The History of our Concepts after Wittgenstein and Foucault

Leonidas Tsilipakos (University of Bristol, UK)
29.02.2024, 16h (Finnish time), Zoom

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In this talk my aim is to explore the relation between Wittgensteinian elucidation of concepts and Foucauldian genealogy. Wittgensteinian connective analysis has served to respond to philosophical puzzlement by embedding words in practical situations, thus enabling us to appreciate how different uses express different concepts. It has been much less interested in tracing the historical development of our concepts and practices. A notable exception is Peter Hacker’s ‘Moments in the History of Love’, the appendix to volume 3 of his four volume study of Human Nature (2007; 2013; 2017; 2020). I explore the common ground (and differences) between a Wittgensteinian position and Michel Foucault’s genealogical treatment of ‘sexuality’ in his four-volume History of Sexuality. I focus specifically on how the notion of the ‘arbitrariness of grammar’ is related to the notion of an ‘artificial unity.'

Last updated: 12.2.2024