Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Hayden White, the eminent historian who was amongst the first serious commentators in English on Foucault remarks on his blog:

A lot of people still seem to be disturbed by the idea that the language one uses to represent one’s thought or a world external to one’ self might have some effect on the content of what one says about either. Some seem to think that language could be a neutral “container” of a message rather than part of the “contained.” This fear or anxiety over what people call the “linguistic turn” (as if writing or speaking had not always been turned towards the linguistic) shows up among defenders of particular thinkers or pundits whose work has been submitted to linguistic-literary-rhetorical analysis by “eccentrics” like me who think that the “how” of expression is just as important for understanding an utterance as the “what” expressed.

Thus, my analysis of the philosophy of history informing Michel Foucault’s Les mots et les choses (English: The Order of Things) which is about nothing if it is not about discourse,in fact, is a discourse on discourse and discursivity, including the discourse of philosophy of history, this analysis is pilloried by a number of critics because it seems to be based on belief in a kind of linguistic determinism which pre-determines both the “content” of Foucault’s work and its “form” of expression.

See Hayden White’s blog for the rest of the post

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