Foucault as Nietzschean Objective Scholar?

  • Erna Strniša
Keywords: interpretation, discourse, power, knowledge, Nietzsche, Foucault


Nietzsche's diagnosis of the nihilism which has overtaken Europe is based on what he sees as a specific inability to interpret or a crisis of interpretation that affects modern man, who is threatened with being torn apart by a variety of inherited instincts. The so-called objective scholar responds to this crisis by explicitly refraining from interpretation and trying to achieve an objective, neutral description of the world. The aim of this paper is to show that Foucault’s archeological project, in spite of the apparent similarities, has little in common with this attitude. The archeologist demands discourse to be understood as something foreign, as no instrument of sense-giving, whereas the objective scholar treats his object as something familiar and well-known. Therefore, a similarity exists rather between the archeologist and the Nietzschean “polyphonic subject” that actively experiences the inability to interpret and is forced to continually change masks-identities. However, this attitude generates in both cases a specific paradoxical knowledge that gives no unity to the subject, but enables it to achieve a certain distance from the ever-present power relations.


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Strniša E. Foucault as Nietzschean Objective Scholar?. FV [Internet]. 2016Mar.8 [cited 2021Dec.2];30(3). Available from: