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Lecture 18

PHIL 2280 Lecture Notes - Lecture 18: Classical LiberalismPremium

2 pages112 viewsFall 2017

Course Code
PHIL 2280
Omid Shabani

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Michel Foucault: Two Lectures on Power
Lecture 1
- Fouault otes that i the reet histor of the past tet ears there has ee the effia of
dispersed offesies. Here  offesie he eas halleges to the theories ad praties i
domains of law, politics, psychiatry, moral theory, and so on. The recent history is characterized
 the geeral feelig of the proliferatig ritiizailit of thigs, istitutios, ad praties, ad
- The ai of these attaks has ee hat he alls totalizig theories or uitar theories that
are all-encompassing because they claim to be able to explain everything. Example that he
offers are Marxism and psychoanalysis.
- Thus, Foucault sees our time as marked by the efficacy of critiques, on the one hand, and the
inhabiting effect of global theories on the other hand.
- Critique of global theories is characterized by their local character, which for Foucault indicates
something resembling an autonomous an non-centralized theoretical production that does not
need validation from the all-eopassig theor. This is hat he alls retur of koledge
that makes local critique possible.
- He also calls the return of knowledge the insurrection of subjugated knowledge, which has two
features: 1) it refers to historical content buries and masked in functional coherences or formal
systematizations. Subjugated knowledge that were present in the functional and systematic
corps but were masked by the critique that used the tools of scholarship.
- 2) subjugated knowledge also refers to a whole series of knowledges that according to Foucault
have been disqualified as non-conceptual knowledges, as inferior knowledges, knowledges that
are below the required level of scientificity. It is the reappearance of what people know at a
local level, of these disqualified knowledges, that made the critique possible.
- This revelation gives us the outline of what Foucault calls genealogy or multiple genealogical
investigation. These genealogies are a combination of erudite knowledge and what people
know. They would have not been made possible were it not for the removal of the tyranny of
overall discourses, with their hierarchies and all the privileges enjoyed by the theoretical
- As an example, Foucault discusses the question whether Marxism is a science or not that
Marxists zealously engage in. to say that it is a science, that is ascribes to a rational structure
and that its propositions are the result of verification procedure, what is done first and foremost
is to connect Marxism with the power-hierarchy typical of science.
- The next question, then, is the question of power. Foucault presents two conceptions of power:
1) the juridical or the classical liberal conception according to which power is regarded as a right,
a commodity and therefore, as what can be transferred -through a contract- or alienated; and 2)
the Freudian-Marxian conceptualization of power as a struggle, conflict, domination and
Lecture 2
- The seod leture further spells out Fouaults onception of power. He sees power in a sort of
symbiotic relation with rules of right and discourse of truth. He wants to investigate their mutual
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