File spoon-archives/foucault.archive/foucault_2000/foucault.0006, message 52

Subject: RE: new on foucault
Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2000 19:42:29 +0100


> I'd like to discuss two aspects about Michel Foucault.
> First: his shunning of the hard sciences like biochemistry.

Do you want to expand a bit on what you mean here? Shunning seems a very
strong word...

My sense is that Foucault's work is potentially very applicable to what you
call (problematically) the 'hard sciences'. Les mots et les choses does talk
about biology; medicine seems very related to the area you are interested
in, the work of Canguilhem and Bachelard treat medicine, physics, etc.

There is also a 1978 interview, in Power/Knowledge I think (I don't have the
page ref, and i can't find it quickly in Dits et ecrits. Foucault was asked
if his work could be applied to these sciences:-

"Oh no, not at all! I would not make such a claim for myself. However,
science also exercises power: it is, literally, a power that forces you to
say certain things, if you are not to be disqualified not only as being
wrong, but, more seriously than that, as being a charlatan".

And someone like David Lachtermann, The Ethics of Geometry: A Genealogy of
Modernity, treats mathematics in a 'Foucauldian' way. I'm doing something
similar myself at the moment in the relation between politics and
mathematics. I'm sure the references could be magnified.

Best wishes



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