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Preview — The Order of Things by Michel Foucault
The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences (Routledge Classics)
"The work numbers among those outward signs of culture the trained eye should find on prominent display in every private library. Have you read it? One's social and intellectual standing depends on the response." -- Michel de Certeau
When one defines "order" as a sorting of priorities, it becomes beautifully clear as to what Foucault is doing here. With virtuoso showmanship ...more
This book was written on the basis of a joke by Borges - where in a short story Borges gives a definition of animals from a supposed Chinese ency ...more
Here's the deal with this book: I read the book twice and wrote a long essay on it, and I realize that I'm still just pretending I understand what it's all about.
Mostly, what I got out of the book is the idea that Foucault doesn't agree with the popular periodization of history. Instead, he wants to create his own periods with their own particular significance.
Secondly, Fou ...more
What Foucault has to say is fairly interesting, but after getting the gist of the idea from the introduction, and (to be honest) a synopsis of the contents I don't think there's much to be gained from actually reading the book. I understand the idea of paradigm shift's in our body of knowle ...more
There's no need to beat around the bush: The Order of Things is, bar none, the densest read on my shelf to date. Philosophy tyros steer clear; an entry-level text this is no ...more
The first part of this book is great simply on the level of entertainment. Foucault's analysis of Velazquez's Las Meninas stands out as an essay that can be read on its own. I also enjoyed Foucault's discussion of Don Quixote.
The latter part of the book is much more of a historical study. Foucault has an interesting theor ...more
While this may seem to be a simple tale of historical causation Foucault says explicitly on several occasions that he cannot account for the break between the end of the 19th century and the start of the 20th century. What he is referring to has severa ...more
I'd also be lying if I said that it didn't change the way I view thought in the west.
A lot of reviewers on here seem to think that the point of this book is that Foucault "doesn't like" the conventional periodization of history. Or, that Foucault wants to dispute where the modern/classic ...more
I was never very good at either of those activities—mathematics or translation—with a few significant exceptions, significant because what I achieved in each case not only gave me confid ...more
Foucualt undertakes an archaeology of sorts in order to identify and compare three distinct epistemological moments (beginning with the Renaissance and similitudes, moving to Classical representation, and finally the "discovery" of Modern man). Each episteme, Foucault argues, creates meaning based upon its fundamental assumptions about where the order of thing ...more
This book first arose out of a passage in Borges, out of the laughter that shattered, as I read the passage, all the familiar landmarks of my thought -- our thought, the thought that bears the stamp of our age and our geography - breaking up all the o ...more
Audaciously archaeological, Foucault kicks language's ass all over the place, starting with a single famous work by Velasquez and diving deeper and deeper into the origins of modern thought, literature, economy, state, and, well, language.
A must-read. (I'm not done. If the last chapters fall off, I'll add to this review. - 9/22/2009)
Foucault is best known for his critical studies of social institutions, most notably psychiatry, medicine, the human sciences and the prison sys ...more