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
A philosopher is one who cares about what other people care about
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 / B. Concept of the Self / 6. Denial of the Self
A subject is a form which can change, in (say) political or sexual situations
22. Metaethics / A. Value / 2. Values / d. Fine deeds
Stoicism was an elitist option to lead a beautiful life
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 / B. The State / 5. Leaders / c. Despotism
Power doesn't just repress, but entices us with pleasure, artefacts, knowledge and discourse
25. Society / B. The State / 6. Government / a. Government
Foucault can't accept that power is sometimes decent and benign
25. Society / B. The State / 7. Changing the State / b. Devolution
The aim is not to eliminate power relations, but to reduce domination
25. Society / C. Political Doctrines / 9. Communism
Marxists denounced power as class domination, but never analysed its mechanics
25. Society / D. Social Rights / 2. Social Freedom / e. Freedom of lifestyle
The idea of liberation suggests there is a human nature which has been repressed
25. Society / E. State Functions / 5. Education / d. History study
History lacks 'meaning', but it can be analysed in terms of its struggles