Have you read it in french? As I understand it, if that possibility is there, it might be lost in the translations since the fine details of humor and sarcasm of a language are often hard to translate to another language (if that's the case there of course). The time those writings were made and the socioeconomic circumstances of the region might also play into the correct interpretation of those writings. I can't read french, so I really can't say one way or the other. In the end though, even if some it, or even all, was intended as a sarcastic criticism of the current philosophy, the end result is still that most of it has been taken at face value and implemented, as we see today.Anthony said:I'm not sure and I've read some of Foucault and Derrida. It was years ago, but they never came across as attempting to be satirical, especially not Foucault.Windmill knight said:Yesterday as I was thinking about all this postmodernism thing I got an idea. It started with remembering what a lecturer from my university once said. He had been to some conference on the topic in France and while speaking with his French colleagues, he was told that English speakers miss a lot from Foucault and Derrida because they very often use humour and irony in their writings, and all that is then lost in translation and taken the wrong way.
So my idea was: What if these type of postmodernists viewed themselves as some sort of intellectual satirists, mocking traditional philosophy, science and rationality, and didn't even take all they said that seriously anyway? What if a lot of what they said they really didn't mean - not literally anyway - but was deliberate provocation? So you could have Foucault saying things like 'truth is constructed by power', more or less as a rhetorical exaggeration of the fact that quite often power makes use of language and presents it as 'truth' for its own agenda. Or Derrida saying 'all is language and text, and it's oppressive'. Later, maybe, these postmodern guys would see they had no option but to fully play the role they had set up for themselves, and would end up believing their own rhetoric. Of course, they liked being considered radical, as they wouldn't be half as famous if they had measured their claims with a healthy dose of rationality and clarity. That would also explain why they loved writing so obscurely - you can't let people see through the game! And notice how Jordan Peterson called Derrida "one of the major tricksters"; maybe he was more right than he knew.
The problem is that if they were being rhetorical or 'funny', it was completely lost in entire generations of students and academics, some of whom went ahead and produced new theories based on that, and that is partly the reason why we have this gender-bender mess and SJW's fighting for nonsensical causes, as well as other ills such as the prevalence of irrelevant materials produced in the fields of humanities. For example, in political science I've read entire books about current American foreign policy that go on and on about the American national mithology and don't ever once mention that foreign policy is predicated on lies. Because the truth doesn't matter; just the narrative.