you are right.  He is telling people not to follow in his footsteps.

Darren wrote:

> In his paper on Truth and Power (Foucault, M., "The Foucault Reader"),
> Foucault articulates his position against the "universal intellectual"
> promoting the "specific intellectual". He associates key phrases such as
> "the exemplary", the "just-and-true-for-all", with the universal
> intellectual. My argument is that Foucault himself, through his epistemic
> and ontological works, has made himself the "universal intellectual" he so
> distastes. Is his argument an example of the failure of Western philosophy?
> Doesn't he fail on this point?


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