Foucault: Historian or Philosopher?

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9780312034634: Foucault: Historian or Philosopher?

Michael Foucault's solution to the question of how to most accurately describe the reality of existence, was to write a "History of the Limits", of that edge between the orderly and historical systems societies impose upon the world (the Same) and that which is outside, or beyond that order (the Other). During the 1960s and 1970s he sought to justify his beliefs. This book which includes discussions of most of the writings of Michael Foucault, focuses particularly on "Histoire de la Folie" written at the beginning of his career and "What is Enlightenment", written at the end. The author deals with his work in philosophical terms, as a historical, philosophical and ethical reflection on the "limits" of history, society and culture. At the same time this work is placed in its intellectual context and reference is made to its reception in French and English. The examination of secondary literature is limited in a number of ways. Firstly, only French and English speaking literature, which forms the main body of writings on Foucault is dealt with. This also provides an opportunity to look at some of the similarities and differences between the French and Anglo-Saxon intellectual mentalities. Secondly, questions of empirical and specialized application are put aside and a series of recurrent and important issues relating to philosophy and history are addressed. In addition, the author presents a more comprehensive treatment of literature produced before Foucault's death in 1984 than of literature produced after that date.

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