‘If Man is dead, everything is possible!’ – an early interview with Michel Foucault


French philosopher/historian Michel Foucalt VIDEO/Youtube

Roughly a decade before publishing his two most famous treatises on power – Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (1975) and The History of Sexuality, Volume One (1976) – the French philosopher Michel Foucault rose to prominence with The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences (1966). Written as existentialism fell out of favour among French intellectuals, the ambitious work sought to define a new philosophical epoch in which knowledge could be best understood as arising from ‘large formal systems’ that change over time. In this 1966 interview with the French television broadcaster Pierre Dumayet, Foucault discusses ideas from The Order of Things, including why he believed that Jean-Paul Sartre’s emphasis on the individual made him ‘a man of the 19th century’, and why ‘the disappearance of Man’ presented an exciting opportunity for new moral and political systems to arise.

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