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Foucault and the Genealogy of Psychiatry

Foucault and the Genealogy of Psychiatry

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Published by Seong Woo Kim

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Published by: Seong Woo Kim on Jul 03, 2012
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Foucault and the Genealogy of Psychiatry
-Descent and Efficacy of Genealogy through theCritical History of Psychiatry-
Kim, Seong-woo
Foucault's conception of critique is not an analytics of truth like a Kantianepistemology by and a Habermasian linguistic communicative theory, but ahistorical ontology. Therefore, he calls his way of it a historico-criticalontology. This is neither a Kantian metaphysical grounding nor a Hegelianphilosophy of history.
In his short essay "Subject and Power", Foucault says that over the past 20 years,the purpose of his work has been to write not the history of power, but one ofthe different modes of subjectification of man in the modern Western culture. Inother words, his studies have dealt with three ways of objectification whichtransform human beings into subjects. These ways are related to three axes oftruth, power, and ethics respectively. Therefore, his genealogy is merely not oneof power, but only one of subjects linked to truth, power, and ethics.
The purpose of this essay is to show that the history written by Foucaultsucceeds a Nietzschean genealogy, and tries to resolve the dilemma betweenphenomenology and marxism, between humanism and scientism, betweenphilosophical anthropology and historical positivism. It also is to reveal thatby dong so, he unfolds his philosophically and politically critical activities inoder to realize the possibilities of Nietzschean genealogy. Therefore, thistreatise is trying to investigate mainly the transition of the axis of truth intothe one of power among the threefold axis of truth, power, and ethics, namelyone of early Foucault's archeology of knowledge into middle Foucault'sgenealogy of power. The previous studies have explained this transition bydealing with the complexity of power-knowledge with a special focus on thehistory of prisons. But this study is trying to present the descent and efficacyof genealogy in relation to psychiatry by analyzing the history of psychiatry asa complexity of power-knowledge described in the works of his middle years.

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