Archive

Archive for the ‘Andrew Garnar’ Category

Andrew Garnar “Power, Action, Signs: Between Peirce and Foucault”

Garnar, Andrew 2006. Power, Action, Signs: Between Peirce and Foucault. Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 42(3): 347-366.

I argue that any understanding of the subject must account for the subject being distributed through a field of power. (347)

I think it is clear that Foucault’s target here is the semiology of the Structuralists, but his point might also hold for Peirce. Yet Peirce should be able to escape this challenge since he is concerned with far more than significa-tion. For such an attempt to work though, I believe it necessary to accept, at least in part, Foucault’s agonistic account of human relations. (350)

Foucault kirjutas kuskil, et semiootika tegeleb kommunikatsiooniuuringutega. Kui semiootikat niiviisi (teadete edastamise ja vastuvõtmise teadusena) mõista, välistab see uurimisvaldkonnana võimu. Kuid semiootikat saab kenasti võimusuhete uurimisele laiendada. Siin ei tohiks vastuolu tekkida, kui tuleme foucault’likust vaatepunktist kaugemale.

Our habits guide our conduct. Habits are performed without thought, though thought is key for their development. “What the habit is depends on when and how it causes us to act. As for the when, every stimulus to action is derived from perception; as for the how, every purpose of action is to produce some sensible result.” (CP: 5.400) So there are two key parts to any habit. First, the conditions under which we are lead to use the habit. Second, what actions result from the habit, what it causes us to do. This is not just the mechanics of the habit, what motions are gone through, but also the aim, the purpose, of that action. (350-351)

Power is about structuring habits. Power encourages or discourages certain habits. Power acts through the development and transformation of habits. By inciting, seducing, encouraging, discouraging, prohibiting, or mandating habits, one subject creates the field of possible actions in another. To return to the previous example, teachers create the environment in which habit-production occurs. (352)

Kas õpetaja-subjekt tõepoolest loob õpilaste keskkonna? Foucault eesmärgiks on ju olnud läbi oma töö näidata, et üks subjekt ei oma teise üle võimu, vaid et subjektid paigutuvad võimusuhete võrgustikku, milles nad peavad tegutsema. Õpetaja keskkond on juba institutsionaalselt, diskursiivselt ja ruumiliselt struktureeritud. Kui läheme tagasi valemi juurde “subjekt praktiseerib võimu teise subjekti üle”, ei ole me Foucault’ võimukäsitlust mõistnud.

Unlike traditional discussions of power, Foucault argues that power is not simply repressive, involved with limiting freedom. Instead, power rewards the development of some habits and punishes others. Power is involved at every stage in “constructing” the individual. This point is significant, since Peirce sees habit as a key aspect of being. Habits are what ground the subject in the world, connecting it to the world. Habits allow the subject to successfully navigate through the world. (352)

Power creates knowledge and knowledge sustains power. Knowledge creates spaces for power to operate, while power provides sites for knowledge to be produced. In producing a field of knowledge, one develops techniques for transforming the actions of subjects that fall within that field. Furthermore, every power relation presupposes a body of knowledge about the subjects on which that power is operating. (353)

Iga võimusuhe eeldab teadmist subjektide kohta. See on juba lähemal ja täpsem. Võimusuhe ei ole vägivald, kahene suhe, vaid, Peirce’i järgi, sümboolne. Kokkuleppeline, seaduspärane suhestatus. Ehk ühiskondlikult institutsionaliseeritud. Minnes näitega edasi, õpetaja tegutseb alati juba võimusuhete võrgustikus, mitte pelgalt ei aseta sellesse õpilasi.

The representamen is “something which stands to somebody for something in some respect or capacity.” (CP: 2.228) The object is that thing the representamen stands in for. The interpretant makes the connection between the object and the representamen, determining in what capacity the representamen stands in for the object. In making this connection, the interpretant generates the representamen for the next triad and so on. Thus, we are forever caught up in semiosis. Meaning arises out of this semiotic process. Meaning is never present within a sign. It is derived from later signs. (355)

Siit leiame jälle semiootika põhitõe: märk ei ole iseendaga identne: peab viitama alati millelegi endast väljaspoolsele, olgugi et see väljaspoolne võib olla loodud märgi poolt. Märk kui väljaspoolsust loov protsess. Edaspidi sama ka subjekti puhul, kui subjekt ligikaudselt võrdub märgiga. Subjekt loob piiri sisemise ja välise vahel, subjekt on see piiritlemistegevus, mis loob subjektiivse ja objektiivse eristuse ning seetõttu ei ole meil kunagi võimalik subjekti kui entiteeti fikseerida. Subjekt ei ole lihtsalt keha maailmas, üksus ühiskonnas, vaid piiritlemistegevuse jätkuv rada. Subjektil saab olla ainult ajalugu, mitte positsioon.

So, what then is the status of “truth” now? It would appear that “truth” is an interpretation of a sign, which means it is another sign among others. It is a Peircian symbol, a linguistic sign, which is a sign that has “no existence although it has a real being, consisting in the fact that existents will con-form to it.” (CP 2.292) (356-357)

Tõde kui märk teiste seas. Foucault: diskursus loob omaenese tõe, kustutades oma ajaloolisuse, kontingentsuse. Tõde, mõistetuna diskursuseväliselt, muutuks mitte-märgiks, lõplikuks tähistatavaks, mis jõustaks meie diskursuse (olgu selleks siis subjekti teadvus, keskaegne jumal või teaduslik kindlus). “Fixation of Beliefs” loob aga nt just sellise diskursuse (Peirce’i puhul uskumuste/harjumuste-) välise kinnistamise vastandina teadusliku uuringu, mis peab alati püsima kriitiline, kahtlema uskumustes ja teadmistes, mitte viitama lõplikule tähistatavale.

The truth of a sign will be borne out in action. It this through this process that the sense of which signs are true is produced. Power is in play here because the meaning of signs, what actions result from them, is in question. Power channels those meanings in particular directions. (357)

Through the operations of power, communication by way of symbols becomes possible. By communicating in a field where interpretations are constrained, shared meanings are possible. (357)

„Two things here are all-important to assure oneself of and to remember. The first is that a person is not absolutely an individual. His thoughts are what he is “saying to himself,” that is, is saving [sic] to that other self that is just coming into life in the flow of time. When one reasons, it is that critical self that one is trying to persuade; and all thought whatsoever is a sign, and is mostly of the nature of language. The second thing to remem-ber is that the man’s circle of society (however widely or narrowly this phrase may be understood) is a sort of loosely compacted person, in some respects of higher rank than the person of an individual organism.“ (CP: 5.421) (359)

I propose that habits are a species of symbols. In terms of semiosis, this means that whenever a particular repre-sentamen and object comes up, the same interpretation or translation of the

sign occurs. A habit is a stabilized interpretant, such that the same meaning is always derived from the sign.7 These particular symbols make up a large portion of the self≈sign. They form the battery of meanings we deploy throughout much of our lives. (360)

In point of fact, if I am correct in proposing that power relations are important for symbolic communication, then power is a necessary part of human existence. (361)

Häiring: võimu kasutatakse liialt enesestmõistetavalt ning seetõttu omandab väga laialivalguva kuju, samastudes juba nietzscheliku “jõuga”, mis juhib kõike ja kõiki. Samas, võimu sidumine harjumuste formeerimisega annab sellele üsna täpse ja jälgitava kuju. Samas: igasugune harjumus kehtestatud võimusuhte kaudu?

Why is this significant? I think in large part because Peirce offers a non-Cartesian philosophy of the subject. Or, more properly, a sketch of such a philosophy. Let us return to the 1868 essay “Some Consequences of Four Incapacities.” The essay is one of the single most devastating assaults on Cartesianism. This becomes clear from the first incapacity: “We have no power of Introspection, but all knowledge of the internal world is derived by  hypothetical reasoning from our knowledge of external facts.” (CP: 5.265) (363)

We do not have such open access to the mind. Instead, when we reflect on ourselves, this is reasoning about those things “commonly called external.” This is the reason why the self is not given. The self must be inferred. (363)

Foucault üritas subjektifilosoofiast väljuda. Peirce pakub mitte-kartesiaanliku subjektifilosoofia. Kas need on omavahel ühendatavad? Kreeka-loengud annavad alust mõelda, et on. Kas Foucault mitte ise ei arendanud teatavat subjekti(ajaloo)filosoofiat?