Ideas of Michel Foucault, by Theme

[French, 1926 - 1984, Born at Poitiers. Professor at the Collège de France, Paris.]

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1. Philosophy / B. History of Ideas / 2. Ancient Thought
Early Greeks cared about city and companions; later Greeks concentrated on the self
1. Philosophy / C. History of Philosophy / 4. Later European Philosophy / c. Eighteenth century philosophy
The big issue since the eighteenth century has been: what is Reason? Its effect, limits and dangers?
1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 3. Philosophy Defined
Critical philosophy is what questions domination at every level
1. Philosophy / H. Continental Philosophy / 1. Continental Philosophy
Philosophy and politics are fundamentally linked
1. Philosophy / H. Continental Philosophy / 4. Linguistic Structuralism
Structuralism systematically abstracted the event from sciences, and even from history
2. Reason / A. Nature of Reason / 2. Logos
When logos controls our desires, we have actually become the logos
3. Truth / A. Truth Problems / 4. Uses of Truth
'Truth' is the procedures for controlling which statements are acceptable
3. Truth / A. Truth Problems / 9. Rejecting Truth
Truth doesn't arise from solitary freedom, but from societies with constraints
11. Knowledge Aims / A. Knowledge / 1. Knowledge
Why does knowledge appear in sudden bursts, and not in a smooth continuous development?
13. Knowledge Criteria / E. Relativism / 1. Relativism
Saying games of truth were merely power relations would be a horrible exaggeration
16. Persons / E. Rejecting the Self / 2. Self as Social Construct
A subject is a form which can change, in (say) political or sexual situations
22. Metaethics / A. Value / 2. Values / e. Fine deeds
Why couldn't a person's life become a work of art?
22. Metaethics / B. The Good / 3. Pleasure / b. Types of pleasure
Greeks and early Christians were much more concerned about food than about sex
22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 1. Nature of Ethics / b. Defining ethics
Ethics is the conscious practice of freedom
25. Society / B. The State / 1. Purpose of a State
Every society has a politics of truth, concerning its values, functions, prestige and mechanisms
25. Society / C. Social Justice / 2. Social Freedom / e. Freedom of lifestyle
The idea of liberation suggests there is a human nature which has been repressed
25. Society / C. Social Justice / 2. Social Freedom / g. Social power
Marxists denounced power as class domination, but never analysed its mechanics
Power doesn't just repress, but entices us with pleasure, artefacts, knowledge and discourse
Foucault can't accept that power is sometimes decent and benign [Scruton]
The aim is not to eliminate power relations, but to reduce domination
25. Society / C. Social Justice / 5. Right to Punish / d. Reform of offenders
Power is used to create identities and ways of life for other people [Shorten]
25. Society / E. State Functions / 4. Education / d. History study
History lacks 'meaning', but it can be analysed in terms of its struggles