Genealogy and Subjectivity: An Incoherent Foucault (A Response to Calvert-Minor)

Brian Lightbody
2010 Kritike: An Online Journal of Philosophy  
he essay "Archaeology and Humanism: An Incongruent Foucault" argues, among other things, that Foucault "endorses a kind of humanism." Moreover, Calvert-Minor attempts to show that without such an endorsement then the curative aspects regarding Foucault's genealogy of subjectivity would be nonsensical. To be sure, the author seems to demonstrate that there is a clear tension in Foucault's oeuvre regarding the Frenchman's changing stance towards, and at times unconscious embracement of,
more » ... ement of, philosophical humanism. Such a claim, if true, would certainly be damaging to Foucault's archaeological and genealogical projects as he stridently rejected humanism in all of its myriad forms. What makes this paper interesting is that it claims that Foucault backslides into two different humanistic positions with respect to at least two of the three principal periods of his work. In this respect, the paper seems to be on the other side of the fence with regard to some recent work in the secondary literature which has also sought to show Foucault's conscious avowal of humanism. For example, Eric Paras argues in his seminal work, Foucault 2.0: Beyond Power Knowledge, that Foucault comes to embrace, quite consciously, many key elements of humanism in his late work. Paras, however, seems to suggest that such humanistic leanings are the direct result of the epistemic and ontological aporias Foucault found himself in at the conclusion of his power/knowledge period and, as such, these leanings were conscious admissions by Foucault that his power/knowledge period explanation of subject formation was in drastic need of revision.
doi:10.3860/krit.v4i1.1832 fatcat:pwvedlvncnaxvhsd5dwndlam3a