« Philosophize This!

Episode #121 ... Michel Foucault pt. 1

2018-08-14 | 🔗

Today we begin talking about the work of Michel Foucault. 

Support the show on Patreon!

www.philosophizethis.org for additional content.

Thank you for wanting to know more today than you did yesterday. :)

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Hello, everyone, I'm Stephen West. This is philosophize this. If you want to support the show and help keep it going, can always pledged a certain amount per episode by going to Patria dot com, slash philosophize this or you can go to W W W philosophize this dot org and learn more about how you can contribute in other ways, including but not limited to the Amazon banner. I hope he loved the show today so real, quick just to clarify something towards the end of last episode. I talked about doing a couple. Episodes on the late work of Wittgenstein and Heidegger based on the emails are received that releasing last episode it. It seems clear that people do really want to hear about it? They kind of want to just move onto postmodernism. Now, personally, I think to full understand postmodernism. It's absolutely crucial to understand this transition. From logical positivism to the MID Twenty, century, where there's more of a focus on behaviorism and pragmatism. But look, let's be honest here. At the end of the day, I'm a dancing monkey, that's stuff,
episodes about what the majority of people want to hear about, or else I go out of business so, but that in mind today's up it is part one of a series of Michel Foucault and, if you're, at all confused about the content to these ideas on how their being brought up, send me an email or respond to as many as again, but that's it. If someone we're gonna write a shortlist of the quintessential Postmodernism philosophers of what's meant when somebody says Postmodernism philosopher Foucault is definitely gonna be on that list, but to some relegating the work of Foucault and Labeling, it is merely being in the realm of philosophy. Doesn't really do him justice because his work oftentimes, moves into areas that have nothing to do with philosophy. To some. You could easily referred to Fuoco as a historian or political theorist, or a social
container. Depending on what era of his life he wrote the book your reading, you can have very different impressions about what subject matters even more important to him now. This makes it completely impossible for us to cover the entire scope of Foucault work in a single episode and it can kind of make it hard to find a clean entry point into covering his work. But I think a really good place to start is for us to talk about the details of his nineteen. Seventy five book, title discipline and punish now to a total outsider to the work of Michel Foucault to somebody the just picked up in red discipline and punish one day to that person. The book may seem to be just a history of criminology, a historical catalogue of the ways we ve treated and punish criminals over the centuries. But, as will talk about later on, today's episode fur coats actually making a much deeper point with this book he's making a point about the structures of where power lies in society.
And the relationship between the people in power and the average citizen and just for the first half of the pond cats, doesn't come off completely. Like I'm doing some documentary on the history of how we ve treated prisoners throughout the episode, I'm gonna ask some questions when we come to the intersections sort of foreshadow why this may be much bigger than just Foucault. Talking about the history of criminology by the way, Foucault himself would never described this book as a cordon quote. History of anything for oh hated, the word history and almost never used it in his writing. He used words to describe this book more, like a a genealogy of the way we treat criminals or an archaeology of how criminals have been punished over the years. He hates the word history because so often the word history brings with it a connotation that we in our modern world. At the end of this long, historical timeline of events that have led in your constant progress, this idea that thought we used to be these barbaric savages that followed the play book of Machiavelli. The ins justify the means we
to believe it was morally acceptable for the king or the people in power to brutally torture and kill someone that was guilty of a heinous crime. But then, but then history happened. Time went on. Progress was made great political theorist came along great leaders Great ethical philosophers did their work and we all realize the air of our ways and brought into existence and more modern world where everyone's much more free, the people power inhibiting the lies at the average citizen. Far less than they used to Foucault is gonna call this in about history into question and really dig deeper into the idea of how much has really changed when it comes to the fundamental relationship between those in power and the citizens. Foucault begins. Exploring this idea in chapter one of discipline and punished by laying the groundwork for the rest of the discussion in describing what it was like to be a criminal in western Europe. In the seventeen fifties, specific could he an example of what the world was like this time by describing an actual punishment that was carried
on a criminal in the year, seventeen fifty seven listened to the punishment this person faced for the crimes they had committed. This punishment was to be implemented in public on the steps of the church and the criminal was to be quote, take in and conveyed in a cart wearing nothing, but a shirt holding a torch of burning, wax wing to pounce, then on a scaffold will be erected there. The flesh will be torn from his breast arms thighs and calves the red hot pincers his right hand, holding the knife with which he committed the said parricide burnt with sulphur and on those places where the flesh will be torn away, poured molten, led boiling oil burning, resin wax and sulphur melted together and then his body dry. Imported by four horses and his limbs and body consumed by fire reduced to ashes and his ashes thrown to the winds. In quote, that was an actual punishment carried out on an actual person in the year. One thousand seven hundred and fifty seven
a few things Foucault. It wants to initially consider about the situation. One would be to recognise the fact that this sentence was handed down on what may as well be a distant alien planet to the planet that you live on sea because it so easy to here about a punishment like this weighed up against the moral intuitions that happened to be given to you in modern times, feel morally superior to the people who lived in the seventeen fifties and then right off their entire. Culture is just barbaric savagery from a bygone era that even talk about his legitimizing a waste of time. What could we possibly learn from people that's something like this was a good idea, but the problem with this approach to Foucault is you always in the conversation here number one. You know understand the historical context. That explains why things were different back then, but number, two and, more importantly, to Foucault that feeling of moral superiority so often gets us to never. Consider the similarities between the world back then, and the world
It is now more specifically the power structures of that time their relationship to the citizens and how many aspects of them still persist in this day because think about it. This punishment handed down in a world that was pre american Revolution, pre french revolution, the knee should state that sentence. This prisoner to this punishment was not muddled. After the enlightenment, it was model more after a renaissance, sera interpretation of Machiavelli's, the prince and love than by Thomas hops. The stability of this particular society would have been grounded and social contract theory or, if your member from the pond, episodes. We did about this period. It's the idea that upon birth, each Every citizen of the nation state effectively signs a social contract. These citizens sacrifice a certain amount to the state by way of taxation or public service or other means and inward and they receive protection protection from what Hobbs calls the state of nature protection by it king or a magistrate or whatever sovereign body is in charge that guarantees certain natural rights for the people put another way, the
Citizens job is to sacrifice for the sovereign so that the sovereign can do their job of guaranteeing the natural right to the population, including punishing criminals, This obey the law? This is a contract. We're both parties have a Very important role in society is going to function now. Another thing you may remember from the episodes we did on Hobbs, it's When somebody commits a crime in one of these societies, the act is seen as a direct attack on the body politic only that, but the crime is seen as a direct affront to every single citizen that assigned a social contract each one of them, making up a small piece of that leviathan. That Hobbs describes, but more partly than either of those two things when a cry is committed and why these societies it is seen as direct affront to the authority of the king, and it's right here. Foucault thinks that you can start to see the true Mary function of the penal system in one of these societies. In the seventeen fifties, the goal of the crime oh justice system back then was not justice. There was no
Real focus on a balancing of the scales in any sort of way the goal implementing these punishments was not fairness. People then get the same punishment for the same crime generally speaking the true function of the criminal. Just system the reason these punishments were often dramatic and always carried out in front of everyone in the public as a spectacle. The primary function was it, billowy to maintain social order, and it achieved this goal in a couple of key first of all. This type of system was a fantastic deterrent of criminal behaviour, because, if you someone. What plans that they are committing some sort of heinous criminal act, look no further Then the guy get in his arms, ripped off by red hot pincers as a persuasive essay as to why you shouldn't be doing that stuff, but the other ways This type of system was so good back then because in one of these societies, when a crime is committed, it directly calls into question the authority of the sovereign, these punishments being carried out in front of, Everybody on the church, steps ended up being extremely useful public spectacle, because he's
served as reinforcement of the fact direct evidence of the fact that the population that the sovereign was still upholding their end of the social contract, the price Mary goal of this entire display was not justice. It was not fairness. It was the maintaining of order within the society and for code want to point out that, if you're, the sovereign, if you're the person or group, when commissioned by one of these societies to maintain order. An absolutely crucial part of doing your job is to make sure that still in power able to maintain order tomorrow or next week or a month from now. In other words, Foucault is saying an intrinsic nessus. Every part of that task of maintaining order if you're the sovereign, is preserved. The existing power structure, but just to ask one of those foreshadowing questions. What happens when the power structure no longer serve the needs of the people. Now Foucault would want to point out that now,
only to having a sovereign whose job it was to maintain order in this way work for us, but it worked well. In fact, it worked extremely well for hundreds of years, but eventually, as is the case with any imperfect system, problems, came up these sovereign and other people in positions of power started another some patterns with societies that restructured this way and how they rise and fall. They started to run into some unintended consequences flaws in the system that seem to be repeating themselves over and over again see when you're in the business of publicly executing people for the sake of sending a message about where the power lies in a society, things don't always play out seamlessly in that situation, for example. Sometimes when you try to publicly execute someone, they don't die. I mean Somethin's, eventually, gonna go wrong right. The the equipment malfunctions, the horses are cooperating that day, you try to hang somebody, but they know they got like a six pack on their neck and they just kind of hang
for a few hours laughing at you point: is these sorts of things happen sometimes and when they did it, wasn't afar meet for the population to start considering whether this with some sort of bad omen, Was this a sign that the authority of the sovereign was wavering, that they were no longer capable of peering out therein of the social contract, but this wasn't the only intended consequence. It started to crop up in these societies, for example, to beginning the episode we talked about a pretty extreme punishment seventeen fifty seven that Foucault sites in chapter one of discipline and punish, but it wasn't it early uncommon. When one of these sorts of extreme punishments were carried out on someone that the population might think, the punishment greatly exceeded the severe many of the crime that was being committed. When this, The thing happened: it wasn't entirely on common for the Population to side with the criminal or, at the very least, call into question
authority of the sovereign and whether there still running things properly, but probably the biggest unintended negative consequence for the sovereign that nobody saw common. What's it when you have these sorts of brutal executions and punishments taking place in the public square every day in front of every one, when societies function and well in the sovereigns doing their job, there is zero doubt in anyone's mind when it comes to who was in charge. There is zero question as to who you'll have to answer to. You'll have to answer to them? Should you decide to go against the rules in force by the existing power structure, but the flip side of that is that things are not going well say: there's a phantom or natural rights are being guaranteed, or even if this is the general public sentiment that the sovereigns a napkin, some change needs to take
place. The flip side is that there is zero confusion in anyone's mind when looking for the people in power that need to be overthrown and killed for this change to occur. What the sovereign and the people in power started to realise is that in this type of society that we're talking about brutal as it was, the would the people often had influence over which people were in positions of power, and this could be streamlined convenient for the sovereign. At times it made staying in a position of power for an extended period of time, a pretty vulnerable enterprise. The p in positions of power knew that something drastic had to change if they wanted to make power more sustainable and Foucault documents of fundamental shift that occurs in the way societies treat criminals that takes place between the years, one thousand seven hundred and fifty seven and one thousand eight hundred and thirty seven quick, unjust, anticipating a place at someone's brain might go here. Oh, oh! So what you are saying is that of evil people in positions of power realized that this older type of society, the will of the people, actually mattered and could influence things, so they all got together, met and be.
Rooms formed a secret society, called it something like the council of the drifting Phoenix came up with it. Creepy secret handshaking. They all sat around coming up with ways to control the populations that they never have to relinquish power, but what Foucault would probably want to point out that there doesn't need to be some evil secret society for people in government to want power to be more deeply embedded, member, the people positions of power signed. A social contract is well part of that social contract maintaining the order of societies that they can continue to guarantee the natural rights of the citizens and part of maintaining order. Historically, to Foucault has been to preserve the listing power structure. There need to be a single evil person in any of these positions of power, for them to be motivated with new, better tactics to stay in power and Foucault would say that new tactics that are being implemented between the years, one thousand seven hundred and fifty seven and one thousand eight hundred and thirty seven is a bra, evolution of the way people in power keep prisoners under control. These changes occur gradually over the course of decades,
sometimes just with subtle changes to the ceremony of the public execution itself, whereas before prisoners used to be just paraded around in an open top cart before their execution slow. Over the years that evolved into a close top cart with wooden planks on the sides. They could hardly see the person that eventually evolved into a bag being the person said in their identity, completely concealed by the seventeen nineties. Most aside, had moved away from these dramatic or creative public executions in favour. Two more standardized punishment of a mg attain and from the courthouse, few years later, the guillotine was moved behind the courthouse until event It was moved inside the prison and all executions were done in private punishment and the reality of the way we treat criminals has slowly moved from before when it was something that was at the forefront of public consciousness, that it was possible not to be aware of two now when it's something abstract silent court dark and even locked away in these distant faraway buildings that we never have to see much harder to locate
who the people in power are that are inflicting this punishment. To ask a couple: more foreshadowing questions here. What sort of effects might this have on a society? More importantly, why might people who want to maintain their positions of power, prefer a situation like this by the year eighteen thirty, seven to funding till changes had occurred in the way that we punish criminals, the Foucault says, are extremely deliberate number one putting somebody to death as a public spectacle that everybody gets to witness and all but disappeared and number two. We had changed tack. Six from punishing criminals by inflicting harm on their bodies to the emerge, Of a new era in our methods of punishing criminals, where we now focus primarily on the disappointing and control of their minds. Let me say it again: there is a fundamental shift from the physical punishment of the persons body we used to do to the more modern, disciplining and reformation of the persons mind. This is why Foucault Titles the book, discipline and punish
this is the emergence and infancy of will eventually become the modern prison. This is the beginning of a long evolution were people in positions of power, develop a much more efficient and effective way of wielding and sustaining power over people Foucault in the book sites. An actual strict time schedule that crap those in the eighteen. Thirty that were serving time had to followed during their time in prison. He imagined something like this might look like great seven, a m wake up Seventy five, you are to be on your mark for roll call, seven fifteen you're too the mess hall for breakfast some twenty five years to beat you sign job post for the day. Nine fifteen water break nine twenty back to work, in other words When your entire day is scheduled and accounted for down to the second there's, not much time for illicit criminal activity, there's not much time for any thought outside of disciplining yourself and adhering to the schedule of stuff is required to do Couple this new strict, focused on the disappointing of the mind and reformation of behaviour with more knew tat,
except where emerging over the years. More specifically a new improved three pronged approach towards controlling prisoners, the Foucault thinks is one of the most effective methods its ever been devised. The three prongs of this three pronged method- that's used, he prisoners in line or what Foucault calls surveillance, normalization and examination that is constant. Surveillance of the prisoners which combines nicely with normalization or a normalize standard of how a good prisoners should be thinking and behaving. That's been given to you by the people in power and both of these worked icy with a concert process of examination and reexamination were people in positions of power. You a score or a grade determining how well your corresponding with that way of behaving that we decided a good prisoners should be a reflection of fur coat, in this new highly effective way of controlling prisoners me sprang out of the work of a philosopher named Jeremy Bentham, the same
Plato and the republic spends a considerable amount of time trying to come up with the ideal structure of government. Jeremy Bentham spends a bunch of time in his work, trying to come up with the ideal structure of a and in the model that he arrived at after thinking about it, for so long, is what he calls. The panopticon simply put the panopticon is a building designed and laid out in a very clever way where a single guard or warden or any one in a position of power can stand in a specific spot in the center of the building, and they can see inside the cell of any prisoner. They want watch them at any time, but the prisoners can't see them. They can't know when their being watched. They can't know the criteria. The determines why there being watched innocent spent them says. The reason this is an ideal designed for a prison is because the only reason thing the prisoners can do and imprisonments designed. This way is to behave every second of every day as though there being watched
because it can never know when or when it's not happening. The life of the prisoner becomes once again constant surveillance through cameras are armed guards, strict adherence to an normalized way, a good prisoner, behaves given to them by people in power and this example nation by experts or the court system, or the parole board, of whether it is this week for the prisoner to answer to a summing up, there might be seen where we going on so much about the history of criminals. What does this have to do with philosophy? What really does this have to me whatsoever? Well, if you're someone, that's thought that we ve been talking about so far in this episode are methods we ve developed over the years for controlling only prisoners. Foucault would probably say, I hope, even paying attention to the details of what's been said so far, because when Jeremy Bentham sits down and creates the design of this panopticon of his he's, not just talking about the ideal structure of a prison, and what follows from that is it. Foucault is not just talking about the evolution of methods. We developed to control prison
Jeremy Bentham describes the panopticon very generally in his work as a quote new mode of obtained power of mind over mind and a quantity hitherto without example, in input and knowing that he said that it makes sense that quickly goes on to say that though this is the ideal structure of a prison. If you wanted to control prisoners, there's no He's the same design couldn't be applied. If you wanted to create anything, I mean a mental institution that promotes a standard to the inmates of what a good patient is or in military setting promoting what it is to be a good soldier or in a year firstly, setting promoting how you should think can behave if you want to be a good student if Bentham lived in a modern economic society, he no doubt would see utility of the panopticon if it was applied to a factory in producing good factory workers or even more generally how it could be is that a multinational corporation trying to produce good employees, see that's thing, let's say you're in a position of power and a corporation to be able to you,
who's. The fundamentals of these highly effective tactics have been developed over the years to control your employees. You don't need to treat them like they're, a prisoner, that's part of a chain gang forced to crush rocks all day no as long as you make sure that their chain is long enough, that they don't feel like a prisoner. You can set up pretty narrow parameters for what it is to be a quote. Good employee. That not will they fall into, but they will actually police themselves to stay. That way, though, feel intense pressure to adhere to that normalize standard of behaviour at all times, because their life at work is one of surveillance, normalization, an examination surveillance by way of cameras, time clause supervisors deadlines, monitoring activity under computer. I may even something just the surveillance of other employees around that feel like they benefit from haven't dirt. On someone in a highly competitive environment the norm. Why standard of being a good employee speaking acting dressing in a professional way? However, that's defined by whoever decided in the company
putting on your work, persona always being politically correct, doing the things to make sure you're a good team player. Then it's onto the examination phase, with your monthly quarterly yearly evaluations where they give. You score on a ten in all these different areas to determine how well you're doing or in other words, how? Well you correspond exactly who I say you should be when you're here, thou wilt, Signor Productivity is about the same level as last evaluation. That's funny Yes, you're doing good in some areas, but you know there's room for improvement in a couple other areas and don't worry. I made an action plan so that we can see if we can get you back on track. How about that? This three pronged method has become the dominant. Of controlling human behaviour, and if you doubt that in any way can the similarities, it has to the structure of some religions, with the constant surveillance, normative behaviour and rigorous process of examination. This method is so effective and so capable of being up. I'd any circumstance, imaginable,
in our modern world. It has so pervaded the way power is exercised, that it extends beyond institutions like prisons or corporations, and it's actually embedded itself into the very fabric of society. The very same process of surveillance, normalization and examination could be said to exist in the way you present yourself on line and the media you consume it most likely is even being played out in various social circles it you're a part of right now Foucault would say that the truly insidious things about the way powers, wielded and people are controlled in modern times. Is that simultaneously, you are both a subject that is being controlled while also being an active participant in the sis an active participant that in some way most times unknowingly supports the existing power structure. Let's down for a second really talk about, what's being applied here for member the criminals. Justice system back in the seventeen fifties. So ass, we talked about the gold the whole situation back then was clearly not primarily justice or fairness, but instead the benefits,
system provided to society when it came to maintaining order and keeping things moving forward? Will Foucault is going to ask? Is the penal system of the nineteen seventies really so different when you take a closer look, do we exist in a modern, enlightened era where we ve grown throughout history, Ray and learn the air of our ways and constructed a penal system. That, first and foremost, has the aim of distributing justice and fairness to Foucault. The goal of the modern penal system is not justice or fairness. The goal is through surveillance, normalization and examining to produce harmless, non rebellious, working taxpaying, productive citizens who follow the rules and are satisfied with a life of conforming to the normalized standard of what it is to be. A person handed down to them from above, in other words, docile useful subjects that carry out the vision for what the future should hold given to them by the people in power. This is why there is such a difference when it comes to the sentencing between white collar and blue collar crimes between an executive that robs the IRA,
ass, a twenty thousand dollars by evading taxes and some do that rob Taco Bell of your eighty five box and a burrito supreme shortly executive absolutely refusing to pay back into the money. Nine times at a ten. They are not going to see the inside of a prison cell, because their behaviour really doesn't need that Reformation in the eyes of the people in power, keep doing almost everything you're doing, kicked, keep working, creating jobs, keep starting new companies going to badminton on Sundays. Just pay your taxes as the guy that robbed the Taco bell, I mean it doesn't matter if he marches back into that store hands. Eighty five bucks, directly to the manager baby Boy the burrito Supreme back into his mouth nine times out of ten that guy going to jail, because the goal of the penal system is reforming criminals to fit a pre existing mould of what a normal person is. Not direct retribution for a crime also consider the fact that once you're
sentenced it isn't about justice or fairness at that point, either in today's day and age. There's the modern advent of getting out on good behaviour and other words as long as you're willing to reform yourself into the type of person that we ve told you to be. It doesn't really matter what your initial sentence was. We may knock a couple decades off your sentence if only you're willing to play by our rules now, some people out there, no matter how many times they go to prison are just the type of people that are never gonna play by the rules. There never gonna become this person. The people in power want them to become than ever. Gonna change and those people are the people that will either be lifelong repeated. Anderson and out of jail or they'll, eventually get life in prison and Foucault would say it's these kinds of people that refuse to play by the rules that are absolutely fascinating to us. Ass quote: normal people. That's another modern invention for Foucault, of ourselves as normal and the labelling of criminals as abnormal or people that need to be reformed to a state of normalcy. But it's a fact. They're, not like normal people. That makes us so fascinated by criminals. Look at the thousands of true crime podcasting,
absolutely exploded onto the podcasting in the last couple years, massively popular look on Netflix at all the crime related shows you can find their way through stability These subscription look at all the tv shows on the year documenting some crime that was committed. This fascination with criminals is a modern phenomena Foucault. This has existed all throughout our history. In the American West, there was Billy the kid in the great depression. Bonding Clyde criminals can even become folk here. Like Db Cooper. But this doesn't just happened in the United States. This has happened all over the world. Part of the reason these older societies moved away from the direction of executing criminals as a public spectacle it because of the very real effects of what happens when you put a criminal, the love by the public at center stage, Foucault thinks we love criminal, so much because when they be a Milli refused to play by the rules of society, they have an ability to show us exactly what we are. The law abiding occupants and active participants in what is effectively a mass
social prison. We live our lives trapped in a cell inside of a panopticon or panopticon inside of another panopticon. In fact, the panopticon is a great metaphor for the entire project of modernity to cocoa. Just like in the actual prison for the goal of the operation is not some higher virtue like justice, but instead to reform prisoners into subdued that are useful for keeping society going, we as occupants of our social prison are constantly being disciplined and reformed into good employees. Good consumers, good voters, good students, good for and all internalized expectations of ourselves given to us by someone in a position of power were given standards to adhere to buy tv shows movies books. All me, standards we internalize it. Tell us power body should look. What beauty is what you should care about, what you can and can't say what some people can do, that you can't do. There is no prison or method of torture that has ever been
vice that can do two people what they willingly due to themselves in our modern social prison. We live in a panopticon because we live our lives as though we are constantly being watched and held to these standards about how we should be that are given to us by media and the people around us, but the truly sick part about it is that we have structure a world where we are simultaneously both the prisoner being reformed in the cell and the warden at the centre of the panopticon. That's constantly watching us. We created a world where we are under constant surveillance by ourselves, surveillance by looking in the mere wondering, if you should starve yourself tonight to lose that two pounds it'll make beautiful surveillance of your own irrational, toxic thoughts, but you suffer in silence, rather than have to face the shame of going against societal expectations and asking for help and appearing temporarily week to the people around you who need you to keep it together. There is no prison,
can compare to the life of forcing yourself to adhere to a normal life standard of behaviour that tells you the person you should be, while constantly being sir bade and examined by yourself and others to make sure you stay that way. This is what Foucault refers to as the Genealogy of the modern soul, consider the fact that the media you consume even give the very vocabulary you have at your disposal and with it the old categories you have to think about who you even hours, a person think about that think about the power you could have. If you are the person that came up at the only terms, people had to think about who they even r C all throughout history, people ask the questions: where does power ultimately lie? Who has the power and how is it s? sized on people and has been this classic idea that people are brought up over and over again, the power lies in the hands of people that are in privilege political positions. The thinking is, if you're the president of a country, you can pass executive orders, you can go across the eye
and find bipartisan consensus. If you want to, you can appoint judges that ultimately dictate the law. That's where power lies. But then a marxist tradition came along and said no that's back a naive understanding of power because in advanced economic societies, if you can buy the interests of the President, if. Lobby politicians and get legislation influence in your behaviour because a financial contributions, then it's not people and privilege political positions that have a power, but people and privileged economic positions, while many postmodernism would say Foucault among them that the Mai these are just as naive as the people that came before them and just as helping trying to find some grand narrative to explain everything like they always try to do with economics too few co power doesn't lie in either of these places, so it would be great. Power actually did lie in the hands of a relative few like that too few Co. It be great if something like Illuminati really existed because then, just like the societies in the seventeen fifties wicked point directly at the people and
our and do away with them if things were going bad, but in modern world powers, much more difficult to identify, Part of the reason: why is because has become much more widespread and diffuse power? in our modern world. Foucault is always connected to knowledge and, having recently talked about the structure was imposed, structure listener views. Knowledge claims. We know that knowledge to them is not some objective codified, set of facts about the way the universes you learn in school. Knowledge to these thinkers is nothing more than the findings of the current dominant set of cultural discourses and the method that it uses to chop up a sense of the world, so if power lies in the hands of people with knowledge and now is given to us by people that use narrow cultural basis to chop up reality Then why do we get our knowledge and who are these people that are arriving at knowledge for us? Well, our modern world. Science is where we get our knowledge and thought leaders within the scientists in their respective fields of study.
Are, the people that arrive at knowledge for us to use. This is where power ultimately lies. You know, Foucault has a famous idea. It's that that that man is a recent invention. That's reaching its expiration date the concept of man is something that wasn't even talked about until around the sixteen hundreds and part of what I mean when he says that it wasn't until the sixteen hundreds of people really focused on the human sciences as a prescriptive endeavour. It wasn't until the sixteen hundreds, the fields like psychology biology, medicine sociology were being used actively to try to arrive at a scientific, rational idea of quote what it is to be a human being Foucault and ask what who have conducted these experiments that are determining what it is to be a human being. Have we may be limited ourselves by only looking at what it is to be a human being from the extremely narrow cultural perspective of almost entirely men from a western european cultural background? For me,
or educational background from a similar socio economic situation where they were able to go to school, get funding for their experiments. They were able to think about stuff like this, for their entire lives, Foucault and ask when it comes to our understanding of what it is to be a human being. Has the data we gathered over the years come from such a limited point of view that much of our understanding of what it is to be a human being is approaching some sort of expiration date? Regardless of your answer to this question for close point about power, is it it doesn't matter how much money you have or how high of a political office you hold? Those people may seem to be powerful, but if you can dictate the parameters that those people used to understand the most foundational things about their existence, if you can dictate their views
what a human being is how they fit into the world, the vocabulary they used to think about who they are have of being able to dictate what things, even matter to them, that they then go on with their economic or political resources to pursue in this world that were true. Paralyzed Foucault. We'll talk more about this next episode.
Transcript generated on 2020-09-30.