Was Foucault’s work scientific?

A Road in Fog wants to know and makes the case that Foucault’s anti-sciences were themselves remarkably like sciences.

However, at the same time, he makes the radical assertion that in order to oppose “the tyranny of globalizing discourses,” we should set about kinds of knowledge which don’t have such characteristics as abstraction, unity, hierarchy, and formality, the kinds he explicitly calls “anti-sciences.” My main issue with this conclusion is that the way in which the prescribed anti-sciences are different from the original sciences are not sociopolitical, but rather, methodological. In what, if not in methods, concepts and consequently contents, will these genealogies be distinct from regular sciences when their sole requirement is being systematically unscientific?


One Response

  1. A Road in Fog is quite right to notice how ironic this position of Foucault’s is. Foucault aspires construct and inspire a set of genealogies which oppose “the tyranny of globalizing discourses,” but yet neglects to mention that this aspiration could almost be taken as a definition for science itself. What is unique about science as a cultural form is that it has found a way of paradoxically institutionalizing revolution. In fact the whole goal of science is to overthrow the previously held worldview with an utterly new theory or experimental finding. Science certainly gives rise to negative sociopolitical effects, but that is at least in part due to the fact that it too can be used as an opiate (quite literally in the case of pharmacology) of the masses, just as religion has in the past. More on this here:


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