Foucault News

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

There are games of truth in which truth is a construction and others in which it is not. One can have, for example, a game of truth that consists of describing things in such and such a way: a person giving an anthropological description of a society supplies not a construction but a description, which itself has a certain number of historically changing rules, so that one can say that it is to a certain extent a construction with respect to another description. This does not mean that there’s just a void, that everything is a figment of the imagination. On the basis of what can be said, for example, about this transformation of games of truth, some people conclude that I have said that nothing exists-I have been seen as saying that madness does not exist, whereas the problem is absolutely the converse: it was a question of knowing how madness, under the various definitions that have been given, was at a particular time integrated into an institutional field that constituted it as a mental illness occupying a specific place alongside other illnesses.

Michel Foucault (1997). The ethics of the concern of the self as a practice of freedom. In P. Rabinow (Ed.), R. Hurley and others (Trans.), The essential works of Michel Foucault, 1954– 1984: Vol. 1. Ethics: Subjectivity and truth. Harmondsworth, UK: Allen Lane, Penguin, p.297

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