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Sartre, Foucault, and Historical ReasonA Poststructuralist Mapping of History$
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Thomas R. Flynn

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780226254708

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226254722.001.0001

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Foucault and the Historians

Foucault and the Historians

(p.3) Chapter One Foucault and the Historians
Sartre, Foucault, and Historical Reason
University of Chicago Press

This book is an attempt to think with Foucault about Foucault. It resists following the standard developmental approach to his thought, not because that method is fruitless or invalid but because Foucault avoided such developmental models in the various “histories” that he crafted. The book aims to compare and contrast the implicit theories of history employed by two of the leading French intellectuals of their respective generations—Sartre and Foucault. The book assembles the basics of the Foucauldian approach and then focuses on the visual and spatialized character of Foucault's studies, culminating in the contrasting pyramidal and prismatic models of historical reason that emblemize Sartre and Foucault, respectively. This chapter presents Foucault as a philosophical historian in the context of what was called the “new” history of his day as against the narrativist history of battles, treaties, world historical figures, or even the intellectual history (history of ideas) with which one is tempted to identify his “histories.” The chapter concludes by providing an overview of what are commonly seen as three stages in Foucault's thought: the archaeological, the genealogical, and the problematizing.

Keywords:   Foucault, Sartre, intellectual history, philosophy, developmental models, thought

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