Lyotard, Foucault, and "Philosophical Politics"

Prof. Fred Evans
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In order to avoid repeating the type of totalizing systems they criticize, Lyotard and Foucault restrict their "philosophical politics" (Lyotard's term) to negating totalities and valorizing only the most indeterminate bases for political judgments: "bearing witness to difference" for Lyotard and "giving new impetus to... the undefined work of freedom" for Foucault. I argue that these indeterminate principles lead to unacceptable political consequences. These consequences can be overcome, however, by reformulating Lyotard's and Foucault's characterizations of society in terms of the notion of a "multi-voiced body" and Mikhail Bakhtin's concept of "hybridization". Besides precluding the unacceptable consequences of Lyotard's and Foucault's philosophical politics, this reformulation avoids any commitment to the constricting metanarratives that Lyotard, Foucault, and other postmodernists repudiate.

Keywords: Foucault, Lyotard, Philosophical Politics, Bakhtin, Multi-Voiced Body.
Stream: Philosophy, Ethics, Consciousness, Political Science, Politics
Presentation Type: Workshop Presentation in English
Paper: Lyotard, Foucault, and “Philosophical Politics”

Prof. Fred Evans

Professor, Dept. of Philosophy, Duquesne University

Fred Evans is Professor of Philosophy and Coordinator for the Center of Interpretive and Qualitative Research at Duquesne University. He is the author of "Psychology and Nihilism: A Genealogical Critique of the Computational Model of Mind" (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1993) and co-editor of "Chiasms: Merleau-Ponty's Notion of 'Flesh'" (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2000). He has published articles on a number of continental thinkers in relation to issues concerning psychology, politics, and technology. He is currently working on another book, "The Multi-Voiced Body: Society, Communication, and the Age of Diversity".

Ref: H05P0760