Sec. 1 1) In your own words, what is the “ethical principle of contemporary écriture”?

The ethical principle of contemporary écriture is the principle of indifference to the source of an expression.

2) What are the “two major themes” (the second of which has 4 subsections) of the “ethical principle of contemporary écriture”, Foucault discusses?
The first theme discussed by Foucault is the traditional model of écriture. It assumes an interiority/exteriority, author/text, subject/object. This model, which has been very dominant as a literary model, is strictly metaphysical and operates within a framework of Cartesian dualism. In this theme, the text is regarded as an exteriority of a writer’s interiority. The arbitrary link between the author and the text is valorized in a romantic sense. Nevertheless, there is nothing intrinsic to the sign, and signifier is pure exteriority, without any interiority at all. The second theme concerns the relationship between écriture and death. In the Greek understanding, writing is seen as a guarantee for the immortality of the hero. In Arabic understanding, it is seen as an effort to ward off death. The third understanding regards writing as sacrifice, which is a romantic understanding. In that, the author is killed by the work. The fourth understanding is closer to our contemporary culture. In that, the author’s individuality is effaced. Nevertheless, like Nietzsche’s notion of the death of God, the author still continues to operate within the system as an organizing principle.

3) What are the two notions that clandestinely preserve the privileged position of the author, and how, according to Foucault, do they do that?
First is the notion of work. This notion suggests that the text should be analyzed according to its internal architecture, structure, and internal relationships without emphasizing the relationship between the author and the text. Nevertheless, absence of a theory of work creates problems with regard to what a work is. This absence blurs the image of the work and cannot overcome the unity designated by the notion of work. Since it simply rejects the author without problematizing the space that author vacates, author’s privileged position remains preserved. Second is the notion of écriture. In current understanding, which gives writing a principal role, and which is stuck within contextuality, references to the author are not circumvented but only migrated to a transcendent anonymity. This is due to the affirmation of the sacred and creative characteristics of écriture. The sacred character implies a hidden meaning that requires interpretation whereas the critical character implies obscure significations and contents which give rise to commentary.


2) The author function is historically changeable and does not affect all discourses in the same manner. and contrast among certain texts. there is nothing intrinsic in the relation between the author function and discourses signified by it. does the name of the author function and how does it differ from the name of an empirical person? The name of the author is a proper name. Author’s name also indicates the status of a certain discourse within a society and culture. argue for. and functioning. justify. circulation. This is because the author’s name is not a simple element in a discourse. according to Foucault. The author function can attach itself to different types of discourses. The author’s name also assigns a discourse a special status. and is a signifier. Uttering the author’s name for a text means that this is not an ordinary speech and must be received in a certain mode and must receive a certain status. characterizing its mode of existence. like the name of an empirical person. 1) The author function is generated by the legal and political discursive system which is outside of it. what are the four different characteristics of the author function. 2 1) How. Foucault gives the example of penal appropriation which enabled texts to have authors to the extent of their transgressivity against the dominant discursive system. Before the 18th century. It allows definition. and be prepared to explain it in detail. we can think of texts that required a reference to the author throughout the history. Foucault gives the example of the case before and after the 18th century. and how are they related? 2) How does Foucault. explain. the scientific texts were accepted “true” only when attached 2 . Sec. The name of the author functions as an organizer for the organization of certain texts under a name. for each of the four different characteristics of the author function. differentiation. The ownership to the texts was also made possible by these extra-literary discursive systems.3 1) In your own words. certain texts are regarded transgressive and others are valorized without questioning. In this manner. As an indication of its historical changeability.Sec. The name of the author and of the empirical person do not function in the same way. rather it performs a classificatory function. support with evidence or demonstrate the legitimacy of this category? 3) Try to find an example for at least one of the four different characteristics of the author function. The discursive system defines the status of the text according to its own requirements.

Today. 4) Grammatical elements such as pronouns. whereas second “I” simply refers to an individual who expresses his/her gratitude. Nietzsche’s emergence as a philosopher could be an example here. the continuities we detect. redemonstrability. 114). However. is the difference between founding a discursivity and founding a science or a literary genre? 3 . the author function as a unifying concept goes beyond what they have actually produced. Later approaches to Nietzsche continued to reconstruct this character attributed to him. the connections he found. The author was a guarantee of the truth within the text. and the author function began to be attached to literary texts. That is. or differences we posit. That is. According to Foucault. Foucault thinks that we still can find something constant in this process of author construction. However. that is. 4 1) What do you understand by “founders of discursivity”? As Foucault says founders of discursivity are not only the authors of their own texts. After the 18th century. it can be said that founders of discursivity introduce a way of thinking or a method. 3) What. all discourses under this category possess a plurality of self. Before “discovered” by Heidegger. scientific and literary. p. scientific discourses began to be perceived as anonymous and redemonstrable truths. a philosophical reading of Nietzsche was the author. these different discourses still belong to what they have founded. They make possible a rhizomatic thought instead of a linear thought. according to Foucault. We interpret this as follows: between their discourse and the discourse that follow those there is still a binding relation but this is not a linear relation. 3) Third characteristic of the author function is that the attribution of a discourse to an individual does not happen by itself. 114). The “I” presenting a conclusion is different than the “I” acknowledging the contributors in the foreword. First “I” refers to everyone that undertakes the duty of carrying out the same procedures or operations to reach the same conclusion. What they make possible is not only similar discourses but also different discourses (not only analogies but also differences. with the operations carried out by Heidegger in Nietzsche’s works. literary anonymity is intolerable. and the construction of an author is carried out in the same manner in different types of discourses such as philosophical. They are also the producers of the possibilities and the rules for the formation of other texts (p. attributions he made. The author is created and constructed within the structure. adverbs of time and place and verb conjugations do not stand the same in discourses with author function with regard to the other discourses. Their author function can be considered to encompass the future works as well and therefore extending towards the future. He argues that the rediscovery of an author in a work still depends on the same principles used by the Christian tradition in which the value of the text was being proved according to the saintliness of the author. Sec. 2) How are these “founders of discursivity” related to the author function? The author function of them exceeds their work. Nietzsche’s discourse has been endowed with the author function under the category of philosophy. Nietzsche was not considered as a philosopher in the strictest sense. In this sense. It is a construction of the operations we carry out over the text such as the connections we find.

In this sense.Founding a literary genre makes possible the production of works that “imitate” the founding one. perhaps more purely philosophical. Re-examination: “return to the origin” (p. 4 . it just enables that one gets a better understanding of the characteristics of that field. His theses are important in the sense that they point out a way out of the metaphysical way of thinking. b. This is the reason why Foucault thinks that it is an ideological figure. 115. 2) What are the political reasons for Foucault’s theses? Foucault thinks that the current notion of the author operates as an ideological tool. reasons why he puts forward these theses? I think Foucault’s theses are related to the Western metaphysical thought. we tend to regard the author as the source of proliferation which precedes the work. In the particular case of the 19th century Gothic novel. 3) Can you think of other. they are just resemblances and analogies. c. re-examination of a discursivity enables the emergence of divergent tendencies and in that sense the discursivity itself is subject to transformation. The characteristic elements of the model are reused by the followers. However. It is rather an origin which is pregnant to future transformations and which is not immune to being transformed. 5 1) What are the theoretical reasons for Foucault’s theses? He outlines 3 theoretical reasons: a. The founding work functions as a model to the subsequent ones. by regarding the subject not as an originator but as a complex function of discourse. And referring back to (re-examining) this founding model does not make possible the transformation of that field of science. The privileges of the subject reflect an underlying metaphysical thinking that is based on oppositional thinking and that denies proliferation and multiplicity. This “origin” is not to be regarded as an unchanging origin. according to Foucault’s perspective it needs to be reversed. the model (“the founding act”) is “on an equal footing with its future transformations” (p. this reuse operates on the level of content and does not extend to the level of a method or way of thinking. This means that the founding act of a science is still included within the boundaries of that science. They might make possible a historical analysis of discourse. Here one observes the idea of genealogy. On the contrary. On the other hand. In the case of founding a science. “equal footing” refers to the specific field of a science). Author in current usage is a more than a unifying concept and acts as an instrument by which the proliferation of meaning is prevented. Since there prevails an ideology behind the current notion of the author and this is the ideology of inhibiting multiplicity. enabling to study discourses according to their modes of existence. Sec. Foucault’s analyses might provide an approach to a typology of discourse. And this shows us that the historical function of the author is quite contrary to how we regard it. 116) used in a positive sense. They might lead to a re-examination of the privileges given to the subject by the modern thought.

This is important because it demonstrates that the valorized author is nothing but a function operating within various discursive systems and constructed by external operations.4) In your view. a possibility towards a more liberating understanding of the work or the text is enabled. what is the most important message or lesson of “What Is an Author?” I think one of the important messages of the text is about the status of the author and what it reveals through the notion of the author function. I think the most important message of this text lies in its argument against the positing of a metaphysical entity called “author” which is valorized and seen as the source. This new way of thought is concerned with the relation of the author and the system that surrounds the author rather than with the author as an independent entity. the space left over by the author function should be filled by a different manner of thought. Instead. 5 . By showing that the author function does not have anything absolute inherent in its nature. However. by a different structure. Foucault opens up a way through which fiction can be freed from the constrained interpretations. he does not think that this liberation would be absolute. an interiority through which radiates the text as its exteriority. With such a problematization of the author.

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