Foucault’s Usage of the Phenomenological Epoché
Invited conference paper presented and published in conference proceedings


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AbstractIn his first master work devoted to the study of the archaeology of reason in Europe, namely "Folie et déraison: Histoire de la folie à l’âge classique", the original title of "History of Madness", Foucault faced the difficulty of explaining in comprehensible terms the task of a history of madness which no one has attempted before him. How to proceed to write such a history at its degree zero? If madness is the absence of reason, how to make sense of something which precisely has no sense? Or rather, madness has had expressed some sense by itself, but reduced to silence in the course of European history. In order to liberate madness from the silencing act of the history of modern Reason in Europe, Foucault has to return to the constitutive act which has enforced this silencing of madness. The terms and language Foucault uses to describe the attitude adopted, the method employed and the motivation which animates this research in the Preface to the first edition of "Folie et déraison: Histoire de la folie à l’âge classique", have a surprising proximity to the language of phenomenology used in the French intellectual community. In particular, Our paper shows in what way Foucault practices the epoché on opinions and scientific knowledge on madness and goes back to the operational intentional act which initiates the division between reason and madness. Our paper also shows that Foucault's use of the epoché reappears againn in his later works.
All Author(s) ListLAU Kwok-ying
Name of ConferencePhenomenology and Anti-Phenomenology in Post-War France
Start Date of Conference02/03/2017
End Date of Conference04/03/2017
Place of ConferenceHong Kong
Country/Region of ConferenceHong Kong
Year2017
LanguagesEnglish-United States
KeywordsFoucault, phenomenology, anti-phenomenology, epoché

Last updated on 2018-23-05 at 10:46