Seeing, Speaking, Knowing

This week’s PHIL 557 readings started with Husserl’s “Phenomenology,” an article first published in Encyclopedia Britannica (1927).  The edition I read was from The Essential Husserl

I followed this reading with an excerpt from Deleuze and Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus and Deleuze’s chapter on “Foldings, or the Inside of Thought” from Foucault.  This latter reading considers Foucault’s confrontation of Heidegger and phenomenology.  Some passages of note:

‘There is’ light, and ‘there is’ language.  All intentionality collapses in the gap that opens up between these two monads, or in the ‘non-relation’ between seeing and speaking.  This is Foucault’s major achievement: the conversion of phenomenology into epistemology. For seeing and speaking means knowing [savoir]… Everything is knowledge… [T]here is nothing beneath or prior to knowledge.  But knowledge is irreducibly double, since it involves speaking and seeing, language and light, which is the reason there is no intentionality (p. 109).

In truth, one thing haunts Foucault — thought.  The question: ‘What does thinking signify?  What do we call thinking’ is the arrow first fired by Heidegger and then again by Foucault.  He writes a history, but a history of thought as such.  To think means to experiment and to problematize.  Knowledge, power and the self are the triple root of a problematization of thought…  Thinking is neither innate nor acquired.  It is not the innate exercise of a faculty, but neither is it a learning process constituted in the external world (pp. 116-117).

To think means to be embedded in the present-time stratum that serves as a limit: what can I see and what can I say today?  But this involves thinking of the past as it is condensed in the inside, in the relation to oneself…  Thought thinks its own history (the past), but in order to free itself from what it thinks (the present), and be able finally to ‘think otherwise’ (the future) (p. 119).

The world is thus knowledge…the articulable and the visible on each stratum, the two irreducible forms of knowledge, Light and Language, two vast environments of exteriority where visibilities and statements are respectively deposited (pp. 120-121).

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