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About the Beginning of the Hermeneutics of the Self

by Michel Foucault Graham Burchell Henri-Paul Fruchaud Orazio Irrera Arnold I. Davidson Daniele Lorenzini Martina Tazzioli Laura Cremonesi

In 1980, Michel Foucault began a vast project of research on the relationship between subjectivity and truth, an examination of conscience, confession, and truth-telling that would become a crucial feature of his life-long work on the relationship between knowledge, power, and the self. The lectures published here offer one of the clearest pathways into this project, contrasting Greco-Roman techniques of the self with those of early Christian monastic culture in order to uncover, in the latter, the historical origin of many of the features that still characterize the modern subject. They are accompanied by a public discussion and debate as well as by an interview with Michael Bess, all of which took place at the University of California, Berkeley, where Foucault delivered an earlier and slightly different version of these lectures. Foucault analyzes the practices of self-examination and confession in Greco-Roman antiquity and in the first centuries of Christianity in order to highlight a radical transformation from the ancient Delphic principle of "know thyself" to the monastic precept of "confess all of your thoughts to your spiritual guide." His aim in doing so is to retrace the genealogy of the modern subject, which is inextricably tied to the emergence of the "hermeneutics of the self"--the necessity to explore one's own thoughts and feelings and to confess them to a spiritual director--in early Christianity. According to Foucault, since some features of this Christian hermeneutics of the subject still determine our contemporary "gnoseologic" self, then the genealogy of the modern subject is both an ethical and a political enterprise, aiming to show that the "self" is nothing but the historical correlate of a series of technologies built into our history. Thus, from Foucault's perspective, our main problem today is not to discover what "the self" is, but to try to analyze and change these technologies in order to change its form.

The Archaeology of Knowledge

by Michel Foucault

In France, a country that awards its intellectuals the status other countries give their rock stars, Michel Foucault was part of a glittering generation of thinkers, one which also included Sartre, de Beauvoir and Deleuze. One of the great intellectual heroes of the twentieth century, Foucault was a man whose passion and reason were at the service of nearly every progressive cause of his time. From law and order, to mental health, to power and knowledge, he spearheaded public awareness of the dynamics that hold us all in thrall to a few powerful ideologies and interests. Arguably his finest work, Archaeology of Knowledge is a challenging but fantastically rewarding introduction to his ideas.

The Birth of the Clinic: Archaeology of Medical Perception

by Michel Foucault A. M. Sheridan Smith

In the eighteenth century, medicine underwent a mutation. For the first time, medical knowledge took on a precision that had formerly belonged only to mathematics. The body became something that could be mapped. Disease became subject to new rules of classification. And doctors begin to describe phenomena that for centuries had remained below the threshold of the visible and expressible. In The Birth of the Clinic the philosopher and intellectual historian who may be the true heir to Nietzsche charts this dramatic transformation of medical knowledge. As in his classic Madness and Civilization, Michel Foucault shows how much what we think of as pure science owes to social and cultural attitudes -- in this case, to the climate of the French Revolution. Brilliant, provocative, and omnivorously learned, his book sheds new light on the origins of our current notions of health and sickness, life and death.

The Chomsky - Foucault Debate

by Noam Chomsky Michel Foucault

In 1971, at the height of the Vietnam War and at a time of great political and social instability, two of the world's leading intellectuals, Noam Chomsky and Michel Foucault, were invited by Dutch philosopher Fons Elders to debate an age-old question: is there such a thing as "innate" human nature independent of our experiences and external influences?The resulting dialogue is one of the most original, provocative, and spontaneous exchanges to have occurred between contemporary philosophers, and above all serves as a concise introduction to their basic theories. What begins as a philosophical argument rooted in linguistics (Chomsky) and the theory of knowledge (Foucault), soon evolves into a broader discussion encompassing a wide range of topics, from science, history, and behaviorism to creativity, freedom, and the struggle for justice in the realm of politics.In addition to the debate itself, this volume features a newly written introduction by noted Foucault scholar John Rajchman and includes substantial additional texts by Chomsky and Foucault.

The Chomsky-Foucault Debate: On Human Nature

by Noam Chomsky Michel Foucault

Two of the twentieth century's most influential thinkers debate a perennial question. In 1971, at the height of the Vietnam War and at a time of great political and social instability, two of the world's leading intellectuals, Noam Chomsky and Michel Foucault, were invited by Dutch philosopher Fons Edlers to debate an age-old question: is there such a thing as "innate" human nature independent of our experiences and external influences? The resulting dialogue is one of the most original, provocative, and spontaneous exchanges to have occurred between contemporary philosophers, and above all serves as a concise introduction to their basic theories. What begins as a philosophical argument rooted in linguistics (Chomsky) and the theory of knowledge (Foucault), soon evolves into a broader discussion encompassing a wide range of topics, from science, history, and behaviorism to creativity, freedom, and the struggle for justice in the realm of politics. In addition to the debate itself, this volume features a newly written introduction by noted Foucault scholar John Rajchman and includes additional text by Noam Chomsky.

Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison

by Michel Foucault

In this brilliant work, the most influential philosopher since Sartre suggests that such vaunted reforms as the abolition of torture and the emergence of the modern penitentiary have merely shifted the focus of punishment from the prisoner's body to his soul.

Discipline & Punish

by Michel Foucault

In this brilliant work, the most influential philosopher since Sartre suggests that such vaunted reforms as the abolition of torture and the emergence of the modern penitentiary have merely shifted the focus of punishment from the prisoner's body to his soul.

The Foucault Reader

by Michel Foucault

Michel Foucault was one of the most influential thinkers in the contemporary world, someone whose work has affected the teaching of half a dozen disciplines ranging from literary criticism to the history of criminology. But of his many books, not one offers a satisfactory introduction to the entire complex body of his work. The Foucault Reader was commissioned precisely to serve that purpose. The Reader contains selections from each area of Foucault's work as well as a wealth of previously unpublished writings, including important material written especially for this volume, the preface to the long-awaited second volume of The History of Sexuality, and interviews with Foucault himself, in the course of which he discussed his philosophy at first hand and with unprecedented candor. This philosophy comprises an astonishing intellectual enterprise: a minute and ongoing investigation of the nature of power in society. Foucault's analyses of this power as it manifests itself in society, schools, hospitals, factories, homes, families, and other forms of organized society are brought together in The Foucault Reader to create an overview of this theme and of the broad social and political vision that underlies it. Edited by Paul Rabinow.

Herculine Barbin

by Michel Foucault Herculine Barbin

With an eye for the sensual bloom of young schoolgirls, and the torrid style of the romantic novels of her day, Herculine Barbin tells the story of her life as a hermaphrodite. Herculine was designated female at birth. A pious girl in a Catholic orphanage, a bewildered adolescent enchanted by the ripening bodies of her classmates, a passionate lover of another schoolmistress, she is suddenly reclassified as a man. Alone and desolate, he commits suicide at the age of thirty in a miserable attic in Paris. Here, in an erotic diary, is one lost voice from our sexual past. Provocative, articulate, eerily prescient as she imagines her corpse under the probing instruments of scientists, Herculine brings a disturbing perspective to our own notions of sexuality. Michel Foucault, who discovered these memoirs in the archives of the French Department of Public Hygiene, presents them with the graphic medical descriptions of Herculine's body before and after her death. In a striking contrast, a painfully confused young person and the doctors who examine her try to sort out the nature of masculine and feminine at the dawn of the age of modern sexuality. "Herculine Barbin can be savored like a libertine novel. The ingenousness of Herculine, the passionate yet equivocal tenderness which thrusts her into the arms, even into the beds, of her companions, gives these pages a charm strangely erotic...Michel Foucault has a genius for bringing to light texts and reviving destinies outside the ordinary."Le Monde, July 1978

Herculine Barbin: Being the Recently Discovered Memoirs of a Nineteenth-Century French Hermaphrodite

by Michel Foucault Richard Mcdougall

With an eye for the sensual bloom of young schoolgirls, and the torrid style of the romantic novels of her day, Herculine Barbin tells the story of her life as a hermaphrodite. Herculine was designated female at birth. A pious girl in a Catholic orphanage, a bewildered adolescent enchanted by the ripening bodies of her classmates, a passionate lover of another schoolmistress, she is suddenly reclassified as a man. Alone and desolate, he commits suicide at the age of thirty in a miserable attic in Paris. Here, in an erotic diary, is one lost voice from our sexual past. Provocative, articulate, eerily prescient as she imagines her corpse under the probing instruments of scientists, Herculine brings a disturbing perspective to our own notions of sexuality. Michel Foucault, who discovered these memoirs in the archives of the French Department of Public Hygiene, presents them with the graphic medical descriptions of Herculine's body before and after her death. In a striking contrast, a painfully confused young person and the doctors who examine her try to sort out the nature of masculine and feminine at the dawn of the age of modern sexuality. "Herculine Barbin can be savored like a libertine novel. The ingenousness of Herculine, the passionate yet equivocal tenderness which thrusts her into the arms, even into the beds, of her companions, gives these pages a charm strangely erotic. . . Michel Foucault has a genius for bringing to light texts and reviving destinies outside the ordinary. " Le Monde, July 1978

The History of Sexuality

by Michel Foucault

The author turns his attention to sex and the reasons why we are driven constantly to analyze and discuss it. An iconoclastic explanation of modern sexual history.

The History of Sexuality, Vol. 1: An Introduction

by Michel Foucault

Discusses the social construction of sexuality.

The History of Sexuality, Vol. 3

by Michel Foucault

The Care of the Self is the third and possibly final volume of Michel Foucault's widely acclaimed examination of "the experience of sexuality in Western society." Foucault takes us into the first two centuries of our own era, into the Golden Age of Rome, to reveal a subtle but decisive break from the classical Greek vision of sexual pleasure. He skillfully explores the whole corpus of moral reflection among philosophers (Plutarch, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, Seneca) and physicians of the era, and uncovers an increasing mistrust of pleasure and growing anxiety over sexual activity and its consequences.

The History of Sexuality, Vol. 3: The Care of the Self

by Michel Foucault Robert Hurley

The Care of the Self is the third and possibly final volume of Michel Foucault's widely acclaimed examination of "the experience of sexuality in Western society." Foucault takes us into the first two centuries of our own era, into the Golden Age of Rome, to reveal a subtle but decisive break from the classical Greek vision of sexual pleasure. He skillfully explores the whole corpus of moral reflection among philosophers (Plutarch, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, Seneca) and physicians of the era, and uncovers an increasing mistrust of pleasure and growing anxiety over sexual activity and its consequences.

Language, Madness, and Desire

by Michel Foucault Robert Bononno Jean-François Bert Mathieu Potte-Bonneville Philippe Artières Judith Revel

As a transformative thinker of the twentieth century, whose work spanned all branches of the humanities, Michel Foucault had a complex and profound relationship with literature. And yet this critical aspect of his thought, because it was largely expressed in speeches and interviews, remains virtually unknown to even his most loyal readers. This book brings together previously unpublished transcripts of oral presentations in which Foucault speaks at length about literature and its links to some of his principal themes: madness, language and criticism, and truth and desire. The associations between madness and language--and madness and silence--preoccupy Foucault in two 1963 radio broadcasts, presented here, in which he ranges among literary examples from Cervantes and Shakespeare to Diderot, before taking up questions about Artaud's literary correspondence, lettres de cachet, and the materiality of language. In his lectures on the relations among language, the literary work, and literature, he discusses Joyce, Proust, Chateaubriand, Racine, and Corneille, as well as the linguist Roman Jakobson. What we know as literature, Foucault contends, begins with the Marquis de Sade, to whose writing--particularly La Nouvelle Justine and Juliette--he devotes a full two-part lecture series focusing on notions of literary self-consciousness.Following his meditations on history in the recently published Speech Begins after Death, this current volume makes clear the importance of literature to Foucault's thought and intellectual development.

Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason

by Michel Foucault

Perhaps the French philosopher's masterpiece, which is concerned with an extraordinary question: What does it mean to be mad?

The Order of Things

by Michel Foucault

"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

Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings 1972-1977

by Michel Foucault

Michel Foucault has become famous for a series of books that have permanently altered our understanding of many institutions of Western society. He analyzed mental institutions in the remarkable Madness and Civilization; hospitals in The Birth of the Clinic; prisons in Discipline and Punish; and schools and families in The History of Sexuality. But the general reader as well as the specialist is apt to miss the consistent purposes that lay behind these difficult individual studies, thus losing sight of the broad social vision and political aims that unified them. Now, in this superb set of essays and interviews, Foucault has provided a much-needed guide to Foucault. These pieces, ranging over the entire spectrum of his concerns, enabled Foucault, in his most intimate and accessible voice, to interpret the conclusions of his research in each area and to demonstrate the contribution of each to the magnificent -- and terrifying -- portrait of society that he was patiently compiling. For, as Foucault shows, what he was always describing was the nature of power in society; not the conventional treatment of power that concentrates on powerful individuals and repressive institutions, but the much more pervasive and insidious mechanisms by which power "reaches into the very grain of individuals, touches their bodies and inserts itself into their actions and attitudes, their discourses, learning processes and everyday lives" Foucault's investigations of prisons, schools, barracks, hospitals, factories, cities, lodgings, families, and other organized forms of social life are each a segment of one of the most astonishing intellectual enterprises of all time -- and, as this book proves, one which possesses profound implications for understanding the social control of our bodies and our minds.

The Temptation of Saint Anthony

by Lafcadio Hearn Gustave Flaubert Michel Foucault

A book that deeply influenced the young Freud and was the inspiration for many artists, The Temptation of Saint Anthony was Flaubert's lifelong work, thirty years in the making. Based on the story of the third-century saint who lived on an isolated mountaintop in the Egyptian desert, it is a fantastical rendering of one night during which Anthony is besieged by carnal temptations and philosophical doubt. This Modern Library Paperback Classic reproduces the distinguished Lafcadio Hearn translation, which translator Richard Sieburth calls "a splendid period piece from one of America's premier translators of nineteenth-century French prose. In Lafcadio Hearn's Latinate rendering, Flaubert's experimental drama of the modern consciousness reads as weirdly as its oneiric original."

Wrong-Doing, Truth-Telling: The Function of Avowal in Justice

by Michel Foucault Bernard E. Harcourt edited by Fabienne Brion translated by Stephen W. Sawyer

Three years before his death, Michel Foucault delivered a series of lectures at the Catholic University of Louvain that until recently remained almost unknown. These lectures--which focus on the role of avowal, or confession, in the determination of truth and justice--provide the missing link between Foucault's early work on madness, delinquency, and sexuality and his later explorations of subjectivity in Greek and Roman antiquity. Ranging broadly from Homer to the twentieth century, Foucault traces the early use of truth-telling in ancient Greece and follows it through to practices of self-examination in monastic times. By the nineteenth century, the avowal of wrongdoing was no longer sufficient to satisfy the call for justice; there remained the question of who the "criminal" was and what formative factors contributed to his wrong-doing. The call for psychiatric expertise marked the birth of the discipline of psychiatry in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as well as its widespread recognition as the foundation of criminology and modern criminal justice. Published here for the first time, the 1981 lectures have been superbly translated by Stephen W. Sawyer and expertly edited and extensively annotated by Fabienne Brion and Bernard E. Harcourt. They are accompanied by two contemporaneous interviews with Foucault in which he elaborates on a number of the key themes. An essential companion to "Discipline and Punish," "Wrong-Doing, Truth-Telling" will take its place as one of the most significant works of Foucault to appear in decades, and will be necessary reading for all those interested in his thought.

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