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|標題:||Knowledge and Power: A Comparison between Althusser''s and Foucault''s Theories of Knowledge
Althusser's theory of knowledge differs from traditional epistemology in that he begins to see knowledge as production. This view on knowledge is inspired by Marxism's concept of production. Althusser believes that theories such as Hegelianism and empiricism fail to consider knowledge as production due to a confusion of ideality with materiality. When thought is confused with the real in an essence-phenomenon relation, their specificity is often passed over. Moreover, when thought is mistaken as an unchangeable essence, its historicity is bracketed. By investigating knowledge in terms of production, Althusser means to incorporate the often left-out theoretical practice into the social ensemble and account for the complex determinations among social practices. Althusser thinks Marxism as a science because its concept of production is a scientific one that grasps the truth of social formation. This belief presupposes a distinction between science and ideology. If dialectical materialism is universalized for providing a general principle, so is the category of scientificity, because Marxism is generalized for being a science. In this case, a distinction between science and ideology in terms of universal validity contradicts and invalidates the concept of knowledge as production.
Foucault advances beyond Althusser in seeing scientific knowledge as production because he problematizes the concept of ideology and attempts to explore how truth is distinguished from falsehood. For Foucault, knowledge is a form of power in that it produces truth and normalizes the subject with its truth claim. The power exercised through knowledge is no longer a negative one, which represses with violence. Rather, the positive power associated with knowledge is more effective because it is non-violent and thus more acceptable. Besides, the productive power penetrates every level of the social whole through the channel of discourse that extends to the everyday life of each individual. However, Foucault stresses the effectiveness of power in the form of knowledge to the extent that knowledge becomes the only form of power. Such a total identification is a serious reduction that plays down the negative aspect of power. In this case, Foucault's proposal for resistance is exclusively a discursive one, whose influences are limited when it comes to transformation of the status quo. After all, discourse is only one level of the social formation.
|Appears in Collections:||外國語文學系所|
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