chapter  2
9 Pages

Foucault and Epistemology

WithRichard Rorty

Michel Foucault would not accept the deflationary interpretation of the notion of ‘constitution’. He appears to think there is something philosophical and theoretical to be done with the notion of ‘discursive practices’ which will be more useful than what Hegel or Husserl did with the notion of ‘consciousness’. In such passages, Foucault writes like a contented inhabitant of the ‘system of possibilities’ offered by French academic philosophy, a system which forbids a person just to settle for being clever enough to have found interesting new descriptions to replace boring old ones. The Hegelian attitude takes for granted that rationality is to be viewed sociologically and historically. Foucault says he is interested in ‘the historical sense’ only insofar as it can evade metaphysics and become a privileged instrument of genealogy. Foucault too might seem to be on the Hegelian side.