Foucault on Nietzsche: proto-postmodernist?

Apparently there’s some kind of flustering going on whether (a) Foucault used an unpublished text by Nietzsche and (b) that he (and Derrida) called Nietzsche a “proto-postmodernist.” See Craig’s summary here entitled “a myth about Foucault.”

Craig covers the first issue. (b) is also very unlikely. Foucault was once asked whether he was a postmodernist and he demurred as he doesn’t like labels and anyway he was still trying to figure out modernity!


2 Responses

  1. I think perhaps the only way one can sensibly call Foucault and company “postmodern” is in the sense that they were responding to and reacting against the psychoanalytic establishment that was dominant in French academic/intellectual life during the 50’s and 60’s, challenging the “modernist” ideals of psychoanalysis to explain the root of human behavior and philosophic inquiry. Hopefully that made some sense?
    Even in that case, “postmodern” only describes what they all reacted against. It doesn’t say much about Foucault, Derrida and D&G themselves.

  2. I believe Foucault was retroactively placing the label of ‘proto-postmodernist’ on Nietzsche with good cause.

    He could also be referred to as the ‘proto-existentialist’ too, if one were so inclined. As Hegel could be the ‘proto-relativist’.

    Or maybe we could say these later comers from France were really ‘Post-Nietzchean’ and their essential findings were German at root.


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