Analysis of Nietzsche's Concept of Genealogy
|✅ Paper Type: Free Essay||✅ Subject: Sociology|
|✅ Wordcount: 1903 words||✅ Published: 16th Aug 2017|
Introduction: Michel Foucault (October 1926-June 1984) was a French philosopher, historian, social theorist, philologist and literary critic. In 1945, Foucault travelled to Paris, where he enrolled himself in a prestigious secondary school, Lyciee-Henry-IV. Foucault adopted conviction of philosopher, Jean Hyppolite, an existentialist and expert in uniting existentialist theories with the reasoning theories of Hegel and Karl Marx, that philosophy must be developed through a study of history. Foucault desired to be a fellow member in College de Paris, where he became one, taking up the chair in the ‘History of Systems of Thought’. Foucault, in his late interview, called himself a Nietzschean. Which is well elucidated by the fact, that Foucault’s ‘genealogy of knowledge ‘is direct inkling of Nietzsche’s ‘genealogy of morality’. In 2007 Foucault was listed as the most cited scholar in the humanities by The Times Higher Education Guide. [text courtesy Wikipedia]
In this essay (Nietzsche, Genealogy, History) Foucault explores genealogy through Nietzsche, and exposit on his own profound understanding of the genealogical method.
Genealogy is precise conscientious attention to details, and a patiently documentation. Basically, Genealogy is boring. If the analysis is not just based on paperwork, observations and interview transcripts can be added, which mix a manifold of different context in a confusing order. These perplexed documents, observations and interview transcripts need to be ordered in time and space. That is, the pieces must be ordered in regard to almanac, context and actors. A major task, since genealogy also requires a major accretion of source material. Therefore, genealogy is boring unless one likes the vapid work of going through every single page to page, piece by piece in order to place them in the right almanac and context. It is also very time-consuming and a vex mental burden, tiresome since the genealogist from time to time feels that he is not getting anywhere. But genealogy is, at the same time, exciting. It gives a great overall overview and touch with the material and is thus an exciting material and detailed different to the abstractions the unitary sciences have produced so many of. Often, it is experienced that the absolute ordering of pieces in time and space gives a totally different view of the process than expected. Much of the material does speak for itself, Really! Often, it is proclaimed how beautiful words turn out to be less beautiful in the true, real world. Thus, with its painstaking procedures, genealogy to some extent avoids chicanery. In itself, this is a z great reason for doing it. Further, Foucault argues about the …monotonous finality’ this is really what it is all about. Events must be recorded individually of any unifying and thereby systematizing theory. Events are what they are, and nothing else. It can also have represented in a manner that the â€¦monotonous finality’ is basically rewriting of what Nietzsche called ‘monumental history’. He theorizes that the monumental history as a construct that represents ‘the great moments in the struggle of a human individual’ which ‘constitute a chain’ which ‘unites the mankind across the millennial like a range of human mountains pinnacle’. Foucault writes that genealogy does not obstruct itself to history, but rather opposes itself to a search for ‘origins’, and rejects “the metahistorical deployment of ideal significations and indefinite teleology’s”
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As a genealogist, Nietzsche opposed the “pursuit of the genesis (Ursprung) because it relies on a metaphysical faith in “purest plausibility’s (…) the existence of immobile forms that precede the external world of mishap and succession. (…) the image of a primordial truth fully adequate to its nature, and it necessitates the removal of every mask to ultimately disclose an original identity”. We erroneously attribute the originwith a moment of greatest infallible, the first morning that precedes the Fall in our merely human hands; the search for origin plays out our own want for a divine birth. However, “historical beginnings are lowly”. Absconding metaphysics and turning to history, Foucault suggests that one discovers “not a timeless and essential dern, but the secret that they have no essence or that their essence was fabricated in a piecemeal fashion from alien forms”. Genealogy is anti-essentialist and disinterested in metaphysical origins: “What is found at the historical commencement of things is not the inviolable identity of their genesis; it is the dissension of other things. It is disparity”.
Most problematic, the origin “makes plausible a field of knowledge whose function is to recover it, but always in a spurious recognition due to the excesses of its own speech”. The origin believes itself to be the site of inescapable loss, a moment when the truth of the object corresponded to the truth of its discourse. History, rather, “constrain a reversal of this relationship and the oversight of ‘adolescent’ quests: behind the always recent, avaricious, and measured fidelity, it posits the ancient escalation of errors”. Truth, then, is an error. “The genealogist needs history to dispel the chimeras of the genesis”. Here Foucault suggests that the genealogist must be able to recognize the events of history (even the ones we wish to clandestine) as well as diagnose the illness of the body, its vincibility, fortitude, and breakdowns, since history is the “body of a development”.
Herkunft is translated as ‘descent ‘and it confine that phenomena like truth, group, and even individuals are not to be thought of as unified phenomena. Instead of that, it allows the sorting out of different attributes that contributed to the phenomena. An examination will focus on the profusion of events which made their contribution to descent. In this sense, genealogy is aimed at fragmenting what was thought unified and unmovable. It will unveil the heterogeneity behind Herkunft. This constitutes the very first task of the
genealogist. The sorting out of the different attributes/traits which have had any significance. The criterion for determining what is significant is in principle straightforward. It is determined by the empirical phenomenon that is investigated and the material that is collected about it. What is said in the interviews or in other connections, what is recorded on paper or what can be observed. In short, the artifacts determine what is significant, not the researcher. This is a good principle, even if it cannot be carried out completely. Of course the researcher makes a difference but this does not mean that he cannot give the artifacts a big room to speak for themselves.
‘Entstehung’ is translated into ‘Emergence’- the instant of arising, but we are not looking for a particular point in history where a given reasonability, which from then has controlled everything is established. It is more tactical. It designates the endeavor of
particular forces in particular points in time. The analysis of the Entstehung must demarcate this interaction. Enstehung is the access of forces. Often, but not necessarily, only engraved in the peripheral areas of the material. In Foucaults word it is ‘…the leap from the wings to the center stage’. The Entstehung denominate the place where different systems of power/knowledge meet face-to-face. Not necessarily with a big bang but yes. The confrontation can be much humbler and seem trivial at a first skim. Further, the power/knowledge systems are not necessarily equal. Often the places of the ‘Entstehung’ are not manifested vividly in the material. This relates to the gnarled or tricky part of revealing marginalized knowledge. The Entstehung provides a seldom opportunity where some of the marginalized voices are not quiescent, which is one of the main reasons that the analysis of the Entstehung is highly important.
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Genealogy vs. Traditional History
In the fifth section, Foucault abridged the methodological differences between a history based in geneaology (a Nietzschian history) and a traditional history, or the historian’s history. For Foucault, these differences remain in the sensibility the historian/genealogist takes toward the work. The historian’s history implicit a metaphysical continuity between past and present, a “suprahistorical perspective” that seeks to reconcile disparity through “apocalyptic objectivity”. The traditional historian keeps their body outside of history and relies on a “myriad of distances and heights: the noblest periods, the highest forms [â€¦] adopting the famous perspective of frogs”. Genealogical history, however, is an “effective” history (a history of effects?), dispossess itself of the affirmation of progress and genesis, as genealogy is the examination of both Herkunft (Descent) and Entstehung(Emergence). It “deprives the self of the bolstering or reassuring the stability of life and nature, and it will not permit itself to be transported by a voiceless intractability toward a millennial ending. This is because knowledge is not made for understanding; it is made for cutting”. This manner of history studies those things nearest it-the body and all imminent-and demands consciousness of its own perspective: “it has no dread of looking down, so as long as it understands that it looks from above”. It doesn’t seek to recount the birth of truth and values in the service of philosophy, but operates as a “differential knowledge of energies and failings [â€¦] a curative science”. It concurs knowledge as perspective-and as with any case of perspective, where one stands are the most relevant and important point.
Note on the Author
Genealogy is shrewd and interpretive. It does not presume to be naive. The author must try to define his stand in regard to subject of analysis. Where is he, the author, talking from? Genealogy is a very much demanding approach. This augment’s the obligation of the author to describe as clearly as plausible his own stand/position in the game.
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