Chapter

Madness

Gary Gutting

in Foucault: A Very Short Introduction

Published in print March 2005 | ISBN: 9780192805577
Published online September 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191776113 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/actrade/9780192805577.003.0007

Series: Very Short Introductions

Madness

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Foucault worked with the mad. He felt outrage towards a perception of madness that admits no meaningful alternatives to standards of normality, one which rejects any beliefs of behaviour that deviate from these standards. ‘Madness’ examines Foucault's ideas about insanity and how madness has come to be perceived by culture. Madness, stated Foucault, suffers from both a conceptual exclusion and a physical exclusion and this reflects a moral condemnation. His History of Madness sustains this argument. The moral fault occurs because madness corresponds to a radical choice to reject humanity and the human community in favour of animality. Despite the voice of madness being silenced, Foucault was fascinated, particularly in the idea that probing the limits of reason will reveal truths.

Keywords: Theodor Adorno; Jacques Derrida; René Descartes; Michel Foucault; Sigmund Freud; Immanuel Kant; Friedrich Nietzsche; Jean-Paul Sartre

Chapter.  3241 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy ; 20th-Century Philosophy

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