Micheal Foucault’s view on truth and power
Micheal Foucault talks about the political status of science and the ideological functions it can fulfill which are few when disciplines like Chemistry or Physics are employed for this task. However he argues psychiatry and medicine are pretty efficient in commenting on social structures because both of them have close established ties with it.
Foucault talks about the question of scientific statements and the manner in which they are governed. He talks about the linguistics of the scientific statements where he talks about what governs the statements and the manner these statements are propositioned which can be thus verified or rejected through scientific procedures. He points out that over a period of time there is also a change in formation of the scientific statements that are deemed true. Power, he establishes, has a relationship with the scientific truth.
Foucault, however, proposes that the analysis of history should occur in terms of Events. History is a series of events and structures, he says, exist as constructions outside of these events- trying to create a pattern and established truth out of what fits in the given mould. Events are inconsistent, continuous, rapid, and while one can establish a pattern or system, this form of analysis often chooses to ignore the events which do not fit in the system of their interest thus leading us to callously deem them to be insignificant and redundant. He therefore accuses that the construction of truth is also done via structures of power.
Foucault points out how before 1960s the question on power relation was a rare one. Both the left and the right however recognized power and felt its impact and its effect in different forms. They renounced one form of power for another- for e.g.- He says that opponent of the Soviets called the soviet power as totalitarian and the opponents of capitalism called the capitalist power as Class domination. When we talk about repression- Foucault points out that while it is one side of power, the nature of power is much more diverse.
The same period, he points out, saw an emergence of a certain economy of power that distributed and regulated the flow of power throughout the social structure. Which made it more efficient and more enforceable- and this we see in its most violent form as the exemplary punishment- which is where we are made to return to the answer to why Foucault chose to study and explore the idea of truth, power and history through the history of criminality and delinquency.