Select Secondary Sources 1. One rare, short, but not unimportant analysis occurs in The Order of Things. There, Foucault maintains that modern ethical thought attempts to derive moral obligations from human nature and yet modern thought also holds that human nature can never be, given the fact of human finitude, fully given to human knowledge.
As a student he was brilliant but psychologically tormented. From the s on, Foucault was very active politically. He frequently lectured outside France, particularly in the United States, and in had agreed to teach annually at the University of California at Berkeley.
One might question whether Foucault is in fact a philosopher. His academic formation was in psychology and its history as well as in philosophy, his books were mostly histories of medical and social sciences, his passions were literary and political.
This article will present him as a philosopher in these two dimensions. Intellectual Background We begin, however, with a sketch of the philosophical environment in which Foucault was educated.
Merleau-Ponty, whose lectures he attended, and Heidegger were particularly important. But he soon turned away from both. Jean-Paul Sartre, working outside the University system, had no personal influence on Foucault.
But, as the French master-thinker of the previous generation, he is always in the background. Like Sartre, Foucault began from a relentless hatred of bourgeois society and culture and with a spontaneous sympathy for marginal groups such as the mad, homosexuals, and prisoners.
They both also had strong interests in literature and psychology as well as philosophy, and both, after an early relative lack of political interest, became committed activists. But in the end, Foucault seemed to insist on defining himself in contradiction to Sartre.
Three other factors were of much more positive significance for the young Foucault. In a quite different vein, Foucault was enthralled by French avant-garde literature, especially the writings of Georges Bataille and Maurice Blanchot, where he found the experiential concreteness of existential phenomenology without what he came to see as dubious philosophical assumptions about subjectivity.
Major Works Since its beginnings with Socrates, philosophy has typically involved the project of questioning the accepted knowledge of the day. Later, Locke, Hume, and especially, Kant developed a distinctively modern idea of philosophy as the critique of knowledge.
What might have seemed just contingent features of human cognition for example, the spatial and temporal character of its perceptual objects turn out to be necessary truths.
Foucault, however, suggests the need to invert this Kantian move. Rather than asking what, in the apparently contingent, is actually necessary, he suggests asking what, in the apparently necessary, might be contingent. The focus of his questioning is the modern human sciences biological, psychological, social.
These purport to offer universal scientific truths about human nature that are, in fact, often mere expressions of ethical and political commitments of a particular society. Each of his major books is a critique of historical reason.
Standard histories saw the nineteenth-century medical treatment of madness developed from the reforms of Pinel in France and the Tuke brothers in England as an enlightened liberation of the mad from the ignorance and brutality of preceding ages.
Moreover, he argued that the alleged scientific neutrality of modern medical treatments of insanity are in fact covers for controlling challenges to conventional bourgeois morality. In short, Foucault argued that what was presented as an objective, incontrovertible scientific discovery that madness is mental illness was in fact the product of eminently questionable social and ethical commitments.III.
DISCIPLINE 3. Panopticism The following, according to an order published at the end of the seventeenth century, were the measures to be taken when the plague appeared in a town.
First, a strict spatial partitioning: the closing of the town and its outlying districts, a prohibition to leave the town on pain of death, the killing of all stray animals; the .
Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison by Michel Foucault. Michel Foucault () was a French philosopher, historian, social theorist, and philologist. One of the leading intellectuals of the twentieth century and the most prominent thinker in postwar France, his work influenced disciplines as diverse as history, sociology.
Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (French: Surveiller et punir: Naissance de la prison) is a book by the French philosopher Michel regardbouddhiste.com is an analysis of the social and theoretical mechanisms behind the changes that occurred in Western penal systems during the modern age based on historical documents from France.
Foucault argues that prison did not become the. Historical summary from Discipline and Punish. Rusche and Kirch-heimer relate the different systems of punishment with the systems of production within which they operate: thus, in a slave economy, punitive mechanisms serve to provide an additional labour force - and to constitute a body of 'civil' slaves in addition to those provided by war or trading; with feudalism, at a time when money and.
Michel Foucault on the Power Dynamics in Modern Institutions. Michel Foucault (–84) was a French historian and philosopher who studied the modern institutions and the power relations within these institutions. An unpublished piece by Foucault from , “Émergence des equipment collectifs“, has recently been discovered and published online by Ici et Ailleurs, with an Introduction by Philippe Chevallier.
Philippe kindly sent me the essay a few days before publication, as it explicitly links to the work Foucault did with Guattari’s CERFI group – a link I’ve discussed in my books on Foucault.