Keeping It Implicit: A Defense of Foucault’s Archaeology of Knowledge

Tuomo Tiisala
University of Helsinki
This paper defends Michel Foucault’s notion of archaeology of knowledge against the influential and putatively devastating criticism by Dreyfus and Rabinow that Foucault’s archaeological project is based on an incoherent conception of the rules of the discursive practices it purports to study. I argue first that Foucault’s considered view of these rules as simultaneously implicit and historically efficacious corresponds to a general requirement for the normative structure of a discursive practice. Then I argue that Foucault is entitled to that view despite the charges to the contrary by Dreyfus and Rabinow. I also explain in detail how the argument by Dreyfus and Rabinow arises from a misunderstanding of Foucault’s archaeological project as transcendental inquiry, while archaeology of knowledge is, in fact, a diagnostic project. The result is a novel understanding of the notion of archaeology of knowledge that enables a reassessment of Foucault’s philosophical work in connection with current debates regarding the relationship between reflection and practice in the structure of thought.
Keywords Foucault  rule-following  theories of knowledge and justification  unconscious  knowledge-how  twentieth-century philosophy
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1017/apa.2015.29
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 49,066
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

The Concept of Mind.Gilbert Ryle - 1949 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 141:125-126.
Being and Time.Ronald W. Hepburn, Martin Heidegger, John Macquarrie & Edward Robinson - 1964 - Philosophical Quarterly 14 (56):276.
The Return of the Myth of the Mental.Hubert L. Dreyfus - 2007 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 50 (4):352 – 365.
Against Intellectualism.Alva Noë - 2005 - Analysis 65 (4):278-290.

View all 18 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Foucault's Historiographical Expansion: Adding Genealogy to Archaeology.Colin Koopman - 2008 - Journal of the Philosophy of History 2 (3):338-362.
Deep History: Reflections on the Archive and the Lifeworld.James Dodd - 2016 - Continental Philosophy Review 49 (1):29-39.
Knowledge of Meaning.Bernhard Weiss - 2003 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 104 (1):75–92.
Knowledge of Meaning.Bernhard Weiss - 2004 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 104 (1):75 - 94.


Added to PP index

Total views
50 ( #182,882 of 2,311,192 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #263,184 of 2,311,192 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature