[eDebate] in defense of the jon sharp video

Old Strega oldstrega
Sun Jun 28 20:11:35 CDT 2009


edebate's pissboy needs reprieve from iran.
i read his c-x forum critique of the jon sharp lecture on biopolitics.   the link he provided to edebate is here:
http://www.cross-x.com/vb/showthread.php?t=992958 

i found the sharp video well above average for handling foucault as a topic of debating (infinitely better than pissboy's zizek evangelical video on iran).   there has been for some time difficulty in migrating a great thinker, who entered academic debates but did not write primarily for contest round debates, to the debate arena which sharp addresses with skill.
the introduction to sharp's lecture is great for both novice and advanced debaters in this regard.   the many-foucaults hypothesis is most helpful.   not only does foucault himself change his theoretical assumptions over the course of his life but the experience of any SERIOUS foucault student is one of many changes in their understanding.   to be sure, this has much to do with the scope of foucault's research in so many areas across philosophy, law, medicine, the classics, modern literature, and the social sciences to name a few.   all of us start way behind foucault when we start reading his interdisciplinary analyses.    the task of keeping up with foucault and digging into all the areas of knowledge which he has examined is daunting and possibly not achievable in a lifetime for those with other interests.     as thinkers take foucault seriously and study not only foucault but the sources from which he draws his indices and starts to make connections to the historical debates he is commenting upon, then it is inevitable that their understanding of foucault will shift and change often.  i believe that this process helps the aspiring thinker realize the depth of foucault's brilliance.   a common mistake is to think that foucault is not prompting you to corroborate his investigations with his sources.    a big mistake made by critique teachers and debaters of the past is to stop with foucault and not feel their way into the historical places he insinuates.   here, the many-foucaults hypothesis ventures into terra incognita.    for example, foucault did the same with marx.   not stopping with marx but looking at how marx formed his theories from his sources.   you could call it walking among giants.
foucault can be a helpful tool for debaters to enhance other elements of critical thinking they gain from debate training.    foucault does not think like a think-tank espousing policy x.    in many cases, foucault is concerned with the theoretical underpinnings that limit the ability of policymakers to create new options.    i think sharp touched this angle when he spoke on the death penalty.   many times policy assumptions are older and more outdated than we think because we have not done the legwork to understand their legacy.
the many-foucaults hypothesis is a great place to start.    debaters can recognize the limitations of their introductory attempts to grasp a great thinker and still proceed with confidence.     the same debaters can expect to learn immensely from foucault debates since elements of foucault they have never encountered will constantly emerge from the now vast knowledge set of the community.   
not to mention the divergence of interpretations of foucault who is a subject of academic debate.    
i don't understand why this well-crafted starting point was attacked by edebate's pissboy who says:
"i've never found it 'hard to extract a consistent position' from foucault's writings."

apparently, pissboy's unified foucault centralizes the interpretation down to the main influence of marx and das kapital which is to use an obama phrase "patently false".   pissboy says:
"nowhere in the preface does jon point out the elephant in the room - foucault's relationship to marxism. i don't think he even mentions marx in the first 16 minutes. yet one can understand much of what foucault was doing as applying marx's das kapital to other areas - psychiatry, the human sciences, sexuality, and so on."

i think pissboy is not very well read in foucault and more of a word game artist than a thinker who uses his surface readings to seemingly have something to say about everything.  hence, his concern with sharp's use of "structuralism" and "positivism" which become obstacles to seeing the quality of sharp's communication in the lecture.     he does not consider sharp's knowledge of his audience and knowledge of the limitations of coverage in hour and a half.      
here, in the important quotation known to all foucault thinkers of note, foucault relegates marx below other more essential influences.   expect pissboy to pick up sticks and come with a new red herring after this crushing revelation.    goodnight, herostratus, you're a fraud.    the importance of nietzsche and heidegger is related to the many-foucaults hypothesis.      nietzsche and heidegger both went through many transformations.    seeing those before he started along his path enabled foucault to see what was in store and easily change realizing that belongs to the trade.   
In his final interview prior to hospitalization, May 29, 1984, published in Les Nouvelles litt?raires under the title ?The Return of Morality,? Foucault makes the following admission: 
"Heidegger has always been for me the essential philosopher.  I began [my philosophical studies] by reading Hegel, then Marx, and I started to read Heidegger in 1951 or 1952; and in 1953 or 1952, I no longer remember, I read Nietzsche.  I still have here the notes that I took on Heidegger during the time I read him ? I have tons of notes --, and they are quite more important than the notes I took on Hegel or Marx.  All of my philosophical development was determined by my reading of Heidegger.  But I recognize that Nietzsche gained the upper hand.  I am not sufficiently 
familiar with Heidegger; I am practically unfamiliar with Being and Time, 
nor the recently edited things [Gesamtausgabe].  My familiarity with 
Nietzsche is better than that which I have of Heidegger.  Yet, it stands that 
my reading of Nietzsche and Heidegger has been a fundamental 
experience for me.  It is probable that if I had not read Heidegger, I would 
not have read Nietzsche.  I had tried to read Nietzsche in the fifties, but 
Nietzsche by himself said nothing to me!  Nietzsche and Heidegger 
together [however], that was the philosophical shock!  But I never wrote 
anything on Heidegger, and I never wrote on Nietzsche except for one 
very short article; they are nevertheless the two authors that I have read 
most.
pissboy had the opportunity to point out sharp's omission of nietzsche and heidegger but he didn't.   pissboy chose a lesser omission.    
why?    
because pissboy is a foucault dilettante ready to now come out with a new distraction and some mawkish tears for his poor position in the world.
do you realize pissboy that foucault endorsed the stoic right to suicide?   you may want to do further research on foucault's position on that controversial issue instead of wasting our time with more of your sheit.



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