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Giladi, Paul (2020) 'A Foucauldian Critique of Scientific Naturalism: “Docile Minds”.' Critical Horizons, 21 (3). pp. 264-286.

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My aim in this paper is to articulate a Foucauldian critique of scientific naturalism as well as a Foucauldian critique of the nomothetic framework underlying the Placement Problem. My Foucauldian post-structuralist critique of scientific naturalism questions the relations between our society’s imbrication of economic-political power structures and knowledge in a way that also effects some constructive critical alignment between Foucault and Habermas, helping to undermine the traditional view of their respective social critiques as incompatible. First, I will outline a brief genealogical backstory for the rise of scientific naturalism, and I will then reconstruct the Placement Problem. In the second part of the paper, I introduce Foucault’s notion of pouvoir-savoir (“power-knowledge”), namely his account of the interconnection between power and knowledge. I then go on to articulate the Foucauldian critique of scientific naturalism by arguing that the levelling nature of nomothetic rationality and its conservative naturalistic vocabulary involves regulative discourse: anything that resists placeability/locatability is labelled “odd”. By being thus visibly marked, “odd” phenomena become “queer” phenomena, which then become “problematic” phenomena. They are, thereby, construed in need of discipline (and even punishment). Understood in this Foucauldian way, scientific naturalist disciplinarity produces subjected and practised minds, “docile” minds.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Foucault; power-knowledge; scientific naturalism; disciplinary power; critical theory; Habermas
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of History, Religions & Philosophies > Department of Religions & Philosophies
ISSN: 14409917
Copyright Statement: This is the version of the article accepted for publication in Critical Horizons, 21 (3). pp. 264-286 (2020) published by Taylor and Francis. Re-use is subject to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 08 Sep 2023 17:39

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