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Dialogue and Universalism

Volume 20, Issue 9/10, 2010

Between (Globalistic) Here-and-Now Culture and Universalism

Halina Walentowicz, Lesław Kawalec
Pages 131-148

On Two Designs of “brushing history against the grain”
Michael Foucault and the Frankfurt School

The paper develops and provides rationale for M. Foucault’s proposition of there being far-reaching theoretical convergences between his concept of Genealogy and the Critical Theory by Frankfurt School philosophers. In the author’s view, the similarities are marked in three areas: 1. historical discourse, severing the ties with a traditional interpretation of history, i.e. one that makes the perspective of power absolute; 2. an ambiguous approach to the Enlightenment as expressed in a rejection of the doctrine while preserving Enlightenment ethos; 3. criticism of the anthropology that assumes a primacy of mind over matter on the premise of exposing a self-conscious subject as a product of the harnessing of Nature. Wile emphasizing the spiritual kinship between Foucault and the philosophers of the Frankfurt School, the author does record significant differences, mostly concerning the nature of the historical process, an expression of the issue of power and the relation between power and knowledge.

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