[lit-ideas] What, then, is wanting to know?

  • From: "John McCreery" <john.mccreery@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2007 23:38:50 +0900

Oddly enough, my bedtime reading for the last couple of weeks has been
David Macey's biography of Michel Foucault. In it, on page 247, I find
Macey's description of Foucault's lectures in his first year at the
College de France, where he "began to outline what he called a
'morphology of the the will to knowledge' and to look at the very
different models offered by Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics and
Nietzsche's Gay Science." Paraphrasing Foucault, Macey writes,

"For Aristotle, there was direct relationship between pleasure and
sensation, and therefore between the intensity of pleasure and the
quantitity of knowledge supplied by sense perception. The desire for
knowledge was a variant on the natural search for happiness and 'the
good'. For Nietzsche, knowledge is a product of a play of conflicting
instincts or desires, and of a will to appropriate and dominate.
Always provisional and unstable, it is always a slave to primal and
violent instincts."

Which description would you say fits most closely your own will to know?


John McCreery
The Word Works, Ltd., Yokohama, JAPAN
Tel. +81-45-314-9324
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