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What Foucault calls his “nominalism” is a form of methodologi- cal individualism. It treats such abstractions as “man” and “power” as reducible for purposes of explanation to the individuals that com- prise them. This is the context of his claim, for example, that “power does not exist,” that there are only individual instances of domina- tion, manipulation, edification, control, and the like. His infamous assertion that “man” did not exist before the nineteenth century, even when tempered by appeal to the human sciences that gener- ated the category (which, in turn, served to legitimize them), must be interpreted in the additional sense that “man” is a mere flatus vocis even for the human sciences. Failure to respect Foucault’s un- derlying nominalism has frustrated the critics who have complained about the elusive character of his concept of power
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