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Genealogy as Critique?

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image of Journal of the Philosophy of History

This essay explores whether, and how, genealogy might remain critical within anti-foundationalist philosophical contexts. While adherents of genealogy often presume that genealogy simply is inherently critical in any context, adherents of historicized forms of anti-foundationalist philosophy might rightly wonder whether genealogy can continue to serve any critical purpose whatsoever. Is genealogy a form of historical inquiry that can be done away with once a shift has been made towards historicized forms of anti-foundationalist philosophy? Why continue to do genealogies once certain generalizeable insights have been learned from genealogy? This essay argues that there remains a critical role for genealogy, understood as a particular form of historical inquiry, within anti-foundationalist modes of reasoning. By exploring this critical role for genealogy, our understanding of anti-foundationalist modes of reasoning is enriched, and some clarity is gained into the philosophical foundations of genealogical critique.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Political Science, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-1950;, Email:


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