Michel Foucault is one of a handful of French thinkers who have, in the last 10 years, given an entirely new direction to theoretical work in the so-called "human sciences," the study of language, literature, psychiatry, intellectual history and the like. He is best known for "The Order of Things" ("Les Mots et les choses"), a rich and controversial work in which he introduced an "archaeological" method of great originality and, I believe, importance. This method, or rather its presuppositions, is the subject of "The Archaeology of Knowledge."
It involves an attempt to decide just what it is about certain utterances or inscriptions—real objects in a real world which leave traces behind to be...
(The entire section is 987 words.)