ISSN 1392–1274. PROBLEMOS 2009 75
Power, History and Genealogy: Friedrich Nietzsche and Michel Foucault
Andrius Bielskis ISM Vadybos ir ekonomikos universitetas Arklių g. 18, LT-01129 Vilnius El. paštas: [email protected]
The essay explores Friedrich Nietzsche’s and Michel Foucault’s accounts of genealogy. It argues that ge- nealogy sees human history not in terms of events, battles and wars (i.e. through empirical facts), but in terms of discursive regimes and practices which form our subjectivity. The link between knowledge/ truth and power plays crucial role in both Nietzsche’s and Foucault’s accounts of genealogy. Foucault’s notion of dispositive (the regime of intelligibility) serves as a key concept in his approach to history. The Nietzschean idea of the will to power is transformed into the idea of strategies of relations of forces sup- porting and supported by types of knowledge. The essay concludes that Foucault’s genealogy reduces meaning to power relations. It argues that in Foucault’s thought human history is intelligible not because of its inner meaning, but because knowledge and discourses, which play a key role in human history, are understood in terms of tactics and strategies. Keywords: genealogy, philosophy of history, power, discourse.
Introduction peace to be another form of war. The state of nature and “war of all against all” argument The essay aims to address a genealogical for Hobbes was an excuse to propose the approach to history originated by Friedrich necessity of the strong sovereign state to Nietzsche and further advanced by Michel guarantee peace and order. Nietzsche’s and Foucault. At the core of their conception Foucault’s genealogical projects transform there is a specific genealogical notion of and go beyond the modern understanding power. Michel Foucault has once claimed of power as embodied in the sovereign that power is a sort of generalized war state. Foucault, for example, claimed that which takes the forms of peace and the state in political theory the king’s head should and that “[p]eace would then be a form of still be cut off (Foucault 2002). Thus the war, and the state a means of waging it” issue I want to explore are, first of all, (Foucault 2002: 124). To conceptualise some of the reasons for this transformation, peace in terms of war and the sate as a and then what Nietzsche’s and Foucault’s means to wage war points to a radical projects of genealogy are about as well as break in the way we see social and political how their accounts of power influenced relationships. Even Thomas Hobbes, who the specific genealogical understanding argued that life in the sate of nature was of history. Thus Nietzsche’s thought in the “nasty, brutish, and short”, did not consider On the Genealogy of Morality will be set
73 up as the philosophical background against with Nietzsche and Foucault. At the end of which Foucault’s conception of history will nineteen century, and certainly in the second be explored. The underlying idea of the part of twentieth century, a relatively new essay is that Foucault’s approach to his- philosophical concept of power occurs, first tory and social reality is mediated through in Nietzsche’s thought and then it reoccurs the Nietzschean conception of power. This in the thought of Jacques Derrida, Gilles conception of power as intimately linked Deleuze and Michel Foucault. Power starts to discourse, so I will argue, determines to play a significant role in understanding Foucault’s specific non-foundational ap- ourselves as well as our history (Bielskis proach to history. 2005). However, it was Nietzsche who so explicitly constructed his philosophical Modernity and Power arguments upon the concept of power. I want to argue that the notion of power in It would be almost a truism to say that the Nietzsche’s thought could be seen as the way we approach history depends on what questions we pose. These underlying ques- first principle (orpremise ) which structured tions can be seen as our premises – they de- his philosophical approach to the past. termine not only our approach to a specific Commenting on Nietzsche’s dictum historical event but also, at least to a certain “God is dead”, Heidegger argues that it extent, the content of our historical narra- does not express either Nietzsche’s pre- tive. R. G. Collingwood in his celebrated An philosophical opinion or his personal Autobiography argued that it is impossible disbelief in God. Rather than being only to understand historical texts without posing the reflection of Nietzsche’s atheism or an right questions – we have to find a question attack on the ordinary Christian believers, that an author was trying to answer him/ God is understood as a supra-sensory and herself. It is important to note, however, universal world of ideas (Heidegger 1977: that the questions we pose to historical 61). When Nietzsche writes about the death texts are not simply determined by our par- of God he has in mind the entire tradition ticular arbitrary views (even though it often of Western metaphysics which starts with happens); rather these views are inherited Plato’s postulation of the supra-sensory from and are linked to our worldview and being. “God” here means the postulation traditions (Collingwood 1978). Our views of the Supreme Being and absolute Truth, of the past are always mediated through i.e. everything which transcends the imma- our cultural background. Of course, this nent world of becoming. Heidegger argues does not mean that our ways of analysing that this theocentric worldview, which had history are narrowly limited by our culture. dominated at least up until the seventeenth For one thing – culture is never homog- century, starts to change with the beginning enous. Rather cultural values, traditions of modern philosophy. With Pico della Mi- and practices are linked to and dependent randolla, Rene Descartes, Thomas Hobbes, on different theories, narratives and domi- the modern notion of man’s emancipation nant discourses. This is certainly the case gradually takes place. Since the Cartesian
74 cogito ergo sum, man detaches from the Nietzsche expresses this in saying: “the world by self-determining reason; he puts highest values are devaluing themselves” himself in front of everything that is: “Man (Nietzsche 1968: §1). All that is left today becomes that being upon which all that is our willingness to embrace growth and is, is grounded as regards the manner of empowerment for its own sake. its Being and its truth. Man becomes the relational centre of that which is as such” Nietzsche’s genealogy (ibid., 128). It is against this background that Nietzsche’s Algis Mickunas argued that this modern genealogy is to be understood. In On the setup meant at least two things. First of all, Genealogy of Morality Nietzsche starts his humans cease to have a fixed nature given genealogical project with his claim that we in advanced; second, man becomes the have to refuse the search for the founda- source of all values and laws and is now tion of morality. All previous philosophers free to reshape the world in accordance to were trying rationally to prove morality one’s desires (Micuknas 1986: 2–5). These while the very value of morality as such modern ideas reach their culmination in was never questioned (Nietzsche 1966: 97). th Karl Marx’s philosophy when in the 11 Instead, genealogy has to question the very thesis on Feuerbach Marx, feeling the value of morality by asking what purpose weight of the unjust concentration of social, it serves. In order to do this it is necessary economic and political power claims that to look back at history. Indeed, the idea of the purpose of philosophy is not merely to questioning morality itself is already histori- understand the world but to change it. Thus cal. Through studying history we can gain Nietzsche’s “God is dead” refers to the a comparative perspective which allowing modern notion of power as well – only the us to understand the development of moral- will to power as the essential characteristic ity, and thus uncover its “true” face. Thus of modernity is the murder of God. “God genealogy has to collect and study different is dead” means the inevitable exhaustion of cases, conceptualize different human feel- the transcendent world and the certainty of ings and our perceptions of different values, metaphysical principles and absolute moral and then give an account of the dominant values. This also indicated the end of our forms of the reoccurring values. Nietzsche belief in the objective truth. Power, from the calls it a typology of morality. At first glance very start an intrinsic feature of modernity, it may seem that genealogy is a descriptive can no longer be hidden under the disguise practice which presupposes a “scientific” of progress, truth and reason. Therefore approach toward history. However, Ni- power, at least the way it is conceptualised etzsche emphatically states that genealogy in European philosophical tradition, goes is not a science of morality – only the term hand in hand with the gradual loss of tran- “would offend good taste” (ibid.). Further- scendence. Nothing outside man can any more, genealogy is not a traditional histori- longer be valid. Even the values created by cal enquiry as it requires a certain amount the modern man will be overcome in future. of philosophical education and the innate
75 faculty of psychology (Nietzsche 1910: 4). preservation of the herd. Nietzsche claims In a moment of openness Nietzsche claims that the latter has been useful for biological that since he was a child, he was very scepti- purposes – it has enabled the survival of the cal about traditional explanations of good many rather than a few noble, creative and and evil, and he therefore created his own mentally strong individuals. The spirit of interpretation: “I gave quite properly the ressentiment was first institutionalised with honour to God, and made him the father of Jewish-Christian morality which gradually evil” (ibid.). It would not be an exaggera- reversed aristocratic values upside down. tion to claim that this early answer, which While the aristocratic morality of good he himself called “my a priori”, guided vs. bad was the morality of the strong and Nietzsche throughout all his creative life. the noble, i.e. those who were masters and This was also the case as far as Nietzsche’s warriors, people who had enough courage mature work, especially On the Genealogy to prefer war to peace, Jewish-Christian of Morality, is concerned: genealogy is a morality proclaimed pity, humility, love description of the past led by his a priori – and obedience to God. Instead of aiming a disbelief of the very value of morality. at being masters and those who dominate The main question that genealogy raises they condemned the morality of the noble: is: Under what condition did people invent “the poor, the weak, the lowly, are alone judgement and values about “good” and the good; the suffering, the needy, the sick, “evil”? It is important to note that when the loathsome, are the only ones who are Nietzsche poses the question, he already pious, the only ones who are blessed, for knows what he wants to find out. His them alone is salvation” (Nietzsche 1910: a priori forms Nietzsche’s questions which 30). Nietzsche argues that ressentiment is in turn lead his specific genealogical inquiry pure jealousy and a secret counterattack into the past – history has to be seen through against the strong, those who were noble as the notion of power. well as powerful. The spirit of jealousy and Through questioning the value and origin anguish, according to Nietzsche, creates the of morality Nietzsche provides two distinc- values of benevolence, pity and fear of God. tions: good vs. evil and good vs. bad. The This is the essence of ressentiment – it is a first one is a metaphysical distinction of reactive power which starts to create values, traditional morality, and refers to absolute values of the spiteful weak. Christian mo- categories such as God, divine benevo- rality transforms hate into love, noble and lence, love, pity versus evil, egoism, greed, good into evil and shameful; the morality gluttony, cruelty, etc. He attempts to show of love, humility and equality oppresses the that these distinctions have no universal strong and their will to power. validity. Nietzsche argues that traditional My aim here is not to assess Nietzsche’s Jewish-Christian morality (1) was born claims on ressentiment and the origin of out of ressentiment – a secret spiritual Christian morality, the claims which are revenge against the world – and (2) the neither philosophically convincing nor subjugation of the strong serves for the historically accurate. Rather I want to draw
76 our attention to the fact that Nietzsche’s the oppressiveness of Christian morality, a genealogical analysis, as a specific mode progress of some sort is possible. Thus the of historical enquiry, later became so in- announcement “God is dead” is deeply his- fluential to Michel Foucault. What they torical as well: it refers to the past and stands disclose us is not so much the idea that as a threshold for the future – to overcome morality is historical and that a variety of the horizon of traditional morality, become its transformations is inevitable, but the open to spontaneity embracing desire for genealogical notion that morality is like an life. It teaches us how to embrace the active empty shell which can be filled with differ- will to power as the only principle of life. ent substances. Genealogy looks at social Although the eternal return can be inter- phenomena not in terms of their content preted in terms of Nietzsche’s historicism, (values, principles, beliefs), although it is i.e. as referring to the circular conception certainly important, but in terms of dif- of history, a more convincing interpretation ferent functions it serves within a given seems to be a moral-ontological one1. That institutional power network. is to say, in order to make an unbearable This is precisely how Nietzsche in- being lighter we have to imagine that all terprets Christian morality as well. In the things and events in our life will return again preface of Beyond Good and Evil he claims and again. Our ability to imagine so would that Christian morality – “Platonism for the enable us to look at our lives form outside people” – has created “a magnificent tension and, hopefully, encourage us to overcome of the spirit” which resulted in what is now the difficulties in our lives. If my life is go- European civilization which now should ing to repeat again and again, then either serve as a threshold for our creativity and I make sure that I am able take delight in further development (Nietzsche 1966: 3). every moment of my life, especially the Without it, Europe probably would still live most unbearable ones, or else my life is not worth living. It is in this sense that Gilles relatively primitive lives. Nietzsche’s gene- Deleuze claimed that reactive-life – the life alogy seeks not merely to criticize the “old” of the weak – has no being and thus eternal morality, but also to show that it served a return applies only to the strong: “[t]he set of functions which were necessary for eternal return teaches us that becoming- the development of humankind. Morality reactive has no being” (Deleuze 1983: 72). through “the narrowing of our perspec- Nietzsche’s claims are far more ambitious tive” structures and disciplines people’s than they may seem at first. War and conflict behaviour in order to guarantee “biologi- are welcomed not for their own sake but cal” needs of humans; it also structures and as a means to strengthen us and encourage foster their development (ibid., 102). That further development. The literary figure of is why genealogy has to document and de- the Übermensch is a person who welcomes scribe this process and in so doing enable conflict and tragedy and is able freely to us to see what we have become and where we are. Furthermore, Nietzsche claims that 1 I follow Gilles Deleuze’s interpretation of the only because of this tension, created by eternal return in his Nietzsche et la philosophie (1962).
77 create his/her life without any metaphysical interesting. Ever since his early intellectual limitation and pre-given morality. In Gay engagements in his doctoral thesis Madness Science, paragraph 290, Nietzsche argues and Insanity (1961) he was interested in that humans have to retrieve their pride and the history of thought rather than history of courage to form themselves as artists. Hu- political events (the title of his position at manity is a project which always has to be Collège de France was Professor of History in a process of constant creation. Nietzsche of Systems of Thought). Nevertheless, the writes about those exceptional humans – history of thought for Foucault was not the “free spirits” – who are able to face the same as the history of ideas. According to truth and uncover the erroneousness of the Foucault, the history of ideas aims at find- world (Nietzsche 1966: 45). Genealogy then ing genesis and continuity, and thus always has to question the very foundations of the appears as a totalizing quasi-historical disci- traditional understanding of knowledge – pline. It is too interpretative, too elusive and our belief in truth, for “it is no more than it tries to grasp the very essence of author’s a moral prejudice that truth is worth more thought by providing an interpretation of the than appearance” (ibid., 46). Furthermore, meaning of a text (Foucault 1972: 135–140). even the world which surrounds us why, Thus Foucault criticized the history of ideas asks Nietzsche, could not it be a fiction? for at three reasons. First of all, it seeks to (ibid., 47). “return to innermost secret of origin” by Here the following question arises: How uncovering the meaning of past discourse; can Nietzsche claim to uncover the “deep- second, it has a totalizing character; third, est” truth about the “erroneousness” of it is interpretative, unsystematic and far too the world, if our knowledge of the world “allegorical” (ibid., 140). For the similar consists only of a set of different perspec- reasons Foucault criticized and distanced tives of the will to power? Is not his claim himself from hermeneutics as well. In Truth self-refuting? I would like to bear these and Method H. G. Gadamer argues that in questions in mind for they are equally im- order to understand an historical text some portant vis-à-vis Foucault’s genealogical continuity between the past and the present project as well. At the same time it will help is unavoidable; hence the importance of us to understand the relations between truth tradition for hermeneutics (Bielskis 2008). and power. A text without tradition enabling “sharing in a common meaning” would be completely Foucault’s genealogy alien to us, and thus an understanding of it It is at this point that our discussion on would not be possible. Common meanings, Foucault’s historical enquiry and, more according to Gadamer, are not given, but specifically, genealogy, can be set. From are created through our participation in the his early carrier Foucault’s preoccupation reinterpretation of tradition. Tradition is with history was untraditional. First of all, the active fusion of horizons, present and he did not consider the traditional histori- past, and thus history appears as a process cal analysis of political and social events of interconnected traditions and meanings
78 (Gadamer 1989). This, however, is exactly phenomenon of power, rather than anything what Foucault does not wish to accept. He else, that the world and our history should disagrees that history is a continuous flow be approached. It is plausible to suggest that of meaning. What interests him is not the Foucault’s detailed empirical analysis – the meaning of discourse, but rather the fact that meticulous description of historical manu- discourses can be studied in terms of prac- scripts, empirical facts, petty malice – was tices which are structured by certain rules also guided by this belief. That is, there is no as well as how structural changes in these “deep” or “lofty” meaning behind historical discursive practices are possible (Foucault discourses/texts, thus we should approach 1972: 138). Following Nietzsche, Foucault them through the concept of power. claims that meaning and truth, Truth with How does power enable Foucault to see capital “T”, is but a fiction based on the history? Furthermore, how does it differ metaphysical assumption about sovereign, form Nietzsche’s views? “What is found at autonomous reason. It is precisely this the historical beginning of things is not the metaphysical conception of truth which a inviolable identity of their origin; it is the genealogist should aim to deconstruct. dissension of other things. It is disparity” It is at this point that the Collingwoodian (Foucault 1986: 79). If in late modernity issue raised above becomes important. all fixed meanings and absolute identities Similarly to Nietzsche, Foucault “a priori” loose their credibility, then it is no longer question seems not to be “What are the possible to think, according to Foucault, that conditions for a given discourse to be true things at their moment of birth appear in or false?” Rather the question is “What are their greater perfection (ibid.). An example the functions, tactics and strategies which of this is Foucault’s argument that Nietzsche the internal structure and content of a given with his genealogy does not search for the (historical) discourse serves within a given origins of morality. Even if, for example, institutional power network?” Thus the ressentiment could be understood as the distinction between power and meaning true origin of Christian morality, geneal- becomes important in this context. That is ogy aims to show that there is no stable to say, it is within this distinction between “shadowless” origin as form their begin- power and meaning that I read Nietzsche’s ning “things are lowly” (ibid.). History has and Foucault’s genealogical enquiries2. no meaning, and its development is due to Instead of trying to grasp the meaning of a play of power, forces and chance. But if an historical discourse (text), Foucault it so, then our analysis, so Foucault argues, approaches it through power, strategies, has to concentrate on real bodily things. If rules, and tactics which in themselves, as the origin of these things is not meaning, he claimed, have no meaning. It seems that both Nietzsche and Foucault shared determined by “higher” and “noble” rea- the underlying belief that it is through the sons, genealogy has to analyze accidental purposeless events, weaknesses, errors, that is, every small thing, which contributes to 2 For a more detailed discussion on the distinction between power and meaning see Bielskis 2005, chapter 4. determining events and discourses. Here
79 Foucault follows Nietzsche who believed etc. On the other hand, power as a multiform that our moral codes and principles origi- phenomenon should also be understood nated from our weakness (i.e. the weakness beyond juridical-political discourse. The of the many). On the other hand, there is a sovereign state and its legal system is not the fundamental difference between Nietzsche’s only embodiment of power, thus Foucault and Foucault’s conceptions of power. For urged political theorists to “conceive <...> Foucault power is decentralized and exer- power without the king” (Foucault 1978: cised in a multiplicity of institutional power 90). Power for Foucault was not just about networks (asylums, hospitals, prisons, battles, revolutions, wars waged by, against schools, universities, etc.), whereas Ni- or in the name of the state; it was also linked etzsche sees power more from an individual to discourse, knowledge and a variety of will’s point of view. For Foucault history is “regimes of truth”. the development of competing power struc- In The History of Sexuality Foucault tures, whereas for Nietzsche it is the play shows how sex in the nineteenth and twen- of conflicting wills. Nonetheless, for both tieth centuries for the first time becomes of them history means the realm of power entwined with a set of discursive practices. struggles and the different institutional In the early twentieth century people start to structures of subjugation. But if Foucault discuss, conceptualize and problematize sex does not accept Nietzschean voluntarism, and so for the first time it became a part of how does he understand power? science, medicine and psychology. Through During Foucault’s intellectual journey this a new type of normalizing practices and his views on power had changed sig- technologies occur: now everything which nificantly. The main change was that in his concerns sex and sexuality have to be in- later work Foucault refused to see power cluded into scientific and pseudoscientific in purely negative terms, that is, power as discourse (Foucault 1978). A number of the source of oppression and subjugation. classifications of different perversions, the Foucault claimed that this change came separation of boys from girls at schools, the through the process of rereading Nietzsche. application of hygienic norms, etc. were the Foucault did not conceptualized power in result of these changes. The point Foucault terms of individual/collective will or in makes is that the exponential growth of terms of (individual, group or class) inter- discourse on sex constructs rather than op- ests (Foucault 1980: 188). Rather, he saw presses our sexuality. Power reveals itself power as a multiform phenomenon which through the normalizing process; it creates reveals itself through a variety of strategies discourse of sexuality which controls and and tactics. Foucault refused to see power forms sexual behaviour. It is in this sense only dialectically, i.e. in terms of the con- that Foucault can claim that even the sexual flict between those who dominate and those liberation of 1970s is one of modern crea- who are dominated. Instead power spreads tive strategies through which the phenom- and extends throughout the entire social enon of power reveals itself. The form of body – family life, sexuality, production, this power is best summarized in Foucault’s
80 accurate sound-bite – “get undressed, but the history of these strategies and tactics be slim, good-looking, tanned!” (Foucault through the historical analysis of discursive 1980: 57). regimes and practices which constitute our If Foucault’s genealogy is based on the cultural. We study history in order to see link between power and discourse/knowl- what forms, constructs and controls us. edge, how should we interpret the status of Only then, so Foucault argues, is it possible discourse? If there is no deeper meaning to speak about human freedom. (Foucault quotes Nietzsche: “since a mon- In the essay What is Enlightenment? key stands at the entrance”) and if we take Foucault reinterprets Kant’s understanding for granted that power is all that matters, of the Enlightenment. Foucault argues that we have to approach a discourse (text) as it is necessary to step beyond the “blackmail a regime (Foucault 1986: 79). Foucault’s of Enlightenment”, i.e. to be for or against it invents a terms for that – “the regime of (Foucault 1986: 42). That is to say, Foucault intelligibility” (dispositive) – and claims neither denies the Enlightenment’s rational- that it aims to conceptualize “strategies ism nor uncritically approves it. Kant un- of relations of forces supporting, and sup- derstood the Enlightenment as intellectual ported by, types of knowledge” (Foucault and moral maturity, on the one hand, and 1980: 196). This, however, does not mean a break with “immature” tradition, on the that a text is the discursive regime. Rather it other hand. From here Foucault concludes refers to a wider understanding of relations that the Enlightenment, as a critical reason between power and dominant discourse. calling for autonomy, was an historical Discourse is always linked to power, be- enquiry, that is, our maturity is possible cause it structures people’s relations, atti- through the rigorous critique of the past. tudes, identities and thinking. The notion of However, Kant understood autonomy in regime of intelligibility allows Foucault to absolute terms and it was certainly not his- argue that discourses and their meanings are torical. This is exactly what Foucault does transparent. This is so because power, which not accept. Rationality and autonomy are reveals itself through strategies and tactics, always historically determined. However, is intelligible and rational. At the same time Foucault takes for granted Kant’s concep- this is the reason why we can and indeed do tion of critique without, however, accepting understand history. If there is no a deeply the universal conditions of our knowledge concealed meaning of the history of human postulated by Kant. History cannot and existence it does not mean that history is ab- should not be criticised from outside; rather surd. Even if it is meaningless, it is coherent the aim is to push its frontiers down (ibid., and intelligible precisely because struggles 45). But if there is no autonomous disem- and tactics are intelligible (Foucault 1986: bodied reason (reason as the transcenden- 56). It is impossible to understand his- tal consciousness), it does not mean that tory through the interpretation of its inner rationality is not possible. Genealogy is meaning which for a genealogist consists of rational in its attempt to see the constitution strategies and tactics. Genealogy explores of our knowledge and discourses without
81 stepping outside the transcendental subject a creative tension between resistance and (ibid., 59). It is a modest historical enquiry creation of new power relations. Truth and (“philosophical ethos”) which aims at freedom encourage and bring change. It is understanding our limitations. It is an his- the process of going forward. Here Foucault torical self-understanding of what we have follows Nietzsche: truth for Nietzsche become and what we are: it is the historical is a faculty which strengthens power. ontology of ourselves (ibid., 351). What is Therefore neither Nietzsche nor Foucault being for Foucault if, following Heidegger, is self-refuting. Nietzsche can claim “the we agree that ontology is thinking of being? truth” about the erroneousness of the world Here he is in agreement with Nietzsche – because truth has to serve power, and the being is power. Hence genealogy is an world was “erroneous” precisely because historical enquiry into the relationships of it oppressed the active will to power. For power networks and their discourses. It is Nietzsche truth then is the cognitive faculty also a critical enquiry as there are no power due to which the will to power expresses relations without resistance (Foucault 1980: itself. Genealogy then is an historical en- 142). Not being part of power, resistance is quiry which documents all those discursive not something entirely outside power rela- practices and power structures which op- tions either as it is impossible to abandon all press the will to power. Genealogy is also power relations. Hence as long as discourse rational – it enables a critical and historical and power are closely linked, genealogy interrogation of ourselves (i.e. what we have appears as a micro resistance to the current been made) which has a twofold structure: power structures and discursive regimes. It to realize what forms and controls us and aims at grasping “the point where change to resist the power relations hoping for a is possible and desirable” (Foucault 1986: desirable change. 46). Genealogy enables freedom which, for Foucault, is possible through a constant Conclusion micro resistance as it opens a space for new, Disenchantment of the world, as Max We- desirable, power relations. ber called it, has gradually led to the loss Where does “truth” come in this equa- of meaning in modern times. Nature and tion? Truth is possible only due to power things loose fixed intrinsic meaning. Things relations for without power it would be are worthy because they are useful and are merely a fiction. Truth cannot exist in open to our manipulation. Nietzsche and vacuum, outside all power relationships. Foucault portray this situation: power is All truth claims, so a genealogist would the only tangible and desirable thing in the claim, are always embedded within a set twilight of traditional meaning. of power networks and it is partly because Genealogy for both Nietzsche and Foucault of this that those truth claims are important is the historical philosophy of power. Not only for us. However, truth as a cognitive faculty does it analyze power relations and networks of critical reasoning is linked to micro- but it also serves them. One of the differ resistance as well. Truth then appears as ences between Nietzsche’s and Foucault’s
82 genealogical projects stems partly from their to question our premises and beliefs. Such different socio-cultural contexts. Within the intellectual ethos can be sustained only context of the late 19th century Romanticism through an open Socratic dialogue when Nietzsche’s conception of power is rather everyone makes an effort to understand the elitist. Foucault context is different: democ- arguments of the other. This willingness racy and the expansion of bureaucracy lead to communicate seems to be the only way Foucault to conceptualize power in terms of to preserve meaning. Meaning is neither decentred power networks, strategies and given nor is it a tradition. To see meaning tactics. For Nietzsche the death of God is the only as a tradition will hardly lead to com- result of the active will to power, in Foucault’s munication between different traditions. case the discontinuities of discursive regimes Meaning is the will – not to power – but to and power strategies enable him to conclude empathy. In this sense both Nietzsche and the death of subject. Foucault are wrong – the social world is not If we agree that humanity, as Nietzsche only about power relations, it is also about claims, is a project, and if truth and mean- human solidarity and empathy. Indeed, to ing are perspectival and take form of transcend the post-modern obsession with different interpretations, then what really power should be a new horizon of critical matters is intellectual honesty – our ability philosophical enquiry.
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83 Galia, istorija ir genealogija: Friedrichas Nietzsche ir Michelis Foucault Andrius Bielskis Santrauka Straipsnyje aptariamos Friedricho Nietzsche’s ir jama į pažinimo tipais grindžiamą ir besiremiančią Michelio Foucault genealogijos sampratos. Teigia- galios santykių strategijų idėją. Daroma išvada, jog ma, kad genealogija gilinasi į istoriją ne dėl įvykių, Foucault genealogija redukuoja prasmę į galios san- mūšių ir karų aprašymo, bet dėl diskursyvių režimų tykius. Taip pat teigiama, kad Foucault sampratoje ir praktikų, kurios formuoja mūsų tapatybę. Glaudus istorija yra pažini ne dėl jos vidinio prasmingumo, bet pažinimo/tiesos bei galios saitas yra esminis tiek dėl to, jog žinios ir diskursyvios praktikos, būdamos Nietzsche’s, tiek Foucault genealogijai. Foucault dis- esminės istorijos vyksmo procesui, yra suvokiamos positive (suprantamumo režimas) yra viena iš esminių kaip taktikos ir strategijos. sąvokų tiek istoriškumo sampratai, tiek studijuojant Pagrindiniai žodžiai: genealogija, istorijos filo- pačią istoriją. Nyčiška valios galiai idėja transformuo- sofija, galia, diskursas.
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