Sunday, October 30, 2011

Canonical Meditations

Here's a puzzle I'd like to hear your opinion on. There's a straighforward argument for Heidegger's influence on Foucault, i.e., that Foucault's "archaeology" is an empirical and historical application of Heidegger's analytic of Dasein. He studies the Dasein of the human sciences, we might say, and ultimately of humanity itself (in his later works on the history of subjectivity).

Well, I've got this pangrammatical point about Lorca's duende as the poetical supplement to Dasein in philosophy (see also this post). That is, Lorca is to poetry what Heidegger is philosophy. This raises a natural question. Who is to poetry as Foucault is to philosophy? My limited knowledge of poetry suggests the following possibilities: Ashbery, Rothenberg, Waldrop, Watten. Perhaps, trying to decide among them is merely pedantry.

In any case, what we're looking for is a poet who is to Foucault as Lorca is to Heidegger, and, not incidentally, as Tost is to Basbøll.


Jonathan said...

What is Foucault to philosophy? Write a sentence explaining that, and then see if you can replace the name of the poet for Foucault and poetry for philosophy.

Thomas said...

Well, like I say, he's sort of a historicized version of Heidegger. One might compare Thomas Kuhn as a historicizer of Wittgenstein (i.e., logical positivism ... just as Foucault historicized existential phenomenology). Both are specifically "philosophers of science", i.e., epistemologists,(which may be precisely the sense in which they are relevant to, say, what Lorca knew), but many consider neither of them "true philosophers"—which is only fitting because the later twentieth century is also seen by many as "the end of philosphy" (see Rorty, for example).

That's actually a pretty good angle on this problem, Jonathan! We need a kind of anti-poet, or not-quite poet, or only problematically-a poet. Whose poetry in the later 20th C marked "the end of poetry" (as we know it)? Whose poetry refused to presume a privileged place for poetry? Whose poetry problematized the status of poetry in discourse?

Barrett Watten?