Michel Foucault has for some years been the most prominent French practitioner of the history of ideas….
Foucault, who is in his forties, has always wanted to make a break with the preceding generation of fashionable French intellectuals, led by men like Sartre and Merleau-Ponty, with their Germanic love of total metaphysics, and their austere rebarbative styles. Foucault has restored pleasure to French philosophy: what he has failed to restore is clarity. One thing, indeed, which he has never hitherto made clear is the nature of his own activity as a theorist. He does not like to be called a historian: and his own word for what he does is "archaeology." His latest book [The Archaeology of...
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