To understand how subjects are constructed socially and historically in terms of power, and how they act through power on others and on themselves, but not to see this as a purely random process or activity where ‘anything goes’, or conversely, portray ethical actions in terms of fixed universal rules or specified teleological ends, constitutes the objective of this book. What a normative Foucault can offer us, I claim, is a critical ethics of the present that is well and truly beyond Kant, Hegel. and Marx, and which can guide action and conduct for the twenty-first century.
’ ( 2007 : 9). It is primarily this conception that is the focus of this chapter. Although I could garner support from a wide variety of thinkers, including Spinoza, Hume, Heidegger, Bataille, Nietzsche, and Deleuze, apart from Foucault, it is as these authors’ views are expressed in the writings of GeorgesCanguilhem, and with recourse also to François Jacob (who was also influenced by Canguilhem), that I will chiefly proceed. 2 For Nietzsche, as reason and ideology coalesce, the only basis for evaluation is related to that which supports or does not support life. This
special case of the information machine, and the information machine a
special case of the human’.12
In the 1952 essay ‘Machine and organism’, GeorgesCanguilhem introduced a
covert dig to industrialised labour in the West at the tail end of the Taylorist era,
criticising Descartes’ assimilation of humans to the machine and the devaluation of
the inanimate implied in the mechanisation of life.13 Marshall McLuhan was shortly to
caution that a new age of relativity replaced the centralism and appetite for order and
control of the Newtonian age with a ‘distributist
1911) inspired some to argue for a new vitalist theory or epistemological
approach to biology in order to address the complexities of organic life
(Hoyningen-Huene and Wuketits, 1989), while others have proposed a
vitalist-materialist ethos of life celebrating becoming and transgression
of boundaries (Deleuze, 1988; Braidotti, 2002). Moreover, inspired by the
biological and biomedical writings of French medical doctor and philosopher GeorgesCanguilhem in the 1950s and 1960s (Canguilhem, 1991,
1994), we find more cautious discussions on the ability of
time.13 Many of Daston’s contemporaries – from Davidson to Haraway – have
drawn inspirations from the writings of Michel Foucault, who was deeply
influenced by the work of GeorgesCanguilhem and Gaston Bachelard, among
other French philosophers. But before we turn to the 1960s, a crucial decade
during which French theory was creolized around the world and helped establish the conceptual foundations of what we call historical epistemology today,
let us reach further back in time to understand the earlier intellectual developments in the history and philosophy of
other forms of life and the autonomisation of artistic producers from either patrons or consumers. No doubt this focus could be referred back to the intellectual tradition from which Bourdieu’s work stems: the tradition of epistemological history in Gaston Bachelard and GeorgesCanguilhem. 28 These historians of science were concerned with those moments of coupage – or epistemological ‘breakage’ – when a scientific discipline loosed its moorings, so to speak, from the world of everyday life and became autonomous, operating with norms internal to itself. Such a
Ian Kennedy, oversight and accountability in the 1980s
, p. 600.
81 Ibid. There are traces here of Foucault’s mentor, GeorgesCanguilhem,
although Kennedy did not acknowledge him as he did Illich and
Foucault. See GeorgesCanguilhem, The Normal and the Pathological
(New York: Zone Books, 1991).
82 Ibid. Kennedy here discussed the controversy surrounding the
American Psychiatric Association’s definition of homosexuality as a
mental illness, which was overturned during the 1970s following protests by campaign groups.
83 Ibid, p. 601.
84 Ibid, p. 602.
85 Ibid, p. 603.
The making of British bioethics
Supérieure. He passed the concours for the École and entered in
1951. He completed there a Diplôme d’études supérieures [diploma of higher
study] under the supervision of Henri Gouhier. He secured his agrégation at
the first attempt (Lescourret, 2008, 62). He graduated at the end of 1953.
Deciding not to remain at the École for a further year of research, he took
up a post as Professor of Philosophy at the lycée Théodore-de-Bainville in
Moulins in the Bourbonnais. During this period he registered to undertake
doctoral research under the supervision of GeorgesCanguilhem
opposed such prescriptive approaches. Nonetheless, I believe it fruitful to extend his approach in this direction, because I consider it a weakness of the Foucauldian approach as popularly understood. In this, I confess that my approach to Foucault is one of rendering him coherent in terms of ontological, epistemological, and normative commitments. The seeds of such an approach are, I believe, located in Foucault’s later work, especially his forays into life philosophy, as for example in the introduction he wrote to GeorgeCanguilhem’s book, The Normal and the
In its contributions to the study of material social differences, queer theoretical writing has mostly assumed that any ideas which embody 'difference' are valuable. More than this, where it is invoked in contemporary theory, queerness is often imagined as synonymous with difference itself. This book uncovers an alternative history in queer cultural representation. Through engagement with works from a range of queer literary genres from across the long twentieth century – fin-de-siècle aestheticism, feminist speculative fiction, lesbian middle-brow writing, and the tradition of the stud file – the book elucidates a number of formal and thematic attachments to ideas that have been denigrated in queer theory for their embodiment of sameness: uselessness, normativity, reproduction and reductionism. Exploring attachments to these ideas in queer culture is also the occasion for a broader theoretical intervention: Same Old suggests, counterintuitively, that the aversion they inspire may be of a piece with how homosexuality has been denigrated in the modern West as a misguided orientation towards sameness. Combining queer cultural and literary history, sensitive close readings and detailed genealogies of theoretical concepts, Same Old encourages a fundamental rethinking of some of the defining positions in queer thought.