The Foucault Reader
This primer does an excellent job of pointing to the central tenants of his historical analysis about power, public health, incarceration ...more
Foucault's philosophical position is at least in part deconstructionism. Discounting linear historical structures he champions the notion that an accumulation of genealogical information will lead to a more useful and accurate knowledge downplaying the mythification of the past so common today.
Foucault brings into play a multiplicity of factors that d ...more
From an interview in Power/Knowledge:
The history which bears and determines us has the form of a war rather than that of a language: relations of power, not relations of meaning. History has no "meaning," though it is not to say that it is absurd or incoherent. On the contrary, i ...more
In contrast to thinkers like Jacques Lacan, Jacques Derrida, Jean-Paul Sartre, Gilles Deleuze / Felix Guatari, Foucault ...more
Foucault’s work develops a historical account of the different modes by which, in our culture, human beings are made subjects.
Foucault’s interest is to present a genealogical account of the transition from the classical age to modern forms of power. The success of disciplinary power in the seventeenth and eighteenth century stemmed from a transition in methods. Visible acts of violence, such as public executions or torture, were rendered unnecessar ...more
On the short-list of crucial philosophical theorists of the 20th century, you would be pressed to justify why Michel Foucault would not be near the top. This anthology The Foucault Reader, can be informative in attempting to decipher, clarify, and express the system that Foucault relied upon to bring some of his most famous writings to culmination. From the origins of psychiatry in Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason, to the genesis of the prison system in Discip...more
Having said that, if you are curious about Foucault and want to sample is work, this is a a good book to read.
I t ...more
This is not ...more
In order to understand Foucault, you have to read complete works. Choosing a couple of pages here and a couple of pages there does not work. The editor of this book (Rabinow) chose sections from multiple books, but these sections (in my view) don't cohere to offer any broad sketch of Foucault's thinking.
However, there are some stand-alone essays in this book that are fantastic (What is an Author? What is Enlightenment?) as well as a good introduction by ...more
I don't think his ideas are all that original, logical, or relevant. He is not holding up well over time. I get more out of Nietzsche and Marcus Aurelius.
I think deconstructionism has its place, yet rational meaning and conventional morality are necessary.
His dad was a doctor, and he himself was pre-med and decided to go a differen ...more
Foucault is quite the provocative thinker. I thoroughly enjoyed looking into his historical examinations of the sciences and of modern institutions.
I enjoyed the intro which includes a discusion on the debate between Chomsky and Foucault ("Human Nature: Power vs. Justice"). (The debate is on Youtube, as well, so if you don`t read this book, I recommend the Youtube). ...more
Foucault is best known for his critical studies of social institutions, most notably psychiatry, medicine, the human sciences and the prison sys ...more