Foucault Quotes

Quotes tagged as "foucault" Showing 1-30 of 33
Mark Fisher
“Capitalist realism insists on treating mental health as if it were a natural fact, like weather (but, then again, weather is no longer a natural fact so much as a political-economic effect). In the 1960s and 1970s, radical theory and politics (Laing, Foucault, Deleuze and Guattari, etc.) coalesced around extreme mental conditions such as schizophrenia, arguing, for instance, that madness was not a natural, but a political, category. But what is needed now is a politicization of much more common disorders. Indeed, it is their very commonness which is the issue: in Britain, depression is now the condition that is most treated by the NHS. In his book The Selfish Capitalist, Oliver James has convincingly posited a correlation between rising rates of mental distress and the neoliberal mode of capitalism practiced in countries like Britain, the USA and Australia. In line with James’s claims, I want to argue that it is necessary to reframe the growing problem of stress (and distress) in capitalist societies. Instead of treating it as incumbent on individuals to resolve their own psychological distress, instead, that is, of accepting the vast privatization of stress that has taken place over the last thirty years, we need to ask: how has it become acceptable that so many people, and especially so many young people, are ill?”
Mark Fisher, Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative?

John Rogers Searle
“With Derrida, you can hardly misread him, because he’s so obscure. Every time you say, "He says so and so," he always says, "You misunderstood me." But if you try to figure out the correct interpretation, then that’s not so easy. I once said this to Michel Foucault, who was more hostile to Derrida even than I am, and Foucault said that Derrida practiced the method of obscurantisme terroriste (terrorism of obscurantism). We were speaking French. And I said, "What the hell do you mean by that?" And he said, "He writes so obscurely you can’t tell what he’s saying, that’s the obscurantism part, and then when you criticize him, he can always say, 'You didn’t understand me; you’re an idiot.' That’s the terrorism part." And I like that. So I wrote an article about Derrida. I asked Michel if it was OK if I quoted that passage, and he said yes.”
John R. Searle

Michel Foucault
“Calling sex by its name thereafter [the 17th c.] became more difficult and more costly. As if in order to gain mastery of it in reality, it had first been necessary to subjugate it at the level of language, control its free circulation in speech, expunge it from the things that were said, and extinguish the words that rendered it too visibly present. ”
Foucault Michel

Michel Foucault
“We demand that sex speak the truth [...] and we demand that it tell us our truth, or rather, the deeply buried truth of that truth about ourselves wich we think we possess in our immediate consciousness.”
Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality, Volume 1: An Introduction

Michael Gira
“I never could read Foucault. I find philosophy tedious. All of my knowledge comes from reading novels and some history. I read Being and Nothingness and realized that I remembered absolutely nothing when I finished it. I used to go to the library every day and read every day for eight hours. I’d dropped out of high school and had to teach myself. I read Sartre without any background. I just forced myself and I learned nothing.”
Michael Gira

Michel Foucault
“This book first arose out of a passage in [Jorge Luis] Borges, out of the laughter that shattered, as I read the passage, all the familiar landmarks of my thought—our thought that bears the stamp of our age and our geography—breaking up all the ordered surfaces and all the planes with which we are accustomed to tame the wild profusion of existing things, and continuing long afterwards to disturb and threaten with collapse our age-old distinction between the Same and the Other. This passage quotes a ‘certain Chinese encyclopaedia’ in which it is written that ‘animals are divided into: (a) belonging to the Emperor, (b) embalmed, (c) tame, (d) suckling pigs, (e) sirens, (f) fabulous, (g) stray dogs, (h) included in the present classification, (i) frenzied, (j) innumerable, (k) drawn with a very fine camelhair brush, (l) et cetera, (m) having just broken the water pitcher, (n) that from a long way off look like flies’. In the wonderment of this taxonomy, the thing we apprehend in one great leap, the thing that, by means of the fable, is demonstrated as the exotic charm of another system of thought, is the limitation of our own, the stark impossibility of thinking that.”
Michel Foucault, The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences

Michel Foucault
“A critique is not a matter of saying that things are not right as they are. It is a matter of pointing out on what kinds of assumptions, what kinds of familiar, unchallenged, unconsidered modes of thought the practices that we accept rest.”
Michel Foucault

Michel Foucault
“The work of an intellectual is not to form the political will of others; it is, through the analyses he does in his own domains, to bring assumptions and things taken for granted again into question, to shake habits, ways of acting and thinking, to dispel the familiarity of the accepted, to take the measure of rules and institutions and, starting from that re-problemitisation (where he plays his specific role as intellectual) to take part in the formation of a political will (where he has his role to play as citizen).”
Michel Foucault, Power

Michel Foucault
“Curiosity evokes ‘concern’; it evokes the care one takes for what exists and could exist; a readiness to find strange and singular what surrounds us; a certain relentlessness to break up our familiarities and to regard otherwise the same things; a fervor to grasp what is happening and what passes; a casualness in regard to the traditional hierarchies of the important and the essential. I dream of a new age of curiosity. We have the technical means for it; the desire is there; the things to be known are infinite; the people who can employ themselves at this task exist. Why do we suffer? From too little: from the channels that are too narrow, skimpy, quasi-monopolistic, insufficient. There is no point in adopting a protectionist attitude, to prevent ‘bad’ information from invading and suffocating the ‘good.’ Rather, we must multiply the paths and the possibility of comings and goings.”
Michel Foucault

Siddhartha Mukherjee
“If the history of the last century taught us the dangers of empowering governments to determine genetic “fitness” (i.e., which person fits within the triangle, and who lives outside it), then the question that confronts our current era is what happens when this power devolves to the individual. It is a question that requires us to balance the desires of the individual— to carve out a life of happiness and achievement, without undue suffering— with the desires of a society that, in the short term, may be interested only in driving down the burden of disease and the expense of disability. And operating silently in the background is a third set of actors: our genes themselves, which reproduce and create new variants oblivious of our desires and compulsions— but, either directly or indirectly, acutely or obliquely, influence our desires and compulsions. Speaking at the Sorbonne in 1975, the cultural historian Michel Foucault once proposed that “a technology of abnormal individuals appears precisely when a regular network of knowledge and power has been established.” Foucault was thinking about a “regular network” of humans. But it could just as easily be a network of genes.”
Siddhartha Mukherjee, The Gene: An Intimate History

Michel Foucault
“[…] marginile unei cărţi nu sunt niciodată clar şi riguros trasate: dincolo de titlu, de primele rânduri şi de punctul final, mai presus de configuraţia sa internă şi de forma care îi conferă autonomie, ea se află prinsă într-un sistem de trimiteri la alte cărţi, la alte texte, la alte fraze: este un nod într-o reţea.”
Michel Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge & The Discourse on Language

“Like the Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School, postmodernism seeks to institutionalize dishonesty as a legitimate school of thought. The idea of truth as the ultimate goal of the intellectual is discarded. In its place, scholars are asked to pursue political objectives--so long as those political objectives are the 'correct' ones. Postmodernism is not fringe within the community of scholars. It is central. This tells us a great deal about the life of the mind today. Peruse any university course catalogue, and you find names like Foucault, Derrida, and Barthes. Scour the footnotes of scholarly books and journals and a similar story unfolds. With the primacy of philosophies--postmodernism, Critical Theory, and even the right-leaning Straussianism--that exalt dishonesty in the service of supposedly noble causes, is it at all surprising that liars like Alfred Kinsey, Rigoberta Menchu, Alger Hiss, and Margaret Sanger have achieved a venerated status among the intellectuals?”
Daniel J. Flynn, Intellectual Morons: How Ideology Makes Smart People Fall for Stupid Ideas

“The velocity of light is one of the most important of the fundamental constants of Nature. Its measurement by Foucault and Fizeau gave as the result a speed greater in air than in water, thus deciding in favor of the undulatory and against the corpuscular theory. Again, the comparison of the electrostatic and the electromagnetic units gives as an experimental result a value remarkably close to the velocity of light–a result which justified Maxwell in concluding that light is the propagation of an electromagnetic disturbance. Finally, the principle of relativity gives the velocity of light a still greater importance, since one of its fundamental postulates is the constancy of this velocity under all possible conditions.”
A.A. Michelson, Studies in Optics

Michel Foucault
“In a sense, I am a moralist, insofar as I believe that one of the tasks, one of the meanings of human existence—the source of human freedom—is never to accept anything as definitive, untouchable, obvious, or immobile. No aspect of reality should be allowed to become a definitive and inhuman law for us. We have to rise up against all forms of power—but not just power in the narrow sense of the word, referring to the power of a government or of one social group over another: these are only a few particular instances of power. Power is anything that tends to render immobile and untouchable those things that are offered to us as real, as true, as good”
Michel Foucault

Michel Foucault
“With humanity, life has ended up with a living creature that never quite finds itself in the right place, a living creature destined to wander and endlessly make mistakes.”
Michel Foucault

“Der Mensch, von dem man uns spricht und zu dessen Befreiung man uns einlädt, ist bereits in sich das Resultat einer Unterwerfung, die viel tiefer ist als er.”
Foucault, Michel

Paul Veyne
“La philosophie de Foucault, son scepticisme54, son relativisme ont pour point de départ un constat historique : le passé de l’humanité est un gigantesque cimetière de vérités mortes, d’attitudes et de normes changeantes, différentes d’une époque à l’autre, toujours dépassées à l’époque suivante. « La vie a abouti avec l’homme à un vivant qui est voué à errer et à se tromper sans fin», sans jamais parvenir à une sienne « vérité ».”
Paul Veyne, Et dans l'éternité je ne m'ennuierai pas. Souvenirs

“[Foucault's] criticism is not transcendental, and its goal is not that of making a metaphysics possible: it is genealogical in its design and archaeological in its method.

Archaeological –and not transcendental– in the sense that it will not seek to identify the universal structures of all knowledge or of all possible moral action, but will seek to treat the instances of discourse that articulate what we think, say, and do as so many historical events.

And this critique will be genealogical in the sense it will not deduce from the form of what we are what is impossible for us to do and to know; but it will separate out, from the contingency that has made us what we are, the possibility of no longer being, doing, or thinking what we are, do or think. It is not seeking to make possible a metaphysics that has finally become a science; it is seeking to give new impetus, as far and wide as possible, to the undefined work of freedom.”
Paul Rabinow, The Foucault Reader

“Just a few nights ago the roaring fire prompted a conversation about Gaston Bachelard's Psychoanalysis of Fire,' I said to Foucault. 'Did you by any chance know Bachelard?'
'Yes, I did,' Foucault responded. 'He was my teacher and exerted a great influence upon me.'
'I can just visualize Bachelard musing before his hearth and devising the startling thesis that mankind tamed fire to stimulate his daydreaming, that man is fundamentally the dreaming animal.'
'Not really,' Foucault blurted out. 'Bachelard probably never saw a fireplace or ever listened to water streaming down a mountainside. With him it was all a dream. He lived very ascetically in a cramped two-room flat he shared with his sister.'
'I have read somewhere that he was a gourmet and would shop every day in the street markets to get the freshest produce for his dinner.'
'Well, he undoubtedly shopped in the outdoor markets,' Foucault responded impatiently, 'but his cuisine, like his regimen, was very plain. He led a simple life and existed in his dream.'
'Do you shop in the outdoor markets in Paris?' Jake asked Michel.
'No,' Foucault laughed, 'I just go to the supermarket down the street from where I live.”
Simeon Wade, Foucault in California [A True Story—Wherein the Great French Philosopher Drops Acid in the Valley of Death]

“What was it like for you before the gay movement?' the young gay student asked.
'You might not believe this.' Foucault replied, 'but I actually liked the scene before the gay liberation, when everything was more covert. It was like an underground fraternity, exciting and a bit dangerous. Friendship meant a lot, it meant a lot of trust, we protected each other, we related to each other by secret codes.”
Simeon Wade, Foucault in California [A True Story—Wherein the Great French Philosopher Drops Acid in the Valley of Death]

Paul B. Preciado
“Hoy la situación parece mucho más compleja: el cuerpo individual funciona como una extensión de las tecnologías globales de comunicación. Dicho con la feminista americana Donna Haraway, el cuerpo del siglo XXI es una plataforma tecnoviva, el resultado de una implosión irreversible de sujeto y objeto, de lo natural y lo artificial. De ahí que la noción misma de «vida» resulte arcaica para identificar los actores de esta nueva tecnoecología. Por ello, Donna Haraway prefiere la noción de «tecnobiopoder» a la foucaultiana de «biopoder», puesto que va no se trata de poder sobre la vida, de poder de gestionar y maximizar la vida, como quería Foucault, sino de poder y control sobre un todo tecnovivo conectado.”
Beatriz Preciado, Testo Junkie: Sex, Drugs, and Biopolitics in the Pharmacopornographic Era

Paul B. Preciado
“Pensando en las transformaciones de la sociedad europea de finales del siglo XVIII, Foucault describe el paso de lo que él llama una «sociedad soberana» a una «sociedad disciplinaria» como el desplazamiento de una forma de poder que decide y ritualiza la muerte a una nueva forma de poder que calcula técnicamente la vida en términos de población, salud e interés nacional. Foucault llama biopoder a esta nueva forma de poder productor, difuso y tentacular. El poder desborda así el dominio de lo jurídico, del ámbito punitivo, para volverse una fuerza que penetra y constituye el cuerpo del individuo moderno. Este poder ya no se comporta como una ley coercitiva, como un mandato negativo, sino que, más versátil y acogedor, adquiere la forma de una tecnología política general, metamorfoseándose en arquitecturas disciplinarias (prisión, cuartel, escuela,, hospital, etc.), textos científicos, tablas estadísticas, cálculos demográficos, modos de empleo, recomendaciones de uso, calendarios de regulación de vida y proyectos de higiene pública. Foucault había intuido la centralidad del sexo y de la sexualidad en el moderno arte de gobernar la vida: los procesos de histerización del cuerpo femenino, la pedagogía del sexo del niño, la regulación de las conductas de procreación y la psiquiatrización de placeres perversos serán para Foucault los ejes de este proyecto, al que caracteriza, no sin ironía, como un proceso de modernización de la sexualidad.”
Beatriz Preciado, Testo Junkie: Sex, Drugs, and Biopolitics in the Pharmacopornographic Era

Renate Lachmann
“In der Tat ist Foucaults Werk ein verwirrendes Labyrinth, in welchem der Autor,
der keiner sein will und in Wahrheit nie das ist, was er zunächst zu sein scheint,
umherirrt und sich verliert.”
Renate Lachmann, Memory and Literature: Intertextuality in Russian Modernism

Rabih Alameddine
“Compared to the complexity of understanding grief, reading Foucault or Blanchot is like perusing a children’s picture book.”
Rabih Alameddine, An Unnecessary Woman

Hervé Guibert
“Muzil passa une matinée à l'hôpital pour faire des examens, il me raconta à quel point le corps, il l'avait oublié, lancé dans les circuits médicaux, perd toute identité, ne reste plus qu'un paquet de chair involontaire, brinquebalé par-ci par-là, à peine un matricule, un nom passé dans la moulinette administrative, exsangue de son histoire et de sa dignité.”
Hervé Guibert, À l'ami qui ne m'a pas sauvé la vie

Hervé Guibert
“maintenant qu'il connaissait cette douleur Muzil la craignait par-dessus tout, ça se lisait désormais dans son oeil la panique d'une souffrance qui n'est plus maîtrisée à l'intérieur du corps mais provoquée artificiellement par une intervention extérieure au foyer du mal sous prétexte de la juguler, il était lair que pour Muzil cette souffrance était plus abominable que sa souffrance intime, devenue familière”
Hervé Guibert, À l'ami qui ne m'a pas sauvé la vie

Hervé Guibert
“Dans la cour de l'hôpital éclairée par ce soleil de juin qui devenait la pire injure au malheur, je compris, pour la première fois car quand Stéphane l'avait dit je n'avais pas voulu le croire, que Muzil allait mourir, incessament sous peu, et cette certitude me défigura dans le regard des passants qui me croisaient, ma face en bouille s'écoulait dans mes pleurs et volait en morceaux dans mes cris, j'étais fou de douleur, j'étais le Cri de Munch.”
Hervé Guibert, À l'ami qui ne m'a pas sauvé la vie

Jean Baudrillard
“Foucault: the obsession with an ever more precise genealogy, the ever more scientific elision of an effect in the present by the exhaustion of a preliminary objectivity. It is like a system of thought that has begun to spin on its axis when confronted with an obstacle it will never get over - it will never jump over its shadow, the procedures that engender it, its retrospective sequential logic. This is the way you become an absolute reference, by connecting up with an inflexible heredity of knowledge, with an authority which necessarily seeks to ground itself further and further back in time. An austere line this, which allows itself neither anticipation nor even a breakthrough into the present, which allows itself no mental infringement of the law of its species, Which is that you have to be sure of what you are asserting. This is illusory because no thinking can be sure of itself, nor conscious of its own mechanisms. It must take the risk of what it does not say, rather than simply being so careful about what it says. Even if there is a great objective modesty in Foucault's prudence, his tragedy lies in his never having managed to cross this defensive line, of having walled himself up in his own discriminations, always demanding another power. Foucault put all his strategic efforts into constructing that demand, all his energy, which was increasingly uncertain of its own state, and increasingly confused by the exaggeration of his reputation. He died of that infinite regression, disappeared, leaving us no hope, but leaving little for himself either, on the ambiguous fringes of the very Highest Scholarship.”
Jean Baudrillard, Cool Memories

Jean Baudrillard
“There are things one can no longer talk about or cannot yet talk about again. Their ghosts have not yet been stabilized. Marxism?
There are others we cannot talk about yet, or can no longer talk about, because their ghosts are already running around the streets; they are already preceded by their shades. Information, communication?
One only speaks well of what is disappearing. The class struggle, the dialectic in Marx, power and sexuality in Foucault. Analysis itself contributes to hastening their end.”
Jean Baudrillard, Cool Memories

Michel Foucault
“I had been mad enough to study reason; I was reasonable enough to study madness.”
Michel Foucault

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