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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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The Eclipse of Vision?

The Eclipse of Vision?

(p.83) Chapter Four The Eclipse of Vision?
Sartre, Foucault, and Historical Reason
University of Chicago Press

Having charted the conceptual coordinates of Foucault's historiography, this chapter turns to what is taken to be characteristically poststructuralist about his approach—namely, his emphasis on space over time both in the metaphors he employs and especially in the arguments he mounts. The chapter locates this “spatialized” reasoning in the context of a general movement against the hegemony of vision in Western thought. The chapter considers the extent to which Foucault's ocular epistemology constitutes the transformation of an earlier visual approach and entails a displacement of the temporalizing logic of the subject by a spatializing rationality that could be called “postmodern.” The chapter reviews Foucault's use of “transformation” and “displacement” to understand the hegemony of vision in the modern era. The chapter examines such transformation and displacement in Foucault's own thought, concluding with some observations about the viability of the middle way that he has been attempting to chart between structuralism or what he calls “formalism” and “dialectics.”

Keywords:   Foucault, philosophical vision, poststructuralism, metaphors, Western thought, epistemology, formalism, spatialized reasoning

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