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Created: June 25, 2000.
Latest update: January 22, 2001.
E-Mail Curran or Takata.

The Dialog They Never Had

Review essay by Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata
Part of Theory Series
Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata, January 2001. "Fair Use" encouraged.

This essay is drawn from the article by Dominique Janicaud, "Rationality, force and power: Foucault and Habermas's criticisms. In Michel Foucault: Philosopher, edited by Timothy J, Armstrong, Routledge. English translation: 1992. ISBN: 0-415-90532-X (pbk.)

The purpose of this reading is to acquaint you with some of the difficulties of communication among theorists themselves. You should recognize that knowledge is not absolute, and that ideas are constantly being reshaped by our "lived" experience. I will try to explain the criticisms and basic ideas in relatively simple terms, as I understand them myself. I am not an authority. This is meant as a study guide only, that you will need to supplement by more serious study of those who are experts in the field, if you choose to go further in your studies.

Notes: Foucault's drawing on Nietzsche. Truth and power linked. Leads to Foucault's denial of signification, truth, and value. Habermas' assertion that signification, truth and value permeate Foucault's position, and cannot be escaped. Nietzsche's reliance on Art. Marcuse's reliance of Art. Foucault's recognition of the difficulty of tranforming the discourse - and his avoidance of dominant discourse.

See Farganis, pp.407-408.

Discourse Questions:

  1. What is Habermas's position on power and knowledge?
  2. What is Foucault's position on power and knowledge?
  3. How does this fit in with Jonathan Lear's position on knowingness?


p. 291: "not in order to have the last word, but to dialog"
p. 292: knowingness explained.