Foucault and the Political

José Luis Moreno-Tab, a professor of Philosophy at the University of Cadiz, published Foucault and the political , in October 2011, in Tierradenadie Editions.

Foucault y la PolíticaFoucault and the political, proposes a study clear and accessible to the political thought of Michel Foucault, from an analysis of the whole of his work and trying to link the biographic experience, the political commitment and the production philosophical thinker. José Luis Moreno is a specialist in Michel Foucault and in the thought of contemporary French, its publication in France in a shorter version has given rise to debate. The Spanish version, more complete, this work will not leave indifferent to the scholars of the French philosopher and political philosophy contemporary or simply those interested in the renewal of critical thinking.


José Luis Moreno-Tab
, a professor of Philosophy at the University of Cádiz, is a doctor of Philosophy (University of Granada) and holder of an Habilitation à diriger des recherches in Sociology (EHESS, Paris). He researches and publishes on the epistemology of the social sciences, sociology, philosophy, and sociology of mental illness. Among his works it is noteworthy Becoming in Foucault (Montesinos), Philosophy and sociology in Jesus Ibanez (XXI Century) and a Moral body, eating disorders and social class (CIS).


See also in Cisolog: the craft of The sociologist, the conference was José Luis Moreno Tab in the CBA in December 2012.


Review of Foucault and the Political by Ramón Cotarelo:

The categories of madness and the madness of the categories

José Luis Moreno Tab has written a superb book on Foucault (Foucault and the political, no man’s Land editions, Madrid, 2011). Since it comes from ancient knowledge of the thinker to which he devoted other works. That does not mean that it is not only very good and very clear but also courageous. Moreno takes on the myth, with the myth of the labyrinth and contradictory Foucault and makes it intelligible, it gives you a sense. It seems to Me that I don’t agree at all with the sense that it gives you, but that will be by my worst knowledge of his work, although I think I have read almost all, including those strange writings posthumous of the College of France.

In the end, I want to say that Moreno exposes clear and brilliantly his interpretation of Foucault, and I am sure you will admit that it is not necessary to propose an alternative to be able to agree or disagree on the basis of his or her own; even to propose variants of collateral that may be enlightening. Especially when the author himself has limited its inquiry to those aspects of political thought of F.

Moreno insists from the beginning that it is precisely the policy of F. it is difficult to understand (for example, the political significance of the History of madness (p. 29) and in that in all his work there is an attack on the dialectic (p. 30) to affirm thereupon as, in passing, that his homosexuality caused him suffering (p. 31).

Well, if we dwell on the importance of the attitude of F. to yourself as a homosexual, we can open another blog. I will limit myself to pointing out an immense field of enormous strength explanatory not only of the thought of F. but the thought of dry: the of its contingency. Before Foucault there were cases like that of Oscar Wilde, and after him, the manifas of gay pride. At what point is sitía F.? In none of them. It is installed in its own suffering, by necessity, unspeakable and non-transferable. How do you formulate that? You can’t, but affects everything that is said. Your basic experience, repeated Moreno, “was his sexuality” (p. 37). Does it not seem logical to link this to its abrupt rupture with the tradition freudomarxista (p. 61)? Especially if we add, non-tangle, his oedipal relationship with his father (39). And for the record that I do not think that Moreno mentions to Oedipus; it is of my harvest but it is also evident throughout the work of F.

In truth take as a center and the image of the world and find us and showing us in him, that is to say, to speak of ourselves when we say speak of the other is what we all do. There are a lot of people who drag a stigma and/or a disgrace. Milton was blind, Quevedo, knock-kneed, Leopardi, and Ruiz de Alarcón, hump-backed, Dostoyevsky suffered from epilepsy, etc, etc, Oh, but these are misfortunes which are not morally condemned by the society! And here comes the attack foucaltiano to the social repression by the insanity, the use of psychiatry, the biopower and its despotism over the bodies. Thomas de Quincey was opiómano, Baudelaire, and Cocteau regular, but addicted. Ah, but the consumption of drugs was not a crime! Good, Byron seems to have had a relationship incestuous with his sister and Trakl that will probably cost him his life. And here yes that the social condemnation is absolute, total, unmitigated. Homosexuality is, or will be admitted; incest, as it seems, no, never. What power punishes incest, which, for Lévi-Strauss it is the only universal prohibition because it is natural to the pair that cultural? What is not biopower in its pure state?

The criticism of F. to the human sciences (produced in the interview with Aron) is, with all my respects, conventionally positivist. And does not solve anything the generous hand that will take Moreno to say that what the author of the Archaeology of knowledge had targeted was the use of instrumental, technocratic, of this knowledge (p. 49). Well, of course; those, and all, including the sciences are true, including the philosophy if you do not want to stay in the round illustrated Rorty. By the way, it is good to get to Aron, and more draw to Merleau-Ponty (although sometimes it says true truisms), but it is encouraged to put the other leg of this trio of old friends, and then rivals, Sartre. And, of step, to include in the picture something of the intellectual climate of France in the sixties for obvious reasons. The work of Verstehen that makes Moreno is fabulous and one reads his narrative, chronology of F. with passion; but it lacks context, perspective. To say in those years that the GOULAG was a pretext as did many others, as Garaudy or Aragon. The same Sartre, despite The ghost of Stalin, was ambiguous. Clear that what is intended to cover was of a different nature, in a case of communist tyranny and at the other the Common Programme of the left. But the reproach is not directed to the end but to the middle, to the idea that the GOULAG was a pretext. It was and is and always will be, an end in itself.

The study of Moreno on the three dimensions of analysis foucaultiano of power (philosophical, political, and existential) is splendid. And again there is something that hisses. Says Moreno that the idea of F. the relationship between the truth and the power fluctuated (p. 59). Of course, the truth is a judgment (of what nature it is), and the power, a relationship, and its conjunction points to the unfathomable abyss of the human condition. If the claim is just that, in the opinion of a possessed relationship fluctuates, I don’t have nothing to say; if it is a criticism, does not seem to me successful. I already know that follow the F. in all their speculations on the truth and power takes us to a garden borgiano of the garden of forking paths, although sometimes there is no more remedy. In the end, you can be an epicurean garden.

The phenomenon of the TWENTIETH century is the sobrepoder. Why not? It is also other things. For example, and always without the intention of looking for me trouble, the freedom. True that society today is supervigilada. Excused to say, the feudal or victorian. Until the term chosen (pastoral) (p. 97), betrays its character as a loan in the past. Remember The scarlet letter and, on another level, The cabin of Uncle Tom, the most widely sold book in the united States, before or after the Bible. Yes, in effect, sobrepoder. Very foucaultiano and very French because the prefix “south” is so common that it sometimes does not translate, as in surrealisme. The funny thing is that the two sobrepoderes cited are fascism and stalinism. What if we say fascism and communism? For that we put together, because F. was an active member of the Communist Party and that leaves a mark even in a philosopher.

Moreno points out that F. is facing marxism and the psiconálisis (p. 85) and, as referring to the F. of the College of France, that is speaking to us from beyond the grave, as Chateaubriand says that oscillated between socialism and liberalism (p. 105). I don’t see what wrong with it. Are two ideas very plausible and complementary. Socialism has a slope and economic liberalism policy and together they have given a lot of play; the maximum to date. But Moreno is gratified that this was not the last word to Foucault because he still continues in his approach to the theories of communicative habermasianas. Stresses ls importance ofparrhesia in democratic (free speech) (p. 111), as a contribution to the way of the emancipation of dialogue. Yes, and it adds theisegoría with emphasis on equality at the time of speaking. And it is very good that Moreno remember that the requirements foucaultianos of the free democratic expression pull out of the three speeches of Pericles as we spread (and probably manufactured) Thucydides. There is No doubt. What is not seen is what is this superior or more advanced or more deep or true than to go through life saying one is socialist and liberal, which, by the way, was what I said Prieto.

As to the last word of F., who will know? I seem to remember that F. died when I was apalabrado a meeting with Habermas, to elucidate the response kantian to question What is the Enlightenment? There could have said something new… or not. In any case, great work of Moreno, a remarkable mapping of the tortuous journey of a man who always had problems with himself and filosofó to go to look for the causes outside of it, which was very good but wore away if the time did not see the ones that were in it.


Ramón Cotarelo

November 9, 2011
Original article in Palinuro: The categories of madness and the madness of the categories

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