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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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Pyramids and Prisms: Reading Foucault in 3-D

Pyramids and Prisms: Reading Foucault in 3-D

(p.143) Chapter Seven Pyramids and Prisms: Reading Foucault in 3-D
Sartre, Foucault, and Historical Reason
University of Chicago Press

This chapter applies the spatial argument to Foucault's own works. Foucault's repeated use of spatial metaphors is not just symptomatic of his rhetorical inclinations. Rather, his reliance on spatial terms enters into the very arguments themselves. The tables, triangles, and quadrilaterals that intersperse his archaeological studies, the “capillary” action of power relations in his genealogies, and even the subjectivizing “spaces” of his later problematizations serve not merely to illustrate but to further their respective arguments. The chapter discusses how these spatial images are ingredient in the working of the argument itself, like the imaginative models of a scientific theory. The chapter underscores the spatialization of reason at work in Foucault's texts. But his spatialized reasoning does not merely juxtapose, it compares and contrasts. Because Sartre's theory of history is in large part indebted to the concept of dialectical reason, it is appropriate to ask what some of the effects of such an attack on the dialectic might be.

Keywords:   Foucault, spatial metaphors, spatialized reasoning, dialectical reason, Sartre, history

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