Sunday, December 31, 2017

Summary: Chapter 4 in What Is This Thing Called Science? / Alan Chalmers

What Is This Thing Called Science? / Alan Chalmers
Chapter 4: Deriving theories from facts

  • -          Scientific knowledge is constructed by first establishing the facts and subsequently building the theory to fit them à untenable
  • -          A logically valid deduction is if the premises are true, then the conclusion must be true
  • -          To assert the premises as true and to deny the conclusion = contradiction
  • -          An argument can be valid deduction even if it involves a false premise
  • -          Truth of factual statements that constitute the premises cannot be established by appeal to logic
  • Can scientific laws be derived from the facts?
  • -          No it cannot if derive is interpreted as logically deduce
  • -          Universal statements refer to all events of a particular kind
  • -          But a number of true observations does not guarantee a true conclusion à not logical
  • -          Arguments which proceed from a finite number of specific facts to a general conclusion are inductive arguments, as distinct from logical, deductive arguments
  • What constitutes a good inductive argument?
  • -          Not all generalizations from the observable facts are warranted
  • -          Conditions that must be satisfied to justify an inductive inference from observable facts to laws:
  • 1.       Large number of observations
  • 2.       Repetition under a wide variety of conditions
  • 3.       No accepted observation statement can conflict with the derived law
  • -          Principle of induction: if a large number of A have been observed under a wide variety of conditions and if all those A without exception possess the property B then all A have the property B
  • -          Condition 1: problem of arbitrariness of large number
  • -          Condition 2: problem what counts as a significant variation? – draw on prior knowledge
  • -          Condition 3: little knowledge would survive the demand that there can be NO exceptions
  • Further problems with inductivism
  • -          Unobservable knowledge cannot be established by inductive reasoning
  • -          All observations are subject to some degree of error, yet many scientific laws take the form of exact mathematical formulas à how can exact laws ever be inductively justified on the basis of inexact evidence?
  • -          Hume: problem of induction arises for anyone who subscribes to the view that scientific knowledge in all its aspects must be justified either by an appeal to (deductive) logic (impossible) or by deriving it from experience
  • -          A general statement asserting the validity of the principle of induction is inferred from a number of instances of its successful application à inductive argument
  • -          One cannot justify induction by appealing to induction
  • -          The probability of the law in the light of the evidence is thus a finite number divided by infinity, which remains zero by whatever factor the finite amount of evidence is increased
  • -          Initial conditions: descriptions of experimental set-ups
  • 1.       Laws and theories
  • 2.       Initial conditions
  • 3.       Predictions and explanations
  • -          Observable facts are established by an unprejudiced use of the senses (no subjective opinion)

additional summaries in  philosophy of science

Some books about philosophy of science to consider:


Summary: Chapter 3 in What Is This Thing Called Science? / Alan Chalmers

What Is This Thing Called Science? / Alan Chalmers
Chapter 3: Experiment

  • ·         Chalmers  asks Which facts are relevant to science is relative to the current state of development of that science
  • ·         Science poses the questions and ideally observations provide the answers
  • ·         Necessary to do experiments in order to isolate process under investigation and eliminate the effects of others
·         Production and updating of experimental results
  • ·         Experimental results are not straightforwardly given via the senses à need hard work, considerable know-how,  trial and error and exploitation of available technology
  • ·         Results can be faulty if the knowledge informing them is deficient
  • ·         Results can become outmoded because of advances in technology or rejected because of some advance in understanding
  • ·         Results are required not only to be adequate but also significant à significance depends on understanding of the situation, acceptability of results is theory-dependent and judgments are subject to change as scientific understanding develops
  • ·         The stock of experimental results regarded as an appropriate basis for science is constantly updated. Old experimental results are rejected as inadequate and replaced by more adequate ones. Why? Because
  • o    The experiment involved inadequate precautions against possible sources of interference
  • o   The measurements employed insensitive and outmoded methods of detection
  • o   The experiments came to be understood as incapable of solving the problem in hand
  • o    The questions they were designed to answer became discredited
  • ·         These observations undermine the notion that science rests on secure foundations
  • ·         Experimental results are theory-dependent, fallible and revisable
  • ·         Threat of circularity in the way scientific theories are alleged to be borne out of experiment
  • ·         All experiments will presume the truth of some theories to help judge that the set-up is adequate and the instruments are reading what they are meant to read. But these presupposed theories need not be identical to the theory under test, and it would 'seem reasonable to assume that a prerequisite of good experiment is to ensure that they are not

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Saturday, December 30, 2017

Summary: chapter 2 in What Is This Thing Called Science? / Alan Chalmers

What Is This Thing Called Science? / Alan Chalmers
Chapter 2: Observation as practical intervention

Observation according to Chalmers is not passive à range or things are done to establish the validity of a perception
-   If validity of perceptions is doubted à take action to remove the problem (e.g. touch, taste and dissect the object of observation)
-  Action can be taken to explore the adequacy of claims put forward as observable facts, so subjective aspects of perception need not be an intractable problem for science. Observable facts objective but fallible
- An observation statement constitutes a fact worthy of forming part of the basis for science if it is such that it can be tested by the senses and withstands those tests à emphasis on tests brings out active, public character of the vindication of observation statements
Observations suitable for constituting a basis for scientific knowledge are both objective and fallible. They are objective insofar as they can be publicly tested by straightforward procedures, and they are fallible insofar as they may be undermined by new kinds of tests made possible by advances in science and technology.

additional summaries in  philosophy of science

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Summary: chapter 1 in What Is This Thing Called Science? by Alan Chalmers

What Is This Thing Called Science? / Alan Chalmers 
Chapter 1: science as knowledge

 17th century science based on facts of observation, rather than based on authority (e.g. the Bible)
Scientific knowledge is derived from facts arrived at by observationà shared view empiricists and positivists

a.  Facts are directly given to careful, unprejudiced observers via the senses
b. Facts are prior to and independent of theory
c. Facts constitute a firm and reliable foundation for scientific knowledge

Seeing is believing = false
- What observers see, the subjective experiences that they undergo, when viewing an object or scene is not determined solely by the images but depends also on the experience, knowledge and expectations of the observer à perceptions are not given in a straightforward way via the senses, rather one has to learn to be a competent observer in science
- Counterargument: observers see the same thing but interpret what they see differently
- But our perceptual experiences are determined by more than just the images we see à knowledge and expectations

Observable facts expressed as statements
-  Facts are understood as statements
- Before an observer can formulate and assent to an observation statement, he must be in possession of the appropriate conceptual framework and knowledge of to apply it
-  It is a mistake to presume (b) because facts presuppose pre-knowledge, so it cannot be the cae that we first establish the facts and then derive knowledge from them
Why should facts precede theory?
- Idea that the adequacy of knowledge should be tested against the observable facts makes no sense if facts must precede the knowledge that might be supported by them
- Search for and formulation of facts is knowledge dependent. If the truth of falsity of observation statements can be established in a direct way by observation then it would seem that the observation statements confirmed in this way provide a basis for scientific knowledge
Fallibility of observation statements
- If the knowledge that provided the categories we use to describe our observations is defective, the observation statements that presuppose those categories are similarly defective
-  The correction of a mistake about observable facts may be made possible by improved 

knowledge and technology
- Any view to the effect that scientific knowledge is based on facts acquired by observation must allow that facts as well as the knowledge are fallible and subject to correction
-Scientific knowledge and the facts on which it is based are interdependent

- Perceptions are influenced by the background and expectations of the observer, so what appears to be an observable fact for one need not to be for another
- Judgments about the truth of observation statements depend on what is already known, thus rendering the observable facts as fallible as the presuppositions underlying them

additional summaries in  philosophy of science

Some books about philosophy of science to consider:

Summary: What Is This Thing Called Science? / Alan Chalmers

Here you can find a summary of most of the chapters in Alan Chalmers' "What Is This Thing Called Science?". Follow the links below for a summary of every chapter. Here you can also find additional summaries in the philosophy of science

list of chapter summaries 
Chapter 1: science as knowledge
Chapter 2: Observation as practical intervention
Chapter 3: Experiment
Chapter 4: Deriving theories from facts
Chapter 5-7: Falsification
Chapter 8: Theories as structures: Kuhn’s paradigms
Chapter 9: Theories as structures: Research programs
(chapters 10-14 are missing from the summary)

page still under construction, check back in a few days!

Philosophy of Science - Summaries

Here you can find summaries on different topics and texts in the field of the philosophy of science. 

(page under construction)

De Tocqueville's Observations of American Democracy - summary

Tocqueville regarded the United states a country in which liberalism and political equality were dominant. Sovereignty of the people had been achieved, in contrast to European countries.
He was impressed with the the level of egality prevailing in society: looking at the family as a reflection of society at large, but also relations between wealthy people and their servants, even military organizations were conceptualized egalitarian and liberally. Although subordination could be observed, it was done only for a limited time and happened by free will, which preserved the equality between two sides.
As factors for the maintainance of liberal democracy Tocqueville named three factors: special outer circumstances, the institutions, and political culture. The first two were only marginally described. Political culture seemed to be the more decisive point. Consequently he only noted a few observations about the first two, such as the special economic conditions. Possession of land was widely spread in the States and fostered liberalism. He noted several ideas on institutions, for example how the federal system and decentralization affected the way citizens paricipate in democracy. Political culture, however, was considered to be highly relevant. Tocqueville noted the consense over the republican structure in America, a strong sense of public responsibility, although public and individual interests were partially considered as affiliated. Religion can be included in the description of political culture, as he saw its function in contributing to political order more than the meanings of strong beliefs. The Frenchman admired the high level of political education at the time, the common knowledge about public affairs. As mentioned before, he deemed this factor a decisive prerequisite for maintaining a working democratic system, since he had seen the democratic experiment fail in France before largely because of a lack of responsible citizenry.
When examining the emphases that Tocqueville, but also Lieber chose to document in their reports, one has to consider that both were biased in a way that they were actively looking for certain aspects that were according to their personal convictions, and also that they were dissatisfied with aspects of the systems in their home-country, just like many other European travellers and emigrants who came to the United States.
In France and Germany political discussion was preoccupied with the controversy about election laws, freedom of press and (in France) the educational system much more than with that about the civil right of free formation of associations. In the Declaration of Civil and Human Rights of 1789 the latter is not even mentioned. The individualist and centralist ideology which constituted the source of this neglect, explains some differences to the American democratic system which formed later on.

De Tocqueville's Notion of Democracy - summary

De Tocqueville grew up in a time when the nation was ideologically split between loyaltists of the monarchy and anti-monarchists. Although liberals were marked as anti-monarchists in general, there was current of so-called Doctrinaireswho Tocqueville felt affiliated to. This group proposed the idea of installing the constitutional monarchy as a compromise between monarchy and republic, while extending the census suffrage to the entire middle class and liberalizing the legislature. Furthermore, they propagated the extension of the education system, aiming at raising the general level of education among the people in order to mold citizens who could take the responsibility to vote.
The socio-political circumstances in Tocqueville's life have to be considered when evaluating his use of the notion 'democracy' in his descriptions of the American political system. Does this term denote the levelling off of society? Does Tocqueville think of the reign of uncontrolled masses, or does he contemplate political equality in terms of common suffrage? Legal and political notions of democracy are opposed to each other. De Tocqueville uses the term in different connotations, but the French idea of democracy did not include the common notion of 'government of the people by the people'. In France the revolution had produced a democracy consisting primarily of elemination of privileges and class order of the Ancien Régime. Hence, most French perceived democracy as a new form of social order, which, compared with the old aristocratic order, could be characterized by the abolition of rigid hierarchic order with its typical traditional distribution of power and privileges. Although class differences persist within democracy, social mobility is one characteristic feature of democracy.
Tocqueville's concept of democracy changed throughout the time. In 1830 he regarded democracy as a dynamic process, which required an 'equality of conditions'. In his view the democratic process - i.e. the change of social order - would come to a halt when all political priviledges were eradicated. Later, in his second volume of Democracy in America, which was published in 1840, a more negative image of democracy prevailed: that of a levelling power which would not be restricted to social order, but which would also challenge the right of material property. Furthermore, he saw the danger that democracy could level any intellectual or individualistic distinctions. The notion of 'tyranny of the masses' formed in Tocqueville's mind.
Beside this sociologic observation, liberty is a reocurring notion in Tocqueville's understanding of democracy. The way he uses this notion implies that he interprets liberty not only as protection from the abuse of governmental power, but more as a positivistic idea of liberty as an asset which each citizen is obliged to make active use of. On the other hand he sees the necessity to restrict individual liberty and to "regulate it by believes, mores and laws." This is meant when he talks about 'liberté modérée'. Tocqueville's liberalism is characterized by the defence of liberty against authority, but also by defence of authority against liberty. Moreover, Tocqueville favors the classic theory of representation, like his friend John Stuart Mill, who advised a system in which the citizens should elect the most capable among themselves to represent them. The problem for France was that the population did not consist of responsible citizens which were necessary for the desired liberal system. The French people had proved during the years after the revolution that it was not able to exert their democratic rights. Still Tocqueville believed it would be possible to educate the people to transform them into citizens and to change the political culture in France.

see also: De Tocqueville's Observations of American Democracy

Rawls: Justice as Fairness - summary

Rawls's theory of justice: core ideas are justice as fairness, the original position and the veil of ignorance. To find out the fair principles of justice, think about what principles would be chosen by people who do not know how they are going to be affected by them - thought experiment. What then emerges is the content of a hypothetical contract. Veil of ignorance ensures no one is biased in the choice of principles. People don't know their talents & social position, or their conception of the good. They DO have the capacity to frame, revise and pursue a conception of the good. For this capacity, they need all-purpose goods, aka primary goods: liberties, opportunities, powers, income and wealth, self-respect.
Then, the original position is a device of representation. Rawls thinks that is models fair conditions under which people solely regarded as free and equal are to agree on 'fair terms of social co-operation'. What distributive principles would you have reason to endorse if you didn't know who you were, thereby thinking of yourself and your fellow citizens as equals.
The PRINCIPLES Rawls thinks people will choose are:
1.       Equal basic liberties: Each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive total system of basic liberties compatible with a similar system of liberty for all
2.       Social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that they are both (a) to the greatest benefit of the least advantaged and (b) attached to offices and positions open to all under conditions of fair equality of opportunity, with (b) more important than (a)
SO: everyone will have the same set of basic rights. Then, if there are social and economic inequalities, all citizens have equal opportunity in the process by which they come to achieve and avoid the unequally rewarded positions. Inequalities are only allowed if they maximise the position of the worst-off members of society.

Critics on Rawls/confusing aspects:
-Rawls thinks people will behave risk-averse, concerned to make the worst-off position as good as possible, to maximin. Is this actually true? Wouldn't people try to maximise the average position? Rawls' answer: strain of commitment, if the difference principle is in action, those at the bottom of the pile know that the rules will ensure that they are as well of as they could be.  Critics: problem is that one could accept that the worst off are as well off as they can be, without accepting she should be the worst off.
-Rawls prioritizes on liberty, thus people will not be prepared to trade off the basic liberties for the sake of economic gain. Critics: if the choice were liberty or food, we would all choose food. Rawls' answer: everybody in society has reached a certain threshold of economic well-being. Critics: then how universally does the theory apply?
-Rawls thinks inequalities will maximise the position of the worst off, as people need incentives for their motivation to work in those activities where they will be useful for everybody else. FE doctors may want to be poets, but remain doctors because of the money. Some people then think that there is no reason to worry about inequality at all. HOWEVER, Rawls's principle states that inequalities are ONLY justified if they maximise the position of the worst off. Strict principle, what matters is whether the worst off are as well off as they could be, NOT whether they are better off than they might have been.
-Rawls mentions the 'worst off', but who is that? Rawls measures this by seeing how many primary goods someone has. Critics: this pays no attention to HOW those with the least ended up there. Were they lazy? Then they would deserve it. Rawls' answer: Leisure could be included in the primary goods.
-Rawls: hypothetical contracts show what people will go along with. Critics: these contracts have no binding force. BUT this misunderstands Rawls, he meant for them to represent what we WOULD HAVE agreed to under appropriate conditions.
-Another confusion on contracts: people do agree out for their own interests, but this doesn't make them egoistic. People see society as a fair scheme of co-operation, and want to treat fellow citizens fairly, and regard them as free and equal. The veil of ignorance ensures people will choose principles by looking out for themselves, after they have been deprived of the info that might enable them to look out for themselves.

Short Summary: On Libery / JS Mill

"On Liberty" is John Stuart Mill's Most famous work and one of the finest and most moving essay on liberty in English. 

In "On Liberty" Mill thought that the evolution of government from tyranny to rule of the people would not necessarily solve the problem of liberty, because tyranny has less means of escape. Therefore protection against political tyranny is not enough ànd also protection against tyranny of prevailing opinion and feeling.
According to Mill Society is completely free when: absolute freedom of opinion and sentiment is guaranteed.

Silencing the opinion of a minority is wrong and harmful, because the other idea might be true.
“All silencing of discussion is an assumption of infallibility”.
The human brain and human experience/knowledge is limited and can only grasp some aspects of truth. Therefore Mill holds that liberty is not complete unless there is no discussion possible. Every opinion is useful.

Always question and discuss what truth is, never take it for granted to keep truth vital and let it survive.

Three grounds for the necessity of freedom of opinion according to Mill:
1.       Any opinion we silence may be true and when you silence it we assume our own infallibility.
2.       If the silenced opinion sounds completely wrong, it may be partly true, because rarely any pinion is completely true.
3.       If the prevailing opinion is the complete truth, it still needs the challenge of free discussion.

Truth is always unfinished, tentative, and temporary, subject to new data and experiences. = dynamic process of colliding opposites

Liberty: everyone can interpret experience in his own way and moral faculties. This is why Mill thinks that variety is as important as freedom.
Industrial civilization creates a uniformity that makes it difficult for people to remain individuals. “Genius” people who can improve the world will be held back, so liberty is essential to societal progression.

Mill thinks that liberty is needed for a strong state because the worth of a state is no more than the worth of the individuals composing it.

Mill was a  utilitarian and pragmatist He felt he was not qualified to commit himself to any economic perspective. He would base his choice between capitalism and socialism on which one will give the greatest amount of human liberty and spontaneity.

In regards to individual property Mill holds in "On Liberty" that everyone should own property. Ultimate form: the means of production are not property, but the collective owning of the capital with which they carry on their operations. Working under managers they choose themselves and they can remove themselves.

Problem of socialism according to Mill:

Mill saw that socialism would fail if it gave up its liberal heritage and embraced the philosophy of the all-powerful state. In "On Liberty" Mill only regarded British and French socialists. Mill ignored doctrines of revolution and dictatorship ànd idealist socialist.
Socialism would demand a higher moral and intellectual level of the people than capitalism.

Mill thinks that an economically all-powerful state cannot be politically liberal in relation to the individual. Cooperation within working places and competition between working places.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Discipline and Punish / Foucault - summary notes

“Discipline and Punish” Foucault (1975)
o   Foucault argues in "Discipline and Punish" that  Enlightenment, which invented the liberties, also invented the disciplines
o   Discipline is a series of techniques by which the body's operations can be controlled
o   Discipline worked by coercing and arranging the individual's movements and his experience of space and time
o   This is achieved by devices such as timetables and military drills, and the process of exercise
o   Through discipline, individuals are created out of a mass. Disciplinary power has three elements:
1)      hierarchical observation
2)      normalizing judgment
3)      examination
o   Observation and the gaze are key instruments of power
o    By these processes, and through the human sciences, the notion of the norm developed
o   Disciplinary power is exemplified by Bentham's Panopticon, a building that shows how individuals can be supervised and controlled efficiently
o   Institutions modeled on the panopticon begin to spread throughout society (see Foucault's Panopiticism)
o   Prison develops from this idea of discipline
o   It aims both to deprive the individual of his freedom and to reform him
o   The penitentiary is the next development. It combines the prison with the workshop and the hospital
o   The penitentiary replaces the prisoner with the delinquent
o   The delinquent is created as a response to changes in popular illegality, in order to marginalize and control popular behavior
o   The prison is part of a network of power that spreads throughout society, and which is controlled by the rules of strategy alone
o   Power in knowledge: custom in our society that power is localized in the hands of the  governments and that it is exercised through a certain number of particular institutions, such as the administration, police or army
à Made to transmit and apply a certain number of orders and to punish those who don’t obey
à Many institutions that look to have nothing in common with political power also exercise political power (hospitals, schools, etc.)
o   Rise of a new kind of power, a new kind of governmentality (prison, schools. hospitals, factories, etc.)

o   History:
1)      17th century: era of absolute monarchs: power was visible and repressive, crime= offense against the king
·         Punishment= ritual, symbolic reproduction of power (public torture)
·         Punishment equals the crime
·         Punishment directed to the physical, external body
2)      Mid 18th century
·         Politics: French revolution
·         Knowledge: Age of Enlightenment
·         Economy: rise of capitalist industrial economy
·         Punishment:
§  Crime= offense against society
§  At stake= public hygiene, the body politic
§  Punishment= re-educating, normalizing the offender
§  Effective & efficient correction (not symbolic ritual)
§  Offender becomes the object of observing, knowing
§  Disciplining
§  Punishment directed to the soul (not the body)
·         Shift from the power of the monarch to the disciplinary institutions (prison, hospitals, schools, army)
·         Power from restrictive (do not) and destructive (corporal punishment) towards productive
·         Power not centralized but distributed in different institutions
·         Micro power, subtle forms of coercion that is everywhere, continuously, anonymous, non-personal
·         Disciplinary techniques such as distribution of individuals in space, under observation, makes individuals comparable units, subject for correction
·         From visibility monarch to visibility individual citizen
·         Normalization: examination, observation, dossiers archives à classification, comparison
3)      20th century: The health care panopticon
·         Registered from birth until death
·         Continuous monitoring, risk classification, correcting, creating modern disciplined subjects
·         Normalizing children in public health, in schools, universities
·         Normalizing mothers during sexual relationships, marriage, pregnancy, child rearing, etc.
·         What about freedom in public health?
§  Everybody in a capitalist society is an object of the normalizing disciplines à is there an escape?
§  Kant 1784: “I have a book that thinks for me, a pastor who acts as my conscience, a physician who prescribes my diet then I have no need to exert myself”

o   Result of biopower
o   Archives enable classification and comparison
o   Enabling a normalizing judgment
·         norm= empirical, statistical, measured by sciences (not an expression of morals)
o   Knowledge (human sciences) advanced in prison, hospitals, schools, army, etc.
o   Correcting: producing ‘normal’ citizens, soldiers, children, mothers
o   Explosion of numerous and diverse techniques for achieving the subjugations of bodies and the control of populations by governing institutions
à Correcting the pathological towards the ‘norm’
·         People start correcting themselves according to the norm
o   Biopolitics: deployed to manage population (e.g. to ensure a healthy workforce) à discipline is the technology to make individuals behave, to be productive workers

o   Discipline is a way of controlling the movement and operations of the body in a constant way
o   It is a type of power that coerces the body by regulating and dividing up its movement, and the space and time in which it moves
o   Timetables and the ranks into which soldiers are arranged are examples of this regulation
o   The disciplines are the methods by which this control became possible
o   Foucault traces the origins of discipline back to monasteries and armies
·         He is clear, however, that the concept changed in the eighteenth century
·         Discipline became a widely used technique to control whole populations
·         The modern prison, and indeed the modern state, is unthinkable without this idea of the mass control of bodies and movement

o   The basic unit that Foucault analyzes in all his works
o   Foucault defines the discourse as a system in which certain knowledge is possible
o   Discourses determine what is true or false in a particular field
o   The discourse of psychiatry, for example, determines what it is possible to know about madness
o   Saying things outside of a discourse is almost impossible
o   Foucault's argument about prisons is a good example:
·         Abolishing the prison is unthinkable partly because we do not have the words to describe any alternative
·         The prison is at the center of the modern discourse of punishment
o   Discourses such as that of modern punishment define what it is possible to say and do about certain things
Human Sciences
o   Together, human sciences create a regime of power that controls and describes human behavior in terms of norms
o   By setting out what is "normal", the human sciences also create the idea of abnormality or deviation
o   An average standard created by the human sciences against which people are measured
o   Idea of the "normal" also implies the existence of the abnormal
o   Idea of deviance is possible only where norms exist
o   For Foucault, norms are concepts that are constantly used to evaluate and control us:
·         They also exclude those who cannot conform to "normal" categories
·         As such, they are an unavoidable but somehow harmful feature of modern society
o   Particular system of punishment a society uses
o   Includes all aspects of the examination and treatment of those who break the law
o   Foucault's conception of power is a central part of this work
o   Power is a relationship between people in which one affects another's actions
o   Power is a strategy, or a game not consciously played by individuals but one that operates within the machinery of society
o   Power affects everyone, from the prisoner to the prison guard, but no one individual can "control" it
o   Power differs from force or violence, which affect the body physically
o   It involves making a free subject do something that he would not have done otherwise
à Power therefore involves restricting or altering someone's will
o   Power is present in all human relationships, and penetrates throughout society
o   The state does not have a monopoly over power, because power relations are deeply unstable and changeable
o   Patterns of domination do exist in society: for example, the modern power to punish was established through the action of the human sciences
o   The relationship between power and knowledge is also an important one
o   The human sciences are able to control and exclude people because they make claims to both knowledge and power
o   To claim that a statement is true is also to make a claim to power because truth can only be produced by power
o   Criminology can make claims that exclude the delinquent, for example, because a system of power relations exists in which the delinquent is dominated

Power and knowledge (see extended summary on Foucault's power and knowledge)
o   Discipline and Punish essentially charts the reorganization of the power to punish, and the development of various bodies of knowledge (the human sciences) that reinforce and interact with that power
o   The modern power to punish is based on the supervision and organization of bodies in time and space, according to strict technical methods
o   The modern knowledge that Foucault describes is the knowledge that relates to human nature and behavior, which is measured against a norm
o   Foucault's point is that one cannot exist without the other:
1)      The power and techniques of punishment depend on knowledge that creates and classifies individuals
2)      and that knowledge derives its authority from certain relationships of power and domination

The body and the soul
o   The body as an object to be acted upon
o   Foucault charts the transition to a situation where the body is no longer immediately affected
o   The body will always be affected by punishment—because we cannot imagine a non-corporal punishment
o   but in the modern system, Foucault says, the body is arranged, regulated and supervised rather than tortured
o   Move from a situation where the criminal's body is attacked, to one where we are all disciplined and controlled
o   overall aim of the penal process becomes the reform of the soul, rather than the punishment of the body
o   the soul gradually replaces the body as the focus of punishment and reform
o   Ideas such as the psyche, conscience, and good behavior are effects created by a particular regime of power and knowledge
o   When the power to judge shifted to a judgment about normal and abnormal, the modern soul was formed
Prison and society
o   The relationship between the prison and the wider society cannot be stressed enough
o   mechanisms of discipline that control the delinquent also control the citizen
o   The prison is part of a "carceral network" that spreads throughout society, infiltrating and penetrating everywhere
Analysis of “Discipline and Punishment”
o   The body-soul shift is central to Discipline and Punish
o   For Foucault, the body has a real existence, but the "modern soul" is a recent invention
o   Invention of the soul allows new possibilities:
1)       It allows you to consider why the crime occurred; the motives that drive the criminal become knowable, and the subject of investigation
2)      It becomes possible to consider the criminal beyond the crime and its punishment
à Instead of inflicting a painful penalty it becomes possible to supervise and investigate him
o   The shift from body to soul also marks the end of the public idea of punishment, because whilst the body has to be tortured in public, the soul is a private thing
o   Rise of human sciences: Psychiatry, social work, medicine and other professions assess and judge people according to standards called norms: they ultimately decide what is "normal" and "abnormal"
o   This involves judging not a crime but a person, making decisions about his sanity, his treatment, and even when he should be released
o   According to Foucault, the modern world has given the important power to judge to a shadowy body of professionals whose role is sometimes uncertain
o   Discipline creates individuality out of the bodies that it controls
o   It has four techniques: it draws up tables, it prescribes movements, it imposes exercises and arranges tactics
o   Highest form of disciplinary practice is war as strategy

Second chapter: Docile body
o   Body is not subject to torture but to forces of discipline and control
o   Foucault analyzes various technologies that control and affect the body
o   Docility is achieved through the actions of discipline
o   Discipline is different from force or violence because it is a way of controlling the operations and positions of the body
o   Fact that Foucault finds the roots of discipline in monasteries and armies is important
o   Institutions like prisons, schools and hospitals acted like machines for transforming and controlling people
à To do this, they fixed individuals in time and space
o   Regulation of time and space (in prisons e.g. the cells) is important for enforcing discipline
à The control of space and time is essential to Foucault's disciplinary system because they are the most basic elements of human life
·         Regulating them affects the way in which people act and think

Art of distributions
o   Discipline proceeds from the distribution of individuals in space
o   Employs several techniques:
1)      Discipline sometimes requires enclosure in a protected place, e.g. school
2)      Machinery works on the principle of partitioning space; it is always cellular
o   The key unit is the rank or place in a classification: rank begins to define the distribution of individuals in educational space
Control of activity
o   Time penetrates the body with all the controls of power
o   Traditional timetable forbids men to waste time
o   Dividing activities into series makes detailed control and intervention possible
Third chapter: The means of correct training
o   Success of disciplinary power depends on three elements:
1)      Hierarchical observation
·         Mechanism that coerces by means of observation
·         Disciplinary institutions created a mechanism of control
·         The perfect disciplinary mechanism would make it possible to see everything constantly
·         Monitoring techniques function as a sort of panopticon in which individual and collective work is rendered visible for the professionals themselves
2)      Normalizing judgment
·         Disciplinary punishment has to be corrective
·         Punishment defines behavior on the basis of good-evil
·         Discipline rewards and punishes by awarding ranks
·         Punishment differentiates individuals from each other by means of a rule that is the minimum of behavior
·         It measures individuals and places them in a hierarchical system
·         It also traces the abnormal
·         Normalization makes people homogeneous, but it also makes it possible to measure differences between individuals
3)      Examination
·         Examination unites the processes of observation and normalization
·         Represents the techniques of an observing hierarchy and those of a normalizing judgment (a gaze that makes it possible to qualify, classify and punish)
·         Example: organization of the hospital as an examining machine
·         Introduces individuality into the field of documentation
·         Each individual becomes a "case" that can be analyzed and described
·         Examination constitutes the individual as object of power
·         Power does not exclude or repress
o   The individual is a modern invention, a construction of power
o   It is a body that is observed, and compared to a "norm" of average behavior
o   Foucault's point about observation is that you can be coerced or forced to do something by being observed constantly
·         Not only do you feel self-conscious, but your behavior changes
·         Good example for operation of power: effect occurs on your body without physical violence
o   The perfect disciplinary institution is that in which everything can be seen at once
à Panopticon
o   What is normal is good, and what is abnormal is bad and must be corrected
o   Penalty becomes about correcting deviations from the norm, organizing people into ranks and classifications according to their "normality"
o   The aim of Discipline and Punish is to show how unnatural this process is
o   The more abnormal and excluded you are, the more individual you become
·         It has nothing to do with taking control over one's own life
Bentham’s panopticon
o   Foucault adopts the panopticon as a symbol
o   Building with a tower at the center from which it is possible to see each cell in which a prisoner or schoolboy is incarcerated
o   Each individual is seen but cannot communicate with the warders or other prisoners
o   The crowd is abolished
o   Induces a sense of permanent visibility that ensures the functioning of power
o   The prisoner can always see the tower but never knows from where he is being observed
o   It perfects the operations of power by increasing the number of people who can be controlled and decreasing the number needed to operate it
o   It gives power over people's minds through architecture
o   As it can be inspected from outside, there is no danger of tyranny
o   The panopticon was destined to spread throughout society
·         It makes power more economic and effective
o   To spread education, develop economy, improve public morality
o   Bentham develops the idea that disciplines could be dispersed throughout society
à Provides a formula for the functioning of a society that is penetrated by disciplinary mechanisms
à To make power operate more efficiently
o   The panopticon represents the way in which discipline and punishment work in modern society
·         how the processes of observation and examination operate
o   The disciplinary society is not necessarily one with a panopticon in every street: it is one where the state controls such methods of coercion and operates them throughout society
o   Foucault argues that more sophisticated societies offer greater opportunities for control and observation

Recommended books by and on Foucault:


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