Sunday, September 26, 2004

Lose and Lose and

Philadelphia Eagles (3-0) def. Detroit Lions (2-1), 30-13

But I didn't watch much because, instead, I was piling word by carefully chosen word through a summary of the last chapter from The Order of Things for class tomorrow night. I'll post it in the extended entry area since I wouldn't want to misrepresent this as aToo Orangey academic blog exactly.  Not yet.  Plus, the summary is terminologically hip-boots marshy; it gets by on borrowed terms, awkwardly jumbled, squishy.  But it'll do the trick, I think, and I was just so Fouc-ing relieved to be at the end of The Order of Things that a bit of disorderliness was due.  Seriously, though, I hope we will sort out whether F.'s rhetoric as epistemic tags him as a sophist (au wisdom) or a skeptic (au infinite regress)...or neither.  Both?


When I clicked on the slogan generator this morning, it brought up "Too Orangey For Braddock Essays."  A'right!  However, I'd never heard the slogan.  Found it gets play in this fun advertisement (mpg, 4.2mb) for Kia-ora.  Is it orange soda?  


Eating baked potatoes for tonight's meal when Andy Rooney came on the tube.  I haven't watched 60 Minutes in a long time, and tonight, having caught only the end, it was 5 Minutes.  The guru crabster was carrying on about disingenuous efforts to mobilize the votary public.  Get out and vote campaigns, he grumbled, are a crock; they stir disinterested, uninformed dummies, rustle the lethargic from civic slumber....  Like-always Rooney.  Pure crust.  But then he said, 

I'd be willing to bet that it's the dumbest people among us who are least likely to vote too, and that's fine with me. I don't want anyone dumber than I am voting.


If you're a new citizen, wait another four years until you understand English well enough to know what the candidates are talking about before you vote.

Way to go, CBS.  How completely asinine does it have to be before you relieve his crotchety-ness from making a total, hateful fool of himself?  At once I felt a tinge of pity because he's so confused and a wave of shock because he spoke in such unapologetic and  irrevocable seriousness to hundreds of thousands of viewers saying, insomanywords, that non-English speakers, despite U.S. citizenship, ought to learn English before voting.  


Foucault, Michel. The Order of Things. Summary: Chapter 10, "The Human Sciences" 
I. The Three Faces of Knowledge (344)
For Foucault, the three faces of knowledge are biology (life), economics (need/labor), and philology (literature/myth). Devised through an excavation of European intellectual conditions since the late 16th c., these faces, he points out, are neither timeless, nor uni-directional, nor one-dimensional. Their emergence signals a crucial shift in man's subjectivity; the human sciences captured in the three faces position man at the fissure between concurrent presence and a positivist foundation. We might think of the faces of the human sciences as proximal to a three-dimensional space--empirical and mathematical sciences name one trajectory and the human sciences name a second trajectory. The third dimension concerns reflective philosophy. Foucault characterizes the human sciences as "irreducibly precarious" cohabitants in this shared, three-dimensional domain; they are, accordingly, cloudy, difficult and complex, and, as well, always connected to knowledge within "the three dimensions that give them their space" (348). 
II. The Form of the Human Sciences (348)
The form of the human sciences generally retreats from mathesis; Foucault calls this a corollary of "de-mathematicization." Man's double-occupancy as one representing objectified episteme to himself (a subject) renders a split level in the human sciences; the divergence results in an interiority (kinship, self-interest) and exteriorities (objectivity) of knowledge. This split enables room for the human sciences to be applied to themselves; accordingly, "they are rather like sciences of duplication, in a 'meta-epistemological' position" and positivism can rescue them from ambiguity. 
III. The Three Models (355)
Concordant with the three faces of knowledge and the divergence of form detailed in section two, a trihedral regionalization within the faces results in two new questions: what is a proper positivity for the human sciences and what is the relation of the human sciences to representation? Most positivistic assignments in the human sciences have simply correlated to three faces; other concepts--organic metaphors, energy metaphors and dynamic metaphors--came through 19th c. sociology and failed as techniques of formalization. Foucault concludes three pairings--function-norm, conflict-rule, and signification-system--"cover the entire domain of what can be known about man," hence a proper positivity for the human sciences. Foucault describes these three models as "bipolar" (359); they continually reset in relation to the other two models, and, at once, they are also pitted against their correlation. Psychoanalysis, then, takes shape in the gap between the normal set (norm-rule-system) from their functional counterparts (function, conflict, signification). Likewise, this bipolarity sets up two conditions related to representation. The link between representation and consciousness convenes "historical order," and the link between representation and unconsciousness convenes "conditions of possibility." 
IV. History (367)
In the 19th c. the human sciences started to pay "closer attention to human history" (368). It wasn't a new historicity, exactly; conceptions of history existed before the 19th c. It was, however, bifurcated into the chronology of things (origins, chronicles of events) and a human-centered memory log (pattern recognition, laws, cultural totalities). At once, history becomes ambiguous, fighting its own relativity on the one hand, and, in turn, resulting in reductive narratives and positive content. According to Foucault, the result for the human sciences is "a favourable environment which is both privileged and dangerous" (371). Rather than attending to the oscillation between "the positivity of man taken as an object--and the radical limits of his being," history attends to "a new law of time" (372). 
V. Psychoanalysis and Ethnology (373)
Psychoanalysis (situated in the unconscious) and ethnology (situated in historicity) function as counter-sciences, according to Foucault, and they span the entire field of finitude associated with the human sciences as well as their normal-functional double-models. Psychoanalysis poses a kind of backward trajectory which makes possible a totality of knowledge about man, engulfing desire, law and death. Ethnology establishes relationships between cultures; it is taken up particular moments in nature and culture, and the study of societies in history. Foucault posits a third counter-science--linguistics--which is "interwoven" (381) with psychoanalysis and ethnology and which once again assumes a relationship to mathematics. Linguistic study signals a new, urgent return to language as a form of multiplicity and suggests questions meant for suspense and contemplation rather than answers (386). 
VI. In Conclusion (386)
Man in human knowledge is a relatively recent invention, and, as such, we could suppose conceptions of man might fade and even vanish as easily as they gained currency.

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