By attempting a highly original merger of philosophy and history, Michel Foucault set out to revitalize philosophical reflection through several provocative analyses of the Western past.
At the time of his death in June 1984, Michel Foucault had become widely known as `the new Sartre'. By attempting a highly original and daring merger of philosophy and history, he had set out to revitalize Western philosophy with bold, provocative theses on our concepts of madness, the assumtion of science and language, our attitudes to punishment and discipline, and our ideas about sexuality. Finally, he presented new perspectives on the phenomenon of power and its relationship with knowledge.
J. G. Merquior's is an uninhibited critical assessment of Foucault as `a historian of the present'. Encompassing all his published work and a comprehensive array of secondary literature about Foucault, it appraises his philosophical background and his debts to previous thinkers such as Bachelard and Kuhn, and sketches his complex relationship to Fre