The Order of Things Quotes

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The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences by Michel Foucault
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The Order of Things Quotes (showing 1-12 of 12)
“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
“Marxism exists in nineteenth-century thought like a fish in water: that is, it is unable to breathe anywhere else.”
Michel Foucault, The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences
“In any given culture and at any given moment, there is always only one 'episteme' that defines the conditions of possibility of all knowledge, whether expressed in theory or silently invested in a practice.”
Michel Foucault, The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences
“To all those who still wish to talk about man, about his reign or his liberation, to all those who still ask themselves questions about what man is in his essence, to all those who wish to take him as their starting-point in their attempts to reach the truth, to all those who, on the other hand, refer all knowledge back to the truths of man himself, to all those who refuse to formalize without anthropologizing, who refuse to mythologize without demystifying, who refuse to think without immediately thinking that it is man who is thinking, to all these warped and twisted forms of reflection we can answer only with a philosophical laugh – which means, to a certain extent, a silent one.”
Michel Foucault, The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences
“It is comforting, however, and a source of profound relief to think that man is only a recent invention, a figure not yet two centuries old, a new wrinkle in our knowledge, and that he will disappear again as soon as that knowledge has discovered a new form.”
Michel Foucault, The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences
“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 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
“This last point is a request to the English-speaking reader. In France, certain half-witted ‘commentators’ persist in labelling me a ‘structuralist’. I have been unable to get it into their tiny minds that I have used none of the methods, concepts, or key terms that characterize structural analysis. I should be grateful if a more serious public would free me from a connection that certainly does me honour, but that I have not deserved.”
Michel Foucault, The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences
“From the point of view of wealth, there is no difference between need, comfort and pleasure”
Michel Foucault, The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences
“Acredita-se que é simular um paradoxo supor, por um só instante, o que poderiam ser o mundo, o pensamento e a verdade se o homem não existisse. É que estamos tão ofuscados pela recente evidência do homem que sequer guardamos em nossa lembrança o tempo, todavia pouco distante, em que existiam o mundo, sua ordem, os seres humanos, mas não o homem. Compreende-se o poder de abalo que pôde ter e que conserva ainda o pensamento de Nietzsche, quando anunciou, sob a forma do acontecimento iminente, da Promessa-Ameaça, que, bem logo, o homem não seria mais - mas, sim, o super-homem; o que, numa filosofia do Retorno, queria dizer que o homem, já desde muito tempo, havia desaparecido e não cessava de desaparecer, e que nosso pensamento moderno do homem, nossa solicitude para com ele, nosso humanismo dormiam serenamente sobre sua retumbante inexistência. A nós, que nos acreditamos ligados a uma finitude que só a nós pertence e que nos abre, pelo conhecer, a verdade do mundo, não deveria ser lembrado que estamos presos ao dorso de um tigre?”
Michel Foucault, The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences
“After Sade, violence, life and death, desire, and sexuality will extend, below the level of representation, an immense expanse of darkness, which we are now attempting to recover...in our discourse, in our freedom, in our thought.”
Michel Foucault, The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences
“In France at least, the history of science and thought gives pride of place to mathematics, cosmology, and physics – noble sciences, rigorous sciences, sciences of the necessary, all close to philosophy: one can observe in their history the almost uninterrupted emergence of truth and pure reason. The other disciplines, however – those, for example, that concern living beings, languages, or economic facts – are considered too tinged with empirical thought, too exposed to the vagaries of chance or imagery, to age-old traditions and external events, for it to be supposed that their history could be anything other than irregular.”
Michel Foucault, The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences
“Among the mutations that have affected the knowledge of things ... only one, which began a century and a half ago ... has allowed the figure of man to appear.”
Michel Foucault, The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences