Foucault and Enlightenment: A Critical Reappraisal

Constellations 10 (2):180-198 (2003)
Abstract
In a late discussion of Kant’s essay, “Was ist Aufklärung?,” Foucault credits Kant with posing “the question of his own present” and positions himself as an inheritor of this Kantian legacy.1 Foucault has high praise for the critical tradition that emerges from Kant’s historical-political reflections on the Enlightenment and the French Revolution; Kant’s concern in these writings with “an ontology of the present, an ontology of ourselves” is, he says, characteristic of “a form of philosophy, from Hegel, through Nietzsche and Max Weber, to the Frankfurt School,” a form of philosophy in which Foucault, perhaps surprisingly, situates his own work.
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