Philosopher Jürgen Habermas has described Foucault as a "crypto-normativist", covertly reliant on the very Enlightenment principles he attempts to deconstruct (see also ). Central to this problem, Habermas argues, is the way Foucault seemingly attempts to remain both Kantian and Nietzschean in his approach.
Philosopher Richard Rorty has argued that Foucault's 'archaeology of knowledge' is fundamentally negative, and thus fails to adequately establish any 'new' theory of knowledge per se. Rather, Foucault simply provides a few valuable maxims regarding the reading of history. Says Rorty:
As far as I can see, all he has to offer are brilliant redescriptions of the past, supplemented by helpful hints on how to avoid being trapped by old historiographical assumptions. These hints consist largely of saying: "do not look for progress or meaning in history; do not see the history of a given activity, of any segment of culture, as the development of rationality or of freedom; do not use any philosophical vocabulary to characterize the essence of such activity or the goal it serves; do not assume that the way this activity is presently conducted gives any clue to the goals it served in the past."
— Rorty Foucault and Epistemology, 1986,
Philosopher Roger Scruton argued that Foucault was a "fraud" because he exploited known difficulties of philosophy in order to "disguise unexamined premises as hard-won conclusions".
Read more about this topic: Michel Foucault
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