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davobrosia
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#101
07-19-2011
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davobrosia
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#102
07-19-2011
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Ben Kingsley, the finest philosopher of our time.
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#103
07-19-2011
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could you elaborate on the meaning davo? i dont quite seem to get it and i feel you could explain far better than a google search.



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#104
07-19-2011
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I was gonna say, davo, you of anyone on this forum should know the furthest progressions of philosophy. He and who else would you recommend? I don't exactly have the time to read a book or anything, but do you have excerpts from people like him or 2 or so others?
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#105
07-19-2011
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Well, seeing as OP is impotent, I don't mind derailing this thread. Not that I'd mind anyway, since it was a bad thread to begin with.

The Foucauldian (Althusserian and Butlerian also, on respective sides of him historically) point would be that we are not free agents--our subjecthood is contingent. Further, every identity is performed, but not necessarily chosen. We're always restricted by our systems of representation and the power relations that govern them. Foucault really dismisses the notion of a subject, for the most part; there is no agency, only power. And this isn't necessarily power in the sense of repressive; indeed, it always simultaneously produces subjects (this is where Foucault draws on Althusser, his teacher). There's no ontological, fixed position of power, instead it's all in the systems of power relations.

This is mostly a summary Discipline and Punish, a good starting point for Foucault. In it, he shows that conversations about mental illness (expanded in an earlier work, Birth of the Clinic) and criminality, that is, discourse about mores and taboos, are not just about identifying who is good, who is bad, and so on. These discussions produce the very ways in which we understand subjects. To oversimplify and compound some of Foucault's other work: before we had a concept of schizophrenia, we had village idiots, for example; before we had a social concept of pedophilia distinct from homosexuality, they were conflated. This distinction structured power relations between subjects. A statement like, "those people are evil and should be stopped/murdered/'liberated'" implies a power relation that interpellates both the subject and whoever might make such a statement.


Here are some important quotes from The History of Sexuality:
Quote:
Power must be understood in the first instance as the multiplicity of force relations immanent in the sphere in which they operate and which constitute their own organization: as the process which, through ceaseless struggle and confrontations, transforms, strengthens, or even reverses them; as the support which these force relations find in one another, thus forming a chain or a system, or on the contrary, the disjunctions and contradictions which isolate them from one another; and lastly, as the strategies in which they take effect, whose general design or institutional crystallization is embodied in the state apparatus, in the formulation of the law, in the various social hegemonies.
Quote:
[An understanding of power] must not be sought in a unique source of sovereignty from which secondary and descendent forms would emanate; it is the moving substrate of force relations which, by virtue of their inequality, constantly engender states of power, but the later are always local and unstable….Power is everywhere not because it embraces everything, but because it comes from everywhere. And “Power,” insofar as it is permanent, repetitious, inert, and self-reproducing, is simply the over-all effect that emerges from all these mobilities, the concatenation that rests on each of them and seeks in turn to arrest their movement …power is not an institution, and not a structure; neither is it a certain strength we are endowed with; it is the name that one attributes to a complex strategical situation in a particular society.
Basically, every social relation can be coded (read) in terms of power. Even e.g., science, ethics, and maths, to name a few, are socially situated fields of discourse and as such can be read in terms of power relations. It is everywhere, but that is not necessarily a bad thing.


That said, moral relativism in this sense is not so much saying "all mores are equally valid and good," but instead simply providing a framework within which we can trace the inherent power structures and better evaluate the conclusions.


From Foucault, you can leap into Deleuze, or Butler, or work backwards to Bataille and Althusser. All are great, but all are challenging reads. I can help.
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Last edited by davobrosia; 07-19-2011 at 11:39 PM.
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#106
07-21-2011
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More on power:

http://www.vanderbilt.edu/historydep...lt%20Interview

Quote:
Power is anything that tends to render immobile and untouchable those things that are offered to us as real, as true, as good.
Quote:
Power should not be understood as an oppressive system bearing down on individuals from above, smiting them with prohibitions of this or that. Power is a set of relations. What does it mean to exercise power? It does not mean picking up this tape recorder and throwing it on the ground. I have the capacity to do so—materially, physically, sportively. But I would not be exercising power if I did that. However, if I take this tape recorder and throw it on the ground in order to make you mad, or so that you can’t repeat what I’ve said, or to put pressure on you so that you’ll behave in such and such a way, or to intimidate you—well, what I’ve done, by shaping your behavior through certain means, that is power.
Which is to say that power is a relation between two persons, a relation that is not on the same order as communication (even if you are forced to serve as my instrument of communication). It’s not the same thing as telling you “The weather’s nice,” or “I was born on such and such a date.”
Good. I exercise power over you: I influence your behavior, or I try to do so. And I try to guide your behavior, to lead your behavior. The simplest means of doing this, obviously, is to take you by the hand and force you to go here or there. That’s the limit case, the zero-degree of power. And it’s actually in that moment that power ceases to be power and becomes mere physical force. On the other hand, if I use my age, my social position, the knowledge I may have about this or that, to make you behave in some particular way—that is to say, I’m not forcing you at all and I’m leaving you completely free—that’s when I begin to exercise power. It’s clear that power should not be defined as a constraining act of violence that represses individuals, forcing them to do something or preventing them from doing some other thing. But it takes place when there is a relation between two free subjects, and this relation is unbalanced, so that one can act upon the other, and the other is acted upon, or allows himself to be acted upon.
Therefore, power is not always repressive. It can take a certain number of forms. And it is possible to have relations of power that are open.
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#107
07-22-2011
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Man, OP sure jumped ship on this thread.
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#108
07-23-2011
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Originally Posted by davobrosia View Post
Ben Kingsley, the finest philosopher of our time.



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#109
07-23-2011
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Originally Posted by davobrosia View Post
Man, OP sure jumped ship on this thread.
Let's be honest, it was sinking from the get-go.
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#110
08-11-2011
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Originally Posted by davobrosia View Post
Morality is obviously not relative to a particular individual. Bam. Checkmate. F on the final.
 

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