Foucault's Critical Project: Between the Transcendental and the Historical. Beatrice Han.

Foucault's Critical Project: Between the Transcendental and the Historical

Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2002. Edward Pile (translation). First English Edition. Paperback. Used - Very Good/ Near Fine. Minimal wear to wrap. Very lightly toned. Clean, unmarked, tight copy. Notes. Index. 241 pp. Item #11216

This book uncovers and explores the constant tension between the historical and the transcendental that lies at the heart of Michel Foucault's work. In the process, it also assesses the philosophical foundations of his thought by examining his theoretical borrowings from Kant, Nietzsche, and Heidegger, who each provided him with tools to critically rethink the status of the transcendental. Given Foucault's constant focus on the (Kantian) question of the possibility for knowledge, the author argues that his philosophical itinerary can be understood as a series of attempts to historicize the transcendental. In so doing, he seeks to uncover a specific level that would identify these conditions without falling either into an excess of idealism (a de-historicized, subject-centered perspective exemplified for Foucault by Husserlian phenomenology) or of materialism (which would amount to interpreting these conditions as ideological and thus as the effect of economic determination by the infrastructure).

The author concludes that, although this problem does unify Foucault's work and gives it its specifically philosophical dimension, none of the concepts successively provided (such as the épistémè, the historical a priori, the regimes of truth, the games of truth, and problematizations) manages to name these conditions without falling into the pitfalls that Foucault originally denounced as characteristic of the "anthropological sleep"―various forms of confusion between the historical and the transcendental. Although Foucault's work provides us with a highly illuminating analysis of the major problems of post-Kantian philosophies, ultimately it remains aporetic in that it also fails to overcome them.

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