Sobre esta base es posible ver el proyecto crítico de Foucault como un contrapunto crítico de la obra de Habermas. Específicamente, se plantea que la teoría de. any disagreement that the Habermas-Foucault debate – if there ever was David Owen, “Orientation and Enlightenment,” in Foucault contra Habermas, eds. normativity; power; recognition. Much ink has been spilled on the relation of Michel Foucault to Jürgen Habermas, under the heading of the “Foucault- Habermas.
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Request PDF on ResearchGate | On Jan 1, , Day Wong and others published Foucault Contra Habermas. Request PDF on ResearchGate | On Mar 1, , Day Wong and others published Foucault contra Habermas: Knowledge and power. title: Foucault Contra Habermas: Recasting the Dialogue. author: Ashenden, Samantha.; Owen, David. Habermas and the Politics of Critique Samantha Ashenden and David Owen The encounter between the practices of critical reflection elaborated by Michel Foucault and by Jürgen.
This event in turn obtains only if Foucault subscribes to a totalising theory of power. This transformation of oneself by one's own knowledge is. Kelly ed. You may have already requested this item. Habermas is able to make his case. Genealogy is overtaken by a fate similar to that which Foucault had seen in the human sciences:
Genealogy is a practice of freedom. This latter point becomes clear when we note that genealogy as a self-directed exercise of our capacities for reflecting and acting on our ways of reflecting and acting on ourselves is itself a way of conducting our conduct directed to the development of our capacity for the self-directed exercise of our capacities for reflecting and acting on ourselves.
This judgement has authority only to the extent that it gains public assent. With respect to the former. This claim is reinforced if we consider the practice of genealogy not simply as an ethical labour that we perform on ourselves but also as an attempt to conduct the conduct of others.
The judgement of practitioners of genealogy that this practice of critical reflection. Thus genealogy exemplifies the conception of enlightenment as a critical ethos — precisely because genealogy is nothing other than the performance of an agonic engagement with a given limit or form of subjectivity which is experienced as problematic. We can draw this out both by reflecting on the claims of genealogy as a particular practice and also by considering the claims of any particular genealogical investigation.
We can begin by noting that Habermas' criticism fails to acknowledge the claims of genealogy precisely because it reflects on genealogy as a certain kind of thing the lawless use of reason rather than as a certain thing a singular practice of critical reflection.
Rather than considering genealogy as this practice of critical reflection characterised by this mode of orientation in thinking. Habermas' reflections presuppose that genealogy can be justly addressed in terms of its capacity to satisfy the criteria of a post-metaphysical practice of critique.
In this section we have seen that genealogy articulates both a different relationship to orienting our thinking than critique — exemplification rather than legislation — and a distinct conception of enlightenment — the process of becoming otherwise than we are through the agonic use of reason rather than the project of reconciling the real and the ideal through the lawful use of reason.
So it seems that even considered as an exercise of power. So while both genealogy qua human beings as practitioners of criticism and any given genealogy qua human beings as citizens call for the assent of others and. III In this section I will try to redeem the promissory note offered in my introduction by showing that there is an asymmetry between Habermas' and Foucault's relations to each other's practices — that whereas Foucault acknowledges but dissents from the claims of critique.
Let us now reflect on the character of this criticism. We can summarise Foucault's position as follows: In the first section we noted Habermas' criticisms of Foucault as an advocate of the lawless use of reason. The irony of critique is thus that it advocates an understanding of reason in which reason is conceptualised as the test of free and open discussion. The presupposition that the test of free and open discussion can be adequately captured in terms not merely of these rules.
This presumption is inbuilt into the Idea of Critique as reason's transcendental judging of its own limits. This point can be elucidated by simply noticing that it is a founding presumption of the practice of critique that it is the only practice of critical reflection which can legitimately orient thinking.
Let us now turn to the claim that Foucault acknowledges but dissents from the claims of critique. This claim can be established by noting two features of Foucault's reflections on Habermas. Perhaps the most notable indicator of the violence exhibited by this failure of acknowledgement is Habermas' presumption that Foucault is attempting to provide a general theory of power which reduces reason to expressions of power.
But this conclusion would be too quick: Given these observations. In this respect it is entirely consistent for Foucault to reject what Habermas claims for his claims concerning the present while having some sympathy for the content of these claims.
While I. Thus Foucault. Foucault acknowledges the value of Habermas' work in remarks such as the following: I am quite interested in [Habermas'] work. I have always had a problem insofar as he gives communicative relations this place which is so important and. We can account for this claim and link these two types of acknowledgement by noting that the fact that genealogy exemplifies a particular orientation in thinking entails that it is not committed to the claim that there is only one way of orienting thinking.
This explains both why Foucault dissents from the claims of critique — he thinks that it mistakenly conceptualises being guided as a particular experience — and why he can acknowledge its critical claims as valuable: On principle. They depend only on the dialogue situation. IV This final section addresses the implications of considering critique and genealogy in terms of orientation in thinking for the topic of the ethics of dialogue. Questions and answers depend on a game — a game that is at once pleasant and difficult — in which each of the two partners takes pains to use only the rights given him by the other and by the accepted form of the dialogue.
For him. As for the person answering the questions. In the serious play of questions and answers. The polemicist. The polemicist relies on a legitimacy that his adversary is by definition denied. The person asking the questions is merely exercising the right that has been given to him: It is not my concern here to come down on one side or the other.
Foucault considers three models of polemics — religious, juridical and political — and unsurprisingly it is the juridical model which most accurately characterises Habermas' practice: Yet this conclusion is too quick.
Habermas can offer a response. He can, for example, claim that a juridical polemic is compatible with dialogue if the participants alternately occupy the roles of the examiner-judge and the examinee-suspect — and here Habermas can reasonably point out that his commitment to communicative freedom entails recognising and defending Foucault's right of reply.
This reply commits Habermas to two further claims concerning dialogue as a form of communicative action characterised by mutual recognition and respect.
First, that engaging in dialogue does not entail that a participant acknowledge the claims of the other in the terms in which they are presented; on the contrary, mutual recognition and respect are satisfied even if one redescribes these claims as a certain type of claim in terms of one's own system of description.
Secondly, that it is a legitimate dialogic move to illustrate that the claims of the other as a certain type of claim are not compatible with one's own commitments and to challenge the other to provide general reasons as to why one should surrender these commitments. Another way of putting these three claims is simply to say that Habermas can resist the charge of performative contradiction by arguing that the constitutive features of dialogue can be reconstructed in terms of purely formal rules which guarantee reciprocal relations between participants, i.
This move allows Habermas to resist the charge of performative contradiction because it entails that the attitude which one participant exhibits to another is irrelevant unless, and until, the mode of conduct which expresses this attitude breaches the formal rules of dialogic engagement. Moreover, in just this respect, Habermas can also argue that his failure to acknowledge the claims of genealogy as just these claims is compatible with exhibiting mutual recognition and respect.
What conclusions can we draw from these reflections on Foucault's and Habermas' accounts of the ethics of dialogue? We can note that these reflections are consistent with the asymmetry which characterises their reflections on each other's work. Indeed, these reflections simply elucidate the implications of this asymmetry for thinking about mutual respect in so far as both Foucault and Habermas conceptualise dialogue as a practice of mutual respect. Consequently, viewed under the aspect of dialogue, we can specify the stakes of the encounter between Habermas' practice of critique and Foucault's practice of genealogy as concerning how we reflect on mutual respect.
On the one hand, for Foucault, mutual respect is understood as an attitude in which we acknowledge each other in thought and action as the self-governing beings that we are. This understanding accounts for, and is exhibited by, Foucault's concern with the topic of the care of the self and, in particular, the relationship between care of the self and the government of others addressed in his work on ancient and modern forms of government Foucault, , b, c, d.
On the other hand, for Habermas, mutual respect is reconstructed as a set of procedures through which we recognise each other in thought and action as members of the class of self-governing beings.
This understanding of mutual respect accounts for, and is exhibited by, Habermas' concern with law and the form of the constitutional-democratic state Habermas, a. In this regard, what is at stake in the encounter is the character of our ethical understanding of ourselves and of our relations to each other as self-governing beings, which is simply to say that what is at stake is the very concept of enlightenment.
Conclusion The purpose of this chapter has not been to evaluate or adjudicate between critique and genealogy as practices of critical reflection. Rather it has been concerned to illustrate the value of reflecting on these practices as ways of orienting thinking for elucidating significant differences between them and to clarify the stakes of this encounter.
But no doubt it is apparent that the chapter also has two further purposes. The first is simply to reinforce the claim that it is still worthwhile to explore the encounter between these practices, to claim both that the contest between critique and genealogy has yet to be decided, and that investigating this contest yields insights into what is at stake in our ways of reflecting on our historical being in the present.
The second is to draw attention to a contrast between two modes of moral education: This is my underlying theme and it is a topic that requires and deserves further reflection. I am grateful to the conference organiser, Maurizio Passerin D'Entreves, for inviting me and to those present for their comments.
References Foucault, M. Foucault, M. Dreyfus and P. Rabinow, Michel Foucault: Rabinow ed. Kritzman ed. Politics, Philosophy, Culture. Schmidt ed. University of California Press.
Ethics, Harmondsworth: Habermas, J. Polity Press. Deflem ed. Benhabib and M. Hindness, B. Vincent ed. Tradition and Diversity. Hutchings, K. Kant, I. Clarendon Press. Reiss ed. MacCarthy, T. Hoy and T. MacCarthy, Critical Theory. Patton, P. Tully, J. Becker ed. St James Press. White, S. Where did this new race come from? What produced it? What made it so effective? What perpetuates it? For the same men are still with us. For thinkers like Habermas as well as a host of lesser aspirants.
Given his theoretical position. I can palpate it as if through a foreign body that prevents me from grasping it or even seeing it. Foucault's work is self-defeating because. Independently of all that can be explained about the French Revolution. I can sense the presence of this unknown object.
It is a virus of a new and unknown kind. I am exhausting my mind trying to conceive a clear notion of this object and seeking a way to depict it properly. There have been violent Revolutions in the world before. The Use of Pleasure Foucault. This elaboration of one's own life as a personal work of art. Foucault must tell us what his norms are. Putting things more crudely than we should. It appears.
Aesthetic Morality The idea of an aesthetics of existence might seem to relate to politics initially only in a rather distant sense. One very general thing — a principle of invention. This is the idea of what Foucault calls aesthetics of existence. He must specify what he wants. But Foucault cannot speak in the name of the oppressed because he believes in the ubiquity of power.
Let us. Foucault presumably regards this as being a question of aesthetics in so far as what is at stake is an autonomisation of life according to a certain creative style. Bernauer and Mahon. Only certain ascetic practices were more closely linked to the exercise of a personal liberty. Foucault feels it has some contemporary pertinence in that we have again reached a stage in history — without overriding moral norms or decisive systems of knowledge — in which the elaboration of an aesthetics of existence might once again be apposite.
Aesthetic morality should be its own yardstick. Why should a painter work if he is not transformed by his own painting? To this absence of a morality. The aesthetics of existence is. The Nietzschean idea is given by Foucault's emphasis on aesthetics of existence not just as an end in itself but as a process of self- transformation: Foucault says of his own work on this point: This transformation of oneself by one's own knowledge is.
In short. So unlike the modern era where. Its aesthetic character is given by its opposition to the concept. Perhaps this idea of an aesthetics of existence would not be particularly interesting if it only related to the ancient Greeks. Foucault is unhappy with the idea of a moral code but his aesthetics is clearly a question of a morality — a kind of doctrineless. The Kantian idea is that a work of art is something that exists in and of itself which has value precisely in so far as it has no other externally determined value.
Such an aesthetic model of existence is not meant to be based on a scientific knowledge of the self. These elements can presumably be quite open-ended. It is not an injunction to live what would be commonly seen as an artistic life.
Foucault elaborates on this theme. What is sure is that the idea of an aesthetic morality is most certainly not an injunction to become aestheticist in a narrow sense. But in fact. Once again there is a Nietzschean echo. Art is not to be compensation for life. It is a question not of devoting one's life to art — be that painting. We never find out what he actually wants.
Foucault's indeterminacy on this point is quite in keeping with the notion of an aesthetics of existence itself. Foucault is thinking here of the techne ton biou of classical antiquity.
Perhaps there is something of a historical tale to be told here. Noel Coward or today's new laddish avant-garde artists. It is not — or not necessarily — a question of withdrawing into the self and of retreating from the world but a question of the stylisation of all of the elements of one's life. It is the model of the artist who. Foucault used to get on people's nerves by refusing to state what kinds of aesthetics of existence he is talking about.
They are rather the product of an ongoing experiment or process of trial and error. For one cannot specify the nature of aesthetics of existence in advance. What is at stake is an aestheticisation of life. Dover introduces a very important theme which retrospectively illuminates his entire analysis.
Neither a civil law. But for Seneca. What interested Foucault about such movements was the way that they stylised a mode of existence for themselves outside of existing norms. Foucault's Politics There is an obvious and not so interesting way and a slightly less obvious. One option would be what could be labelled the subcultural sociology of aesthetics of existence. And if sexual ethics were indeed rigorous.
Foucault writes that in the last pages of his book. That is roughly what we pursue in what follows. For instance. Amongst the Greeks … the regulation of sexual comportment did not take the form of a code. Although Foucault does not espouse anything so terrifying as the sort of aesthetic politics that so worried Walter Benjamin. Foucault invokes the idea of a progressive politics that would be less a question of a doctrine than of a certain ethos.
In that sense. It would be mistaken to think of this as being akin to a postmodern celebration of permanent difference and change.
Foucault's meaning is almost certainly more serious: One might gloss this. In his pieces on the meaning of enlightenment. What one is has now become a question one poses. An enlightened politics on this count would. One of Foucault's targets here is that of doctrinal fidelity to the ideal of the revolution. The spirit of enlightenment is not provided. In some senses. A few years before he had written these words about enlightenment and revolution.
Foucault's — unjustifiably maligned — journalistic writings on Iran. Foucault constantly refers to the anti-Shah demonstrations as moments of pure collective subjectivity and refusal.
The point about Foucault's discussion of Kant here is not least that we should take a similar attitude to the Enlightenment ideal itself.
It is emblematic. The revolt was. It is to say that we should treat the Enlightenment not as an event to the substance of which we need to be faithful but as evidence of a spirit that we might want to rekindle. This interest was motivated by Foucault's conviction that political activity is as much the feature of situated political events and conducts as it is of ideologies and intellectual theorisations.
But in an interview on Iran. When the mosques were too full for the crowds. But such refusal. Foucault appears to defend the idea of the apparently pointless demonstration for its own sake. The demonstration. Foucault b: Or they can even be meaningless.
The irrationality of the revolt might be said to be. What interested him about Iran. Of course revolts can go wrong. But what sort of a solidarity is this? For Foucault. But Foucault's conception of right is based not on our status as human beings but on our status as governed beings.
This is not really moral solidarity but an ethical or perhaps. Hence Foucault's particular interest in the emergence of new means for expressing such solidarity. Foucault's writings on Iran do not exhibit anything so shocking as an aesthetic politics as such. Muslim religion is not a moral code. Foucault suggests. After all. Given that we are all subject to government. It is more than that: What fascinates Foucault about the revolt is the fact that it is irreducible to theoretical constructions.
Nor is Muslim religion reducible to an ideological force. This may seem a strange idea for such an infamously anti- humanist thinker to embrace.
But the institutional sphere of politics. Here we have. The purpose of political protest is not one of empty affirmation. Anyone can speak up for anyone else in so far as they share the fact that they are governed. European solidarity dictated that the situation in Poland was important and the business of everybody Foucault.
It is certainly of note that the philosopher who is famous for supposedly arguing that intellectuals have no right to speak for the oppressed or for particular social groups is here espousing a view concerning the ubiquity of the right to speak.
What was important for him. Amnesty International. His model here was. But it is not just a question of protest. In this context. Some Implications Transformation. Humans are not meaningfully born with rights. Reading Foucault's contributions to philosophical journalism. Such an attitude represents. Reading the huge literature of commentary that has been devoted to Foucault.
It is as well. Foucault's own scholarly works may themselves be considered to be exercises in a certain kind of historical politics of truth. The fact that only limited things about Foucault's politics can be said is itself interesting. Foucault would certainly counsel caution in such matters. His is a political morality that emphasises creativity and singularity.
To be sure. While we wait for such principles. It is rather as if Foucault suspects that little can come by way of politics from asserting universal principles such as ideal speech situations. Rather what is constantly emphasised is the difficulty of governing.
Such characterisations are patently absurd. Which is not. This is nothing so grandiose as a critique of theory- building enterprises.
Foucault's political ethos was certainly not anti-intellectual. And why should it? One can hold to the idea of a plurality of critical discourses without succumbing to the postmodern shibboleths of a plurality of realities or truths. But there is a kind of humanism at stake here in that Foucault clearly regards it as an aspect of human capabilities to be affected and to undergo transformation and reorientation in the manner envisaged by an aesthetic education.
Habermas is not wrong to do so. Habermas or what could be worse? Foucault himself.
In any case. So what of Habermas? In this chapter. Habermas speaks in the language of propositions and science. Perhaps we should trust to our practices rather than our ideas. But this is a middle-distance not a long-distance rejection. As for the question of an aesthetic politics of criticism in this connection. Perhaps Foucault's own critical problematic is.
He did not bark because there was no dog.
None of this. Perhaps part of the problem has always been that commentators have tended to make assumptions about the style of criticism that animated Foucault's oeuvre. Things are far from complacently in order in Foucault's world. It is not a celebration of the end of ideology. Habermas would like to prove that justice is truth.
It is not as if one could ever say that Foucault would have disagreed with this or that political conviction of Habermas. Habermas — not entirely unlike Foucault — is also interested in grounding a form of morality that would still owe something to Kant. For why is it really necessary to ground justice? Why is justice so worthless. Habermas wants to know what are the conditions of moral subjectivity. The task of criticism is to make way for justice.
Assessment of the relative merits of these thinkers — which is already to put the matter wrongly — must really stand or fall on an assessment of their projects at this level of a critical ethos.
But even then it would not.
Foucault's thought is. At most it might lead to a certain scepticism about some of the aspirations of both thinkers — especially Habermas. We strive for justice because we find things intolerable: In some ways they are interestingly dissimilar. Is it taking liberties to suggest that Foucault would find such a notion unnecessary at best. But all this is a difference in critical style. It is only that whereas Foucault wanted — in the particular manner that he had distilled from Kant's essays — to act on the present.
The Cambridge Companion to Foucault. These volumes. I am indebted to Colin Gordon and David Owen for their comments on a previous version of the current chapter. References Bernauer. All quotations from this work in this chapter are my translations.
Gutting ed. Semiotext e. New Formations. The Foucault Reader. UCL Press. What Is Enlightenment? Michel Foucault: Social theory and the ethics of truth. History of the Present. Michel Foucault. Routinely and roundly dismissed for its supposedly uncharitable interpretation of Foucault's books. PDM is often adduced by Foucault's champions as conclusive evidence of Habermas' unwillingness to engage in serious philosophical discussion with Foucault.
Habermas' treatment of Foucault in fact constitutes prima facie evidence. The thought that there could be a state of communication which would be such that the games of truth could circulate freely. Conway I met Foucault only in I can only relate what impressed me: I know that he does not agree with what I say — I am a little more in agreement with him — but there is always something which causes me a problem. At the level of genealogical communication.
For this reason. In order to do so. Provoked by Foucault's avowed opposition to the traditions of humanism. I interpret Habermas' angry chapters on Foucault as constituting a response to an invitation issued by Foucault himself. Foucault receives a relatively extended hearing. Habermas is able to make his case. Habermas situates Foucault in the privileged lineage of post-Nietzschean philosophy. Habermas is more or less successful. In his execution of this task. Foucault instead descends from Nietzsche via Bataille.
Habermas also insists. That is. Toward this end. Habermas openly applauds the self-corrective exercises that govern the internal development of Foucault's thinking. Habermas devotes two full chapters of PDM to his account of the development — and eventual shipwreck — of Foucault's thinking.
To separate or police these dancers. Foucault began his career as a kindred thinker and aspiring conservator of the counterdiscourse of modernity. Foucault cannot help but appeal. In his basic concept of power. According to Habermas. This account of the development of Foucault's thinking establishes the dramatic form of Habermas' riposte. According to the terms of this motif. Rather than provide an alternative to subject-centred reason. Foucauldian genealogy accomplishes at best a cosmetic reversal of traditional ontological categories.
Foucault has forced together the idealist idea of transcendental synthesis with the presuppositions of an empiricist ontology. In attempting to defend the normative claims he wishes to derive from his genealogical investigations. Here power relationships are of interest as conditions for the rise of scientific knowledge and as its social effects. Part II. Here the interest is in power relationships as constitutive conditions for scientific knowledge.
Foucauldian genealogy. This approach cannot lead to a way out of the philosophy of the subject. Foucauldian genealogy unwittingly reinscribes the primacy and privilege of the ontological subject: Foucault's genealogy of the human sciences enters on the scene in an irritating double role.
Foucault strays from the path marked out by their common opposition to the hegemony of subject-centred reason. Habermas insists. On Habermas' reconstruction.
This genealogical detour. Foucault merits sustained attention in PDM only because his confrontation with modernity is so similar to Habermas' in many salient respects.
In fact. Foucault's genealogical turn engenders a performative contradiction. Foucault only gains this basis by not thinking genealogically when it comes to his own genealogical historiography and by rendering unrecognizable the derivation of this transcendental-historicist concept of power Habermas. Foucauldian genealogy thus discharges an exclusively levelling function. Both wish to extend in some sense the project of enlightenment.
As Habermas indicates in the passage that stands as the first epigraph to this chapter. By treating Foucault as his wayward twin. Genealogy is supposed to take the place of critique. Habermas is able to show not only that Foucauldian genealogy fails in its avowed campaign to chart the movement of shifting power relations.
Hence the disappointment and betrayal that tinge Habermas' evaluation of his wayward twin: Genealogy is overtaken by a fate similar to that which Foucault had seen in the human sciences: To the extent that it retreats into the reflectionless objectivity of a nonparticipatory.
Foucault turns in his later writings to a more balanced investigation of the process that he now calls subjectivation assujettissement. As we have seen. Habermas interprets Foucault's genealogical turn as a dead end in an otherwise promising course of philosophical experimentation. What makes power hold good. Since Foucault's work on ethics constitutes the ripest fruit born of his genealogical dissemination.
According to Foucault. It needs to be considered as a productive network which runs through the whole social body. In his late writings. Although Foucault locates in the dominant regimes of biopower a masked impulse toward domination.
His genealogies of the modern sexual subject reveal that the process of subjectivation is not strictly coercive and disabling. But even as a changed understanding of the self wards off old dangers.
Power relations always also manifest themselves in productive discursive practices. Although modern subjects are rendered docile through their subjection to a battery of normalising disciplines. As Dreyfus and Rabinow helpfully observe: A self that. Biopower promises longer life and unprecedented comforts in exchange for a gradual elimination of voluptuary pleasures. Foucault responds in the affirmative.
The success of the regimes devoted to the expansion of biopower demonstrates that truth is not the enemy of power. He associates this work-upon- oneself with the exercise of liberty.
Within this complement of residual faculties and powers there lies a measure of practical. Foucault's philosophical project may be more accurately characterised as the concretisation or miniaturisation of enlightenment. Rather than attempt to deduce the general principles of universal pragmatics.
Foucault's turn to genealogy thus represents his attempt to renew the counterdiscourse of modernity. Foucault's unacknowledged reliance on a general theory of power thus prevents him from addressing the myriad complexities of contemporary subjectivity9: In place of socialization as individuating which remains unconceptualized.
Foucault's investigation into modern techniques of subjectivation thus involves an experimental rehabilitation of practical reason. From his perspective. Whereas subject-centred reason is useless to agents who seek to resist the consolidation of power in sites of potential domination.
Although Habermas readily acknowledges this final. Habermas claims. Foucault's stubborn insistence that we are always implicated in the regimes of power that we oppose even as we oppose them conveys an immanentism that Habermas might very well endorse.
In our context. Habermas does not believe that Foucault has succeeded in renouncing the repressive hypothesis. Habermas thus turns the central thesis of The Order of Things against its author: Foucault fails. The Possibility and Justification of Resistance The possibility of meaningful political resistance is crucial to any rapprochement between Habermas and Foucault. This failure is prefigured. Simply put. Foucault is unable in the end to take the measure of particular.
Although Foucault tends to treat subjects as unwitting reflections of the constellations of power that have formed them.
For Foucault as for Habermas. I would say that if now I am interested. Like Habermas. Foucault thus insists that something like practical reason can be marshalled to frame a plan of strategic resistance that would not simply reinforce the status quo.
To Foucault. They are patterns that he finds in his culture and which are proposed. The project of critique also comprises an element of deliberative judgement.
Bernauer and Rasmussen. As constituted in the differential interstices of its various relationships. Foucault is no less suspicious than Habermas of the subjectivist paradigm of human agency. The popular interpretation of Foucault as a prophet of extremity. From the feedback loop engendered by the prevailing constellations of biopower. Habermas et al.
Foucault affirms the structure.
Habermas and kindred thinkers pre-emptively close off the gray area of genealogical investigation. Habermas yearns for Utopia.
Habermas acknowledges Foucault's overt gestures toward a justification of political resistance. Hence his decision to experiment with genealogy and archaeology: Both are critical methods that attempt to limit the claims of reason to the local and the concrete.
In doing so. Yet he differs from Habermas in identifying the proper sphere and application of practical reason. In order to exercise a relation of power. The work in question has its generality. One must observe also that there cannot be relations of power unless the subjects are free. If one or the other were completely at the disposition of the other and became his thing. Foucault is very much a champion of reason and of the role of practical reason in guiding political activity.
Foucault reserves no office for practical reason to perform. First of all. But if it is just a matter of mobilizing counterpower.
Since there are no genuine alternatives to be elected or declined through rational deliberation. As Foucault explains. Foucault further clarifies his position: Foucauldian genealogy neither requires nor enables the engagement of practical reason.
In that event. It would furthermore encourage his readers to associate him with their own political aspirations. While perhaps rhetorically effective in ridiculing Foucault and his followers as genealogists-errant. In response to this Habermasian challenge. That resistance occurs.
Although genealogy can perhaps contribute to the formulation of strategies for resistance. This event in turn obtains only if Foucault subscribes to a totalising theory of power. The options that Habermas offers — resist or adapt — are thus misleadingly presented in the frame of an exclusive disjunction. Thus emerges the distinctly political dimension of Foucauldian genealogy: All strategies of resistance presuppose some measure of accommodation to prevailing regimes of power.
As soon as there is a power relation. Although power relations contour all forms of human interaction. Habermas' own organic analogy can actually be used to illuminate the extent of Foucault's reliance on practical deliberation. One cannot impute to me the idea that power is a system of domination which controls everything and which leaves no room for freedom. Power relations can neither be eradicated nor suspended. To put Foucault's point somewhat rhetorically: To reduce Foucault's reconstructed rejoinder to a formula: We can never be ensnared by power: Rather than restrict or negate the opportunities for resistance.
Foucault embraces the tertium quid that is constituted by the convergence of resistance and adaptation. Habermas' rhetorical question — why resist at all? While it is true that. Habermas may judge Foucauldian subjects unfit to wage global battles against political injustice. As Foucault himself puts this point: That duty [of sounding a warning on the dangers of power] has always been an important function of philosophy.
If Foucault is unable to justify his appeal to practical reason. It is certain that in such a state the practice of liberty does not exist or exists only unilaterally or is extremely confined and limited. On the critical side — I mean critical in a very broad sense — philosophy is precisely the challenging of all phenomena of domination at whatever level or under whatever form they present themselves — political.
When an individual or a social group manages to block a field of relations of power. Foucault offers the following account of his distinction between power and domination: Facts or states of domination [occur when] the relations of power.
He can at best ridicule what he judges to be the insignificant goals of their guerrilla engagements. They will not do so. Habermas' ad hominem thus gathers its rhetorical force only at the expense of suggesting an implausible standard for justified political resistance.
As these points collectively suggest. This is not to suggest that practical reason will always dictate strategies of resistance that aim at or end in capitulation to the prevailing games of power and truth. How can one possibly oppose the threat of domination under the banner of biopower without also partaking of its enabling regimes of health and well-being? While an impulsive act of blind. It is undesirable for those subjects who possess a genealogical attunement to the constellations of power within which they find themselves enmeshed.
The anarchy that Habermas fears remains a live option for Foucauldian resisters. As Foucault articulates this point. To take an example close to the heart of Foucault's own genealogical project — namely. But this kinship magnifies. To this limited extent. Foucauldian resistance always requires genealogical preparation precisely because subjects are always multiply complicit in the structures of power that they also wish to oppose. Remarking on his goals in undertaking the genealogical investigations that comprise The History of Sexuality.
But couldn't everyone's life become a work of art? Why should the lamp or the house be an art object. As Foucault explained in Through resistance. It is also unethical in the peculiar sense that Foucault imparts to this term. Accruant to each novel situation is an unprecedented complement of powers and faculties.
That art is something which is specialised or which is done by experts who are artists. Resistance on the model of the Great Refusal is not merely politically obtuse. I don't believe there can be a society without relations of power.
Foucault ferociously opposes the romantic notion that some authentic human soul. This does not mean. To borrow a Nietzschean slogan: The problem is not of trying to dissolve them in the utopia of a perfectly transparent communication. What strikes me is the fact that in our society. Habermas playfully jabs and pulls at Foucault. Habermas decisively lays all such objections to rest. Habermas' misreadings of Foucault are intelligent. Habermas is often criticised.
I would hope that in the eyes of some people it might be sufficient in itself. While he continues to focus primarily on the cognitive elements of communicative reason. Habermas' Genealogical Critique of Foucault I have rehearsed these points of disagreement not to chastise Habermas for misunderstanding Foucault. Like a confident prize-fighter who knows that his elusive opponent must eventually take a fateful stand.
It is not my impression. These two chapters of PDM are written with great care and precision. This is the Habermas who takes personally Foucault's eccentric challenge to the project of Enlightenment. In his lectures on Foucault. Please enter the message. Please verify that you are not a robot. Would you also like to submit a review for this item?
You already recently rated this item. Your rating has been recorded. Write a review Rate this item: Preview this item Preview this item. Foucault contra Habermas: Samantha Ashenden ; David Owen Publisher: London ; Thousand Oaks, Calif. SAGE, Print book: English View all editions and formats Summary: Many of the most difficult arguments in the exchange - understanding the history of the present; the function of normative criticism; the relation between relativism and universalism - are subject to critical analysis.
The contributors also discuss the ethics of dialogue; the practice of criticism, the politics of recognition; and the function of civil society and democracy. Read more Find a copy online Links to this item Table of contents Table of contents Table of contents Table of contents. Show all links. Allow this favorite library to be seen by others Keep this favorite library private.
Find a copy in the library Finding libraries that hold this item Details Additional Physical Format: Online version: Foucault contra Habermas. Internet resource Document Type: Samantha Ashenden ; David Owen Find more information about: Samantha Ashenden David Owen. The contributors to this innovative volume extend, expound and explain the key areas of social theory long debated between Foucault and Habermas.
Reviews User-contributed reviews Add a review and share your thoughts with other readers. Be the first. Add a review and share your thoughts with other readers. Similar Items Related Subjects: Foucault, Michel -- Et les sciences sociales. Foucault, Michel. Social sciences -- Philosophy. Genealogy Philosophy Critical theory. Sciences sociales -- Philosophie. Sociale filosofie. Wetenschappelijke technieken.
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