Chapter

Pyramids and Prisms: <i>Reading Foucault in 3-D</i>

in Sartre, Foucault, and Historical Reason

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print February 2005 | ISBN: 9780226254708
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226254722 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226254722.003.0007
Pyramids and Prisms: Reading Foucault in 3-D

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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

Chapter.  12860 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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