From: michael bibby <shmickeyd@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 18 Jul 2008 05:42:36 -0700 (PDT)
I dont want to resolve these difficulties for you Kevin, I just want to allow this problem to emerge. A problem similar to the one which the Use of Pleasure presents you with was confronted by the Translator (I cant remember who it was as I dont have the text at hand) of the revised edition of Foucault's first book ('Psychology and Mental Illness'): the problem concerned two things, both of which are intimately related, the concept of Being and the notion of Historicity which informs his study, and in the terms of which it is fleshed out. The translator points out that the striking difference between the original text and the revised one, that is, what this revision consisted in, was the evolution of the notion of 'forms of experience'; he points out that it is a subtle, highly nuanced difference, one which concerns the use of language, its forms of expression, its connotations. The translator attributes this evolution of the language of the original
text to the influence of Heidegger's Being and Time which Foucault was supposed to be grappling with (and I think he also invokes Kants synthetic-analytic concept of 'condition of possibility' in this connection also). It would be worth consulting the translators introduction of this text where the problems you face emerge in such a way as to throw some light on them...
Of course, language is not always fixed and precise; sometimes it staggers beneath the weight of the uncertainty and multiplicity of its meanings, and it is important to allow these ambiguities to emerge as the lines of life are never quite filled in, but are sketched out ever more fully.
A problem which Foucault's writings address rather obliquely is summarized by him when he said: "I have being trying to escape a philosophy of the subject through a genealogy of the subject" (or words to that effect). This, I believe, goes some way in explaining the burden which his language is forced to bare when it abandons the resources of the philosophy of psychology and psychology of philosophy (i.e., history of ideas) to evolve other resources for understanding 'historical beings' and risk a new language.
--- On Fri, 18/7/08, Kevin Turner <kevin.turner@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> From: Kevin Turner <kevin.turner@xxxxxxxxx>
> Subject: [Foucault-L] translation question
> To: "Mailing-list" <foucault-l@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Received: Friday, 18 July, 2008, 8:38 PM
> I have a query concerning a translation in "The Use of
> In the English translation, Foucault states that what he
> planned was 'a history of the experience of
> sexuality’ (UP: 4).
> In Beatrice Han's discussion of this text in
> "Foucault's Critical Project," she modifies
> the translation so that it states that what Foucault
> planned was 'a history of sexuality as an
> experience' (Han, 2002: 153).
> This may seem like a subtle difference but I think a lot
> hangs on whether Foucault is understood to be doing "a
> history of the experience of sexuality" or "a
> history of sexuality as an experience."
> Thoughts on which is the better translation, or whether
> both translations are legitimate, or which translation best
> captures what Foucault did, etc. would be most welcome.
> Foucault-L mailing list
Start at the new Yahoo!7 for a better online experience. www.yahoo7.com.au