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عنوان: The Order of Things: An Archaeology of Human Sciences
مؤلف: Michel Foucault
مترجم: -
ناشر: Vintage
سال انتشار: 1994
امتیاز آمازون:
تعداد صفحات: 416
شابک: 0679753354
شابک(13): 9780679753353
مشخصات: xxiv, 387 p. ; 21 cm.
رده بندی کنگره: AZ101
دیویی: -
دیویی نرمال: -
نوع فایل: PDF
حجم فایل: 1.41 مگابایت
قیمت پشت جلد: $10.2
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read it.


This book has dramatically changed the way I conceptualize reality. It is hard to follow but incredibly insightful. It will hurt to get through but once you do, you might consider practising your best Mr.Universe pose and claiming -- in the words of the the "Governator" -- "No pain, no gain."

I recommend the following steps to understanding this book:
1) read once;
2) see a psychiatrist;
3) read again;
4) think;
5) read again
6) understand.

Im only considering step two. I might just skip it and go strait to step 3.

Good luck.
 
2006/07/11

Difficult but worth it


This book is one of the most important philosophy texts of the 20th century, if for no other reason than as an eye-opener. The text is a difficult read (although nowhere near as opaque as Derrida). The section on how our culture and, hence, our world-view has been "set" by accepted taxonomies is worth the read all by itself. I have come back to these comments again and again. Taxonomies are useful, but we need to understand the constraints on understanding imposed by such
 
2004/04/05

Obtuse but Sharp


Foucault's stuff is hardly pleasure reading, but it rewards in other ways, more subtly. If you don't read Foucault without coming away with a deeper sense of the world around you, how power and knowledge is diffuse and not central, you would be a rare person. This book isn't so much concerned with power as it is the history of ideas, though.
 
2003/02/25

Order ?.


The order of things is the second book that I read by this late iconoclastic writer. I greatly enjoyed his stimulating and thought provoking "Discipline and Punish" (DP), yet after a struggle that I can only compare to my adolescent reading of the Brothers Karamazov, I ended this book with an overwhelming feeling of its futility.

This book started its life under the French title "les mots et les choses", things and words. In the introduction Foucault tries to provide the reader with both an explanation and a road map for this archaeological expedition. He explains that this book should be seen as an attempt towards describing the evolution of representation of the world in thoughts/words over the last 5 centuries. Not a small task, and not an easy one for that matter.

It is unfortunate that Foucault did not follow the approach that he chose in DP. In that book he chose one central leitmotiv, the spread of discipline from the military throughout an increasingly complex society, and could leave the "main road" at many instances without the risk of the reader getting lost. This book dearly misses such a backbone. Even worse: whenever Foucault seems to suggest one, he willfully/deviously/confusingly immediately takes an unannounced turn. For example in the introduction he goes in detail about the representation of the world in a language of words. OK you think, that sets us on track of a history of the world with Kant at a critical juncture. Yet in the first chapter we suddenly get a cold shower of a completely chaotic and overwrought description of a Velasquez painting, that has been done much better using less than 10% of the number of words, and is at complete odds with the goals set in the introduction.

Next, Foucault visits Cervantes' masterpiece. He describes Don Q. as representing man before arrival of the stage of distinction between things and their representations. Cute of course, but wasn't Cervantes fictitious book meant as a comedy. On top of that, one cannot help but consider Cervantes own representation of the first part of Don Q. in the second part of the novel a much clearer exploration of the subject of representation than Foucault's.

However, inspired by Don Q., Mickey F. chooses his own collection of windmills and goes on a quest that has way more in common with a self-gratulatory/-exploratory/-gratifying acid trip, than the archaeological quest that he promised. Purposely mentioning Kant as the gatekeeper between to eras, but wasting disproportionate amounts of words on some often obscure lesser gods, Foucault could not have done a better job in helping a well-intentioned reader to get lost in this onanistic swamp.

As such, finishing this book became an increasingly aggravating and futile struggle. In despite of all his cunning and virtuosity, it is just a clear impression of blind vanity that remains. Too bad, Michel. A brain -certainly such a good one, as you had- is a terrible thing to waste.
 
2001/08/07

Seminal work of French Structu


As much as Foucault would have hated the label, this book is one of the core texts that anchor the French Structuralist school of thought. So, what does that mean exactly? Well, it means that style is as important, if not more so, than substance. So let me begin with style.

The style of the book is what you're likely to notice most immediately. The Structuralists are famous for subordinating lucidity and logical rigor for what is sometimes called "vast erudition." Vast erudition is that set of decidedly French stylistic elements that include such frequently beautiful techniques as intentional obscurity of meaning; undisciplined, looping, rambling metaphors which go on for pages and pages; flowery, arcane rhetoric; and more neologisms than the French Academy could possibly record. In short, Foucault uses 100 words to say what he could have said in 10, but it is great fun to read despite its difficulty. Trust me, if you didn't get it, probably he didn't intend for you to. And what critics like to hail as erudition is sometimes nothing more than purposeful obscurity and literary name dropping. Daniel Boorstin is as erudite as any French Structuralist, but he is infinitely more lucid.

Now, there's the substance. Foucault's essential thesis is that science is a front for an unconscious network of order relating ALL branches of human knowledge. The thesis is, if anything, an epistemological statement. Typical of modern French scholarship in general, this book cuts a wide interdisciplinary swath through arts and sciences to show how seemingly unrelated fields of human knowledge--biology, economics and language, for example--are really empirical manifestations of the same human process. At the heart of the matter is the notion that all of human knowledge is socially constructed, ignorant of the submerged "order of things" that joins it under the surface. Hence, we must discover this order by means of digging, by means of "archaeology."

So, don't worry about deciphering every sentence. Once you get the essential ideas (they're in the Preface), sit back and enjoy Foucault's collage of words and thoughts.

 
2001/06/14

 
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