Interview with Gary Gutting

Progressive Geographies

MFAOSRAt 3am magazine – Gutting’s Michel Foucault’s Archaeology of Scientific Reasonwas one of the first books on Foucault I read, in the first year of my PhD.

3:AM: You are well known as an expert on various French intellectuals and philosophers. Michel Foucault has been a thinker that you have found important and interesting. You’ve written extensively about him. So firstly, can you sketch out what you understand Foucault’s central contributions to philosophy to have been, in particular his ideas of ‘discourse’, of an ‘archeology of knowledge’ and a ‘genealogical method’?

GG: I see Foucault as more a philosophically informed and oriented historian than as a philosopher in any traditional sense. He typically writes what he calls “histories of the present”, meaning that he starts from what he sees as an ethically intolerable practice of contemporary life (e.g., the treatment of the mad or the system of imprisoning criminals)…

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