Not So Radical Historicism
(2015) Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 45 (2), pp. 246-257.
Mark Bevir raises the question of how genealogy, understood as a technique-based radical historicism, and the notion of the contingency of ideas, ground “critique.” His problem is to avoid the relativism of radical historicism in a way that allows for “critique” without appealing to non-radical historicist absolutisms of the kind that ground the notion of false consciousness. He does so by appealing to the notion of motivated irrationality, which he claims avoids the problem of relativism and the problems of “false consciousness.” The genealogies of Nietzsche and Foucault, however, do not ground “critique.” The relevant normative judgments, of nobility in Nietzsche, for example, are presupposed. © The Author(s) 2014.
critical theory; Foucault; genealogy; Mark Bevir; Nietzsche