MA Thesis on Michel Foucault

The Active Side of Language

Persistent interests have been notified over the second half of the 20th century, in studying issues like speech, language, or discourse. The fact that such interests sprang out intensively within more than one field (becoming equally manifest in philosophy, linguistics, anthropology, psychology etc.) has drawn even more of the experts’ attention.

Regardless of the outcome of these studies, they are not always seen favourably; one critic’s argument goes like this: “there is a tendency – in the second half of the 20th c.’s political, psychological, psychoanalytical and literary works – to approach all the issues from the language’s viewpoint; to make an absolute, or a fetish, out of language, as if it were the only philosophical topic worth any attention at all; thereby, a large number of traditional topics which ought to be studied (without making any reference to language) are simply ignored”.

None of the above, I hope, constitutes a risk for this paper to be exposed to. In order to make sure of it from the outset, I shall say that my main concern here – as suggested in the title – is not for the language “as such”, but for its concrete engagements in and impact upon the real world. Such an attempt – to point out ‘the active side of language’ – will surely bring about some other topics as well; most of them may concern die praktische Vernunft : will, interests, power of influence and the like.

It is the kind of approach, which I believe to be found in Foucault.

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