Freud, Foucault and 'the dialogue with unreason'

Philosophy and Social Criticism 25 (6):29-66 (1999)
The standard interpretations of Foucault's intellectual biography usually present Sartre as his major adversary. Though it would be difficult to underestimate the importance of Sartre for Foucault's development, this paper argues that Foucault was involved in an even more intense and deeper contest with Freud. Indeed, Freud was Foucault's principal adversary and, throughout his career, Foucault was trying to formulate a counter-project to psychoanalysis. The author attempts to demonstrate this claim by examining Foucault's early psychological writings, Madness and Civilization, his encounter with Kant in The Order of Things and The History of Sexuality. He argues, moreover, that Foucault had articulated a project, namely, 'the dialogue with unreason', which not only could have provided a meeting point for his project and Freud's but can still provide a way of getting beyond the exhausted debate between the advocates of the Enlightenment and the Anti-Enlightenment. Because he could never give up the temptation to valorize transgression, however, Foucault was unable to pursue the dialogue with unreason in a systematic way. Key Words: Foucault • Freud • psychoanalysis • reason.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 21,357
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
John M. Ingham (2007). Matricidal Madness in Foucault's Anthropology: The Pierre Rivière Seminar. Ethos: Journal of the Society for Psychological Anthropology 35 (2):130-158.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

36 ( #115,612 of 1,911,386 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #455,910 of 1,911,386 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.