Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Philosophical Naturalism

“An experiment with a panoptic  system would suffice to find out;  different things could be taught to different children in different cells;  we could teach no matter what to no matter which child, and we would see the result. In this way we could raise children in completely different systems, or even systems incompatible with each other; some would be taught the Newtonian system, and then others would be got to believe that the moon was made of cheese. When they were eighteen or twenty, they would be put together to discuss the question” (Psychiatric Power p. 78)

When one reads the words of Foucault describing Bentham’s imagined Panoptic System  one thinks of Applied Behavioural Analysis (henceforth ABA). Bentham of course was one of the fathers of utilitarianism and ABA seems to implicitly adopt the approach a utilitarian approach to ethics e.g. a cost/benefit calculation. When one reads about Bentham’s…

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