Rue Descartes 75 (3):114 (2012)

Gabriel Rockhill
Villanova University
This paper explores Michel Foucault’s contribution to rethinking the nature of the present through his examination of the ontology of contemporary reality he locates in Immanuel Kant’s “What Is Enlightenment?” By raising a series of critical questions concerning the epochal thinking that plagues Foucault’s various engagements with this text, the article goes on to argue that the attempt to find a single concept—or question—that appropriately summarizes a given era is an endeavor fraught with methodological problems. Highlighting the limitations of Foucault’s approach in spite of his attempt to rethink modernity as an attitude, the paper concludes by advocating an alternative logic of history that definitively abandons epochal thinking in favor of a topological mapping of historical force fields in which it is recognized that there is no being behind time
Keywords Historiography  History of Present  Michel Foucault  Immanuel Kant  Enlightenment
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DOI 10.3917/rdes.075.0114
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