Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Talcott, Samuel. (2017). The Education of Philosophy: From Canguilhem and The Teaching of Philosophy to Foucault’s Discipline and Punish, Philosophy Today, Volume 61, Issue 3 (Summer 2017).
doi: 10.5840/philtoday2017918168

Abstract: This paper questions the widespread assumption that education can and should mold students to socially desirable ends. It proceeds by sketching an important part of the intellectual history informing Foucault’s genealogy of this assumption’s emergence in a disciplinary society. This history involves Georges Canguilhem, Foucault’s elective master. And in the relation between the writings of master and student, we find a different exemplification of education, namely, as a thoroughly dialogical and philosophical activity undertaken for the sake of freedom. Examining this historical relation also (1) establishes Canguilhem’s international importance as a philosopher because of his role in the 1953 UNESCO report on The Teaching of Philosophy; (2) helps clarify Foucault’s understanding of philosophical activity as problematization and his understanding of normativity; and (3) helps think about education and the history of philosophy without looking for master theorists, but rather philosophical schools.

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