Force and Knowledge: Foucault’s Reading of Nietzsche

  • Kojiro Fujita Japan Society for the Promotion of Science

Abstract

Building on Nietzsche’s view of power, Foucault developed an original analysis of power by making use of concepts like “disciplinary power,” “bio-power,” “governmentality,” etc.; however, existing studies have not sufficiently examined his reading of Nietzsche’s works on this topic.  Therefore, in order to clarify the connection between the two, this article examines Foucault’s reading of Nietzsche in detail.  Firstly, this article examines the notion of “force” which Foucault recognized is at the center of Nietzsche’s view of power, and will explicitly shows its conceptual determinations.  In doing so, this paper will also clarify related notions such as “event,” “body” and “history,” and thus bring to light the general principle of force.  In addition, Foucault focused on the point at which Nietzsche—using these principles—radically reinterpreted a central concept of human intellectual activity, namely knowledge.  Therefore, this article secondly examines how knowledge is formed under the principle of force, and explicitly shows the general mechanism of knowledge.  Finally, the article explains that Nietzsche’s view of power is understood by Foucault as the duality between force and knowledge; in other words, as an ontology of force.

Author Biography

Kojiro Fujita, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science
Kojiro FUJITA is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Philosophy at Université Paris-Est (France) and in the Department of Sociology at Hitotsubashi University (Japan). He is currently writing a dissertation about Foucault's theory of subjectification. He is a research fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.
Published
2013-08-22