Foucault meets Moby Dick

Almost finished Foucault’s The Order of Things. The powerful chapter on Labour, Life and Language attempts to build fundamental levels of existence based on processes of creation and change (as opposed to being and exchange) in contrast to models based on taxonomies of representation. Labour – Ricardo building fundamental value on Adam Smith, arriving at Marx and Nietzsche, Life – Cuvier building a hierarchy of levels of classification around Lamarck and Jusseau where form is fundamentally subservient to function; Language – Bopp building a process view around Schlegel and Grimm where language is defined by its history of (ongoing) development not frozen in written form, and by the activities, events and processes willed by it’s users, not objects described or represented.

Moby Dick reared his head in the Cuvier / Lamarck analysis, where the anatomical features of cetaceans are related to the fundamental aspects of mammals – something on which Melville dwells at deep and gory length.

Multiple, fundamental “levels” – a common thread in Pirsig, Maslow, Post-Modernism and now specifically Foucault.

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