Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason

Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason❰Read❯ ➪ Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason Author Michel Foucault – Jobs-in-kingston.co.uk In this classic account of madness, Michel Foucault shows once and for all why he is one of the most distinguished European philosophers since the end of World War II Madness and Civilization, Foucaul In this classic account of Civilization: A MOBI õ madness, Michel Foucault shows once and for all why he is one of the most distinguished European philosophers since the end of World War II Madness and Civilization, Foucault s first book and his finest accomplishment, will change the way in which you think about society Evoking shock, pity and fascination, it might also make you question the way you think about yourself. Folie et D raison Histoire de la Folie l ge Classique Madness and Civilization, Michel FoucaultWhen it was first published in France in 1961 as Folie et D raison Histoire de la Folie l ge Classique, few had heard of a thirty four year old philosopher by the name of Michel Foucault By the time an abridged English edition was published in 1967 as Madness and Civilization, Michel Foucault had shaken the intellectual world Foucault s first major book, Madness and Civilization is an exami Folie et D raison Histoire de la Folie l ge Classique Madness and Civilization, Michel FoucaultWhen it was first published in France in 1961 as Folie et D raison Histoire de la Folie l ge Classique, few had heard of a thirty four year old philosopher by the name of Michel Foucault By the time an abridged English edition was published in 1967 as Madness and Civilization, Michel Foucault had shaken the intellectual world Foucault s first major book, Madness and Civilization is an examination of the evolving meaning of madness in European culture, law, politics, philosophy and medicine from the Middle Ages to the end of the eighteenth century, and a critique of historical method and the idea of history 2011 1377 340 9644461407 20 1490 1500 So muchengaging and grounded than The History of Sexuality Here Foucault takes a wide ranging look at how madness has been constructed in Western civ from the time of the Late Middle Ages to the advent of psychoanalysis, homing in on the long eighteenth century, which the writer brands the classical period, when the mad, indigent, and criminal then one undifferentiated group were confined away from mainstream society, viewed as moral failures, and subjected to intense regimes of punishmen So muchengaging and grounded than The History of Sexuality Here Foucault takes a wide ranging look at how madness has been constructed in Western civ from the time of the Late Middle Ages to the advent of psychoanalysis, homing in on the long eighteenth century, which the writer brands the classical period, when the mad, indigent, and criminal then one undifferentiated group were confined away from mainstream society, viewed as moral failures, and subjected to intense regimes of punishment aiming to purify them and fix their relation to the world The history s idiosyncratic and patchy, not comprehensive, but Foucault s train of thought is almost always interesting to follow Some of what we read here has become commonplace in the world of ideas, but this is where it started for many thinkers of the twentieth century In this volume Foucault illustrates how notions like madness are socially and culturally constructed in any given age and place The criteria for madness are made up, by us, they in part invented for particular social and political purposes Leper colonies housed confined kept from society those with this disease, and when leprosy largely died out there Some of what we read here has become commonplace in the world of ideas, but this is where it started for many thinkers of the twentieth century In this volume Foucault illustrates how notions like madness are socially and culturally constructed in any given age and place The criteria for madness are made up, by us, they in part invented for particular social and political purposes Leper colonies housed confined kept from society those with this disease, and when leprosy largely died out there were these places of confinement we could use for the poor, criminals, and anyone we didn t like, and this is what we do today, though our ideas about madness what it is and how to treat it, how to exclude those that have it in various ways are changing constantly Foucault goes on to write what he calls archeaologies of other disciplines and institutions, but he begins here This was his dissertation, or a version of it, written on the basis of his study in a variety of clinics, his study of philosophy and psychology, and his own experience with therapy It s his first big book, maybe his masterpiece There are books on the history of madness, done in sort of chronological fashion, getting to some sort of accumulative notion of what it is This is how arguments are usually made since the Enlightenment, according to the rules of Reason But Foucault isn t trying to write in this fashion, he has in mind exploring the varieties of madness as with William James, not what religion is, but The Varieties of Religious experience , showing how madness is depicted in art in various periods, in the Renaissance for instance as a part of the world, as a source sometimes of insight and wisdom and difference and mystical or just creative vision, then shifting dramatically in the classical period to horror, to something we need to fear and confine As I said, in the forty years since it was written, ideas of the social construction of reality have become sort of now commonplace, but it was groundbreaking then, work from one of the 2 or 3 greatest thinkers of the twentieth century, maybe, from someone who may have begun this journey in the late forties when he was taken by his parents to a therapist who suggested a cure for his being gay something that was indeed considered a disorder by psychiatry until relatively recently, though as we know, some people in the world still think it is something one can cure.Madness Civ is also a work contending with the universalist assumptions of Grand Theory such as psychoanalysis or Marxism as One Central theory for understanding How the World Works Later, he would himself explore the structures and language or discourse of institutions and disciplines to see the pervasive presence of Power operating everywhere, which many would see as his own Grand Theory of the World Foucault wants to show how power is bound up with knowledge What we understand knowledge to be is a political consideration, sometimes.I have used this book in a class I teach which is a sort of literary inquiry into madness How is it depicted How is it defined in various settings, in certain stories How is related to the psychic, paranormal, fantasy, horror, faith Why is magic not considered knowledge in most settings I also use the book in a course on language and literacy We inevitably talk about our families, our own experiences with madness psychiatry how we treat madness today the homeless crazies that ride public transportation, largely untreated today.Foucault, with Thomas Szasz and others, were seen as part of an anti psychiatry movement Maybe the de institutionalization of the mentally ill came about in part because of this movement I think in general Foucault, following the Renaissance view of madness, romanticizes it as a kind of alternative truth And I worked in a psych hospital for a number of years and worried about the over medicalization of people I still do But I have a son who sometimes experiences psychotic episodes I think without some treatment he would not be able to fully function in the world I live in Chicago where there are thousands of mentally ill folks on the streets, inadequately treated, in my opinion And in my view you can romanticize all of that These folks aren t just free many of them are actually homeless So while I think Foucault s book is brilliant I really do I like Kind Lear s wise fool and the art of Bosch and the poetry of sweet mad John Clare it also has to be understood with some caution UPDATE I realize now as I read Dreyfus and Rabinow that I completely misread this book I read it too quickly, and the book is maddeningly eccentric and so difficult to comprehend Further, I read it without sufficient context either of this book itself, or of Foucault s corpus, or of the philosophical background in which or against which MF is operating The problem is intensified by the fact that Foucault is one of those thinkers who changed his mind extensively from first to last on importa UPDATE I realize now as I read Dreyfus and Rabinow that I completely misread this book I read it too quickly, and the book is maddeningly eccentric and so difficult to comprehend Further, I read it without sufficient context either of this book itself, or of Foucault s corpus, or of the philosophical background in which or against which MF is operating The problem is intensified by the fact that Foucault is one of those thinkers who changed his mind extensively from first to last on important matters, and therefore the philosophy of this early work is theoretically incomplete and does not fully know where it will end up by the end of MF s life Add to that that there are out and out absurdities of method his historical method and metaphysical positions that are ridiculous that are both implicit or explicit within structures and ideas that are nonetheless profound and of great signficance, with the result that the naive reader which I am especially given how little I know about Continental thought can hardly disengage and disentangle or, consequently, even read the book at hand with sufficient clarity to get it in any focus.People assume that the way to read a philosopher is simply to jump in and read the text This, in my experience, is usually a great mistake While one cannot understand the expository literature without familiarity with the text, one cannot often really understand the text without the help and guidance of those who have gone down this path before whether teachers or books Thus, a good grounding in good secondary literature is often essential to even being able to begin read the texts with any understanding especially if the material is fundamentally foreign to one s way of thinking or intellectual experiences postwar thought for me classical ancient Greek thought for others.This is not true for all thinkers some can be read and the secondary literature simply debases them But it is true for many, and seems for me to be true for Postmodernism.At any rate this should be re rated Either to five, or maybe to something else WhateverOne last point regarding MF s Archaeology and the general claim that all knowledge or discourse is mediated or indeed, conditioned by assumptions that cannot be accessed that is, on the postmodern claims of the relatively of all knowledge or discourse.If one has to carve up a turkey, or pull apart a car engine or, to maintain the analogy, draw a diagram a discourse of the skeleton or the engine to be carved or taken apart will this diagram be contaminated by theory or deep structures And why not For the simple reason that the reality has, at least at the given level, a real structure to it and it is this real structure that justifies and makes possible analysis as a neutral procedure Thus, for Plato, it is the reality of the theory of Ideas that makes the dialectic and diaeresis possible and effective and not the dialectic that proves that the Ideas exist Without the underlying structural realities, the procedures would run into contradictions at every turn, and that they do not in fact do so is proof, by a reductio ad absurdum, of the reality of the Ideas.Provisionally, of course One last point about Kuhn s treatment of Aristotle s Physics which Dreyfus and Rabinow discuss Much of what seems strange in Aristotle s Physics can be explained simply by two assumptions that were clearly false He assumes, in cosmogony, that the earth is at the center of the universe, and had to adjust his mathematics to this assumption The best book on this, apart of course, from Neugebauer s Exact Sciences in Antiquity, is D.R Dicks, Early Greek Astronomy and because he assumes that rest is the natural state of a body See Henri Carteron, La notion De Force Dans Le Systeme d Aristote.ORIGINAL REVIEW What can one say how can one rate a work like this Certainly, Foucault is a genius there are portions of this work that are sheer poetry Yet much of it is errant nonsense it s method is completely absurd and fraudulant yet there lurk beneath the method and the errant certain deep intuitions hurled at the reader hurled at the void in ways calculated to undermine their seriousness by overvaluing their meaning by you see, the recursive loop here Rated as philosophy or as poetry, this would receive 5 stars for its originality, if nothing else And for its inevitable working out of the modern and postmodern logic of self annihiliation As a work of scholarship or history or, indeed, in its method, it receives one star For its influence, which has been baleful both morally and in the Academy one star for it s flash in the night of a despair that Foucault himself was moving to resolve had he lived, he d have ended up perhaps a Platonist well, there was an evolution of Foucault, no question 5 stars.So I ll give this review just one star, so as to jar the reader Foucault would approve Philosophy for Foucault is a discourse, I guess a series of texts that cluster around a single topic and have a meaning as much based on their history as their current meaning It is too easy to get tangled in knots with words here but this book is actually quite a simple read and incredibly interesting There is the bit that is often quoted the idea that hysteria was once considered to be a woman s madness caused by her womb wandering around her body and thereby causing mental problems I Philosophy for Foucault is a discourse, I guess a series of texts that cluster around a single topic and have a meaning as much based on their history as their current meaning It is too easy to get tangled in knots with words here but this book is actually quite a simple read and incredibly interesting There is the bit that is often quoted the idea that hysteria was once considered to be a woman s madness caused by her womb wandering around her body and thereby causing mental problems I m quite sure it would.But the truly interesting bits of this are around madness as a social construction It is fascinating that prior to the rise of capitalism madness did not really exist There were town idiots, but these people were often protected as being possessed by spirits or something similar Apparently Bedlam, the mental asylum, had previously been a hospital for leprosy and once leprosy no longer infected Europe it was converted into a mental asylum somehow we had coped prior to this without such asylums Foucault s point being that our society needs outcasts and when there were no longer any lepers we created madmen There is remarkable stuff about tours of asylums conducted by the inmates who might throw a bit of a turn along and way and need to be replaced by another inmate I know that up until the late 1800 such tours were still popular forms of weekend entertainment in Melbourne.The relationship between madness and unemployment how being unemployed was a clear sign of being insane helped put many people into work houses of the mad.This really is a fascinating book and well worth reading If I have concerns about it, they are mainly around the idea that by defining madness as a social construction it did allow governments to close down institutions and put the mad onto the streets with no care and no protection I must admit, I didn t read this entire book However, I do feel I read enough of it to get the general idea Foucault is trying to distance himself from history here He dislikes the victorious narrative of history and instead seeks to build an anthropology based around one aspect of the human sciences, employing the method of archaeology Borrowing Nietzsche s genealogy approach, Foucault excavates various uses of confinement or separation of the madman overtime, and looks at shifts and I must admit, I didn t read this entire book However, I do feel I read enough of it to get the general idea Foucault is trying to distance himself from history here He dislikes the victorious narrative of history and instead seeks to build an anthropology based around one aspect of the human sciences, employing the method of archaeology Borrowing Nietzsche s genealogy approach, Foucault excavates various uses of confinement or separation of the madman overtime, and looks at shifts and discontinuities in the usage of madness and how society of course, always French seeks to deal with them First the mad are put in boats and floated out to see, then they are kept in general penal facilities, and then put in their own special asylums, where evenshades of madness can be teased out The mad are deemed unreasonable and unintelligible by society, and therefore no attempt is made to hear their voice, which Foucault represents as silence or a murmur Rational man, throughout all of these periods, finds it necessary to find a mad Other and cordon him off Reason needs an intelligible unreason in order to define itself Enter homo dialecticus In the appendix we see a hint of what may be Foucault the cultural theorist, hypothesizing that humans need unreason, in the form of dreams, fantasies, madness, etc., in order to define our existences In the end, however, it is hard to get to any idea of a real truth beneath these dialectics, as each side is a cultural construct In this text, we also see the beginnings of Foucault s ideas about sites serving as technologies of policing, which he will expand in later works dealing both with external policing and internal self care It is said that Foucault enjoyed being whipped. Madness and Civilization 1961 is Michel Foucault s first major work and forms, together with The Birth of the Clinic 1963 , his first examination of the way our unconscious a priori linguistic structures order our knowledge of the world in particular the way how specific syntaxes determine our perception, communication and action regarding life, death, health, disease and madness While The Birth of the Clinic is a rather straightforward text and can be understood on a first reading, Madnes Madness and Civilization 1961 is Michel Foucault s first major work and forms, together with The Birth of the Clinic 1963 , his first examination of the way our unconscious a priori linguistic structures order our knowledge of the world in particular the way how specific syntaxes determine our perception, communication and action regarding life, death, health, disease and madness While The Birth of the Clinic is a rather straightforward text and can be understood on a first reading, Madness and Civilization is much less accessible as a work This is because Foucault, in most chapters, uses a highly peculiar literary style that weaves science, art, religion, etc together in a narrative that purports to portray the radical change in our perception of madness in the eighteenth century The work is full of metaphors and illustrations from artworks This leaves the reader with a problem of interpretation since Foucault purports to simply describe and not explain phenomena each description being unconnected whether causally or chronologically to others and each description being heavily entrenched in contemporary political ideology, social structures and a plethora of cultural factors this all makes it very hard to evaluate Foucault s descriptions Add to this the highly selective nature of the work similar to The Birth of the Clinic , and we have a very difficult book Difficult in both interpreting, understanding and evaluating.The parameters of Madness and Civilizations are the late Middle Ages Renaissance and mid nineteenth century Within this historical period, Foucault explores how each time and place differed in respect to how people perceived madness, talked about it, reacted to it, and institutionalized it in social structures This, according to Foucault, reveals how a major and radical shift happened in the eighteenth century a shift that is still with us to today.Without going into all the intricacies and meticulous descriptions of Foucault s analysis, the central thesis seems to be as follows.During the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance leprosy formed a principle of exclusion and rituals sufferers were excluded from society and there was a whole web of rituals woven around them With the disappearance of leprosy this whole structure broke down Gradually, madness took over the role as principle of exclusion and ritual But not in the same way Depending on the historical period, fools were regarded as either a confrontation with death or a transcendence of death In other words the fool was moved by transcendental inspiration this, of course, often had a highly religious connotation Fools were visible for society and many a time even regarded with approval they were the hope of transcendental inspiration for the fallen lot of human beings.This all started to change in the seventeenth century Religious wars, famines and economic crises changed the social economic structures of society For the first time since the disappearance of leprosy there emerged a new line of demarcation in society that between those that worked and those that didn t for whatever reason Since poverty was deemed to be the effect of not working, poverty was viewed as a sin, transforming not working into morally reprehensible behaviour This radicalized into European wide programmes to lock up beggars, vagabonds, the poor, the sick, the elderly, etc Of course, the mad were included in this programme As an effect, the seventeenth century saw the institutionalization of General Hospitals France , workhouses England and Zuchth usern Germany all different names for the same concept a concentration camp for forced labour and moral re education Foucault emphasizes the bourgeois social structures underlying this movement Even though the mad were imprisoned and horribly mistreated, they were not seen as a distinct group of people, demanding a separate approach All people who couldn t or wouldn t work were simply rounded up and put into these camps.This all changed in the eighteenth century This was the age of Enlightenment in the wake of Newton s mechanics the entire universe, including mankind, had to be understood by reason This also meant that human behaviour, and thus morality, had to be founded in reason With reason as the summum bonum of humanity, there inevitably has to open up a schism there are always people who act unreasonable if not simply in the eyes of others those Enlightened minds, for example This period saw the emergence of Unreason as a concept while man was a rational animal echoing Aristotle , sometimes he is unreasonable and to the extent he is unreasonable, he is inhuman Unreason and inhumanity in human beings were perceived with shame by reasonable society The solution to this social problem is confinement simply remove the unreasonable from society Lock them up, make them literally disappear Only release them when they have regained their reason But Unreason is not madness While unreasonable people were deemed to have lost a port of their humanity, there was a logical endpoint to this the point were a human being has lost all his humanity This was madness it was inhumanity at its highest, transforming itself at this point in animality In other words the mad have fallen to animal nature, while the unreasonable still have some degree of humanity Whereas inhumanity provoked shame and thus removal through confinement, animality means all restrictions of confinement can be removed.The madman wasn t considered as a sick human but rather as a healthy animal which in its pure state of nature roamed in ultimate freedom And like wild beasts, the madman was controlled through discipline and brutalization And like animals, he wasn t removed from society but exposed to it people could visit madhouses after paying, of course to witness the Fall of Man and to wallow in experiences of superior compassion In short during the Enlightenment madness was viewed as the extreme empirical appearance of unreason, or as Foucault writes unreason is the canvas on which madness is painted Madness only appears on the horizon of Unreason and while the latter demanded removal through confinement, the former demanded exposure and punishment through confinement Of course, this is only one side of the question of madness Another side is the way madness was viewed as a natural manifestation through the scientific lens This also changed radically over the period Foucault describes In general outlines up to the sixteenth century medicine was based on humours during the seventeenth century starting with Descartes this changed to a mechanical model of animal spirits moving through the material body and interacting with the soul introducing the notion of causality and during the eighteenth century this culminated in a medicine of solids and fluids bodily qualities and their relations Since passion was viewed as the necessary condition for madness or even as a radicalization of them , and passions being explained differently on these different medical models, the notion of madness changed as well.During the Enlightenment, the madman was deemed to be a manifestation of nothingness That is because madness was deemed to be the affirmation of absurd imaginations i.e the dreamer isn t mad since he doesn t affirm his absurd imaginations, while the madman does affirm those With introducing the notion of affirmation, Foucault is able to insert his theory that language serves as an a priori structure of perception and behaviour affirmation is nothing but an instance of the faculty of judgement, and judging is a deliberate process guided by implicit linguistic principles Language thus serves as an organizing principle of all spiritual and bodily manifestations of madness as well as dreams, hallucinations, and everyday waking life, etc.This claim by Foucault is a huge one it means that madness in a sense is essentially different from a healthy life Both are superstructures founded on their own implicit discourse In this sense, madness is reason blinded i.e the point where untruth and dream touch each other In another sense, madness is not reason, non being it is a nothingness e.g it is always not truth, not reality, etc Yet, even though madness literally is nothing, it manifests itself as something, i.e in bodily and mental states that can be observed by outsiders So we end up, in the Enlightenment, with the strange notion that madness, as nothing, manifests itself as something, meaning it literally is unreason.According to Foucault, after he ditches all these abstract speculations up from a handful of selective historical sources, there has appeared a major distinction between the tragic man the rational being doomed to always long for the impossible i.e knowing everything and the mad man unreason in the flesh, not simply rejecting the impossible but negating it by its sheer existence From this moment on, madness has been given a distinct status Parallel to this, medical practice developed and started to view diseases of which madness in all its forms was one part as spatiotemporal objects, to be observed and studied by doctors Positivistic medicine became the norm applying the analytical method to the medical field and viewing the medical gaze as the sole entry to scientific knowledge It is easy to see what this implies for madmen they have by now become objects of study, to be observed and spoken about, being literally subjected to the medical regime Confinement has become institutionalized long ago and has, by now, transformed from a regime of sheer discipline and punishment into a medical clinic Foucault ends Madness and Civilization with a conclusion, in which he makes some rather vague and ambiguous claims about the relationship between art and madness From what I understand, modern man views in art madness, while madness can only exist after art has ceased to exist That is, the artist continuously moves on the frontier between art and madness art exists insofar madness doesn t and vice versa It is senseless to ask when Nietzsche started to turn mad and try to locate this moment in his works all of Nietzsche s works spring from his madness in the sense that it hadn t manifested itself Foucault seems to imply that madness only exists after the fact which makes it an ungraspable and fascinating phenomenon Correct me if I m wrong regarding this interpretation To be honest, I find Foucault s claims rather unbelievable I simply remain unconvinced after reading through this book His selectivity when it comes to sources, his loose interpretations and the ambiguous language they are told with, but mostly his hidden agenda With this last remark I mean his use of the phenomenological method to purely describe phenomena as they appear, yet using these descriptions themselves to implicitly argue for a particular interpretation of events This is the insurmountable contradiction of postmodernism in a nutshell if everything is simply an amalgam of interpretations, what criterion do we have to prefer your interpretation above others Or value your interpretation at all To be fair, Foucault was not really a postmodernist, he always rejected the label although he is used as one of the founding father by many postmodernists But he stumbles on the same contradiction, and this is due to the similar method of doing philosophy For Foucault specifically, this comes across as if he is simply amassing a selection of historical facts, offering his own interpretations although never unfounded , and in the end supporting and validating his own preconceived theses Combine this with the peculiar style in which he presents the material half philosophy, half literature, sprinkled with some sociology and you ll end up with a book like Madness and Civilization Interesting reading, insightful historical analyses and original interpretations, yet as a whole remaining unconvincing to me I was a double major in psychology and English as an undergraduate, with a minor in philosophy When I graduated in January of 1998, I hadn t yet heard about whether I d been admitted to graduate school and couldn t find a job teaching English, my back up plan I decided to turn my philosophy minor into a major, as I already hadcourses than required for a minor and was only 4 away It so happened that I was missing were mostly already determined 1 history of ancient philosophy, 2 clas I was a double major in psychology and English as an undergraduate, with a minor in philosophy When I graduated in January of 1998, I hadn t yet heard about whether I d been admitted to graduate school and couldn t find a job teaching English, my back up plan I decided to turn my philosophy minor into a major, as I already hadcourses than required for a minor and was only 4 away It so happened that I was missing were mostly already determined 1 history of ancient philosophy, 2 classical modern philosophy, 3 senior seminar I also had one elective I took contemporary European philosophy with Tom Sheehan For my senior seminar, I decided to take a graduate course on Foucault and Deleuze, as I had generally enjoyed continental philosophy and especially Deleuze in a class I had read Marcuse, my prof suggested I read Deleuze and Guattari s Anti Oedipus Capitalism and Schizophrenia and chat with him about it over coffee Unfortunately, most of the class was on Foucault and we only covered two Deleuze texts A Foucault, and B Difference and Repetition However, this means I mwell versed in Foucault than I d care to be Before the class started, I talked to my prof, Andrew Cutrofello, and asked if there was anything he suggested I read before class started He suggested three 1 James Miller s by the way, my father s name The Passions of Michel Foucault, as a biography of him, 2 Madness and Civilization, and 3 Discipline and Punish We wouldn t be reading 2 and 3 in class, as the focus wason Foucault s epistemology i.e., The Order of Things, The Archaeology of Knowledge, etc So, I read them all 1 was full of stories of Foucault s sex life, anal fisting, and the like I had a hard time thinking of a person with my father s name writing about these However, 2 and 3 were interesting to me Madness and Civilization was especially interesting, as I was a psychology major, with interests in clinical psychology Unfortunately, I took the work to be founded on historical facts, and it wouldn t be until my Ph.D program in clinical psychology, where I wrote my history of psychology paper on changing bases of diagnoses of mental illness, that I found that Foucault s historical facts were often debated and sometimes made up.The Mahers, two Harvard historians, published a reply to Foucault s text in The American Psychologist According to them, in 1494, Sebastian Brant s wrote a book called Narrenschiff, or Ship of Fools However, Brant intended Narrenschiff to be a historical allegory, and not actually a recounting of historical facts In fact, the only evidence of such ships were wood cutting with pictures of boats and ruffians on then Foucault mistakenly took this to mean that these ships were real entities He went on to base a large portion of his text on the idea of such things While there clearly is reason to believe in culturally and temporally specific aspects of diagnosis, the rather radical epistemological break that Foucault was propagating was largely false Further, the psychologists, who rarely go so far as to research things they like for themselves, started publishing Foucault s work as fact, thereby leading to falsities being largely believed in the field According to the Mahers, psychology texts in the 1980s took the satire of the ship of fools to be fact because of Foucault If you re interested in reading their research, see the following article Maher, W.B Maher, B 1982 Stultifera Navis or Ignis Fatuus American Psychologist, 37 7 , 756 761I hear that Madness and Civilization was a shorted version of Foucault s text, The History of Madness I have not yet read the latter, and am certainly hoping that his sloppy scholarship was explained in it Maybe that should be on my to read shelf, of maybe I m too disappointed in the let down of a seemingly good text being flawed that makes me not wanting to read it It took me almost two months to finish this behemoth, but it was worth it Two months ago, I was reading an article in the New York Times on modern Catholicism that mentioned Foucault, and from there I read a brief overview on Wikipedia There I found a reference to the History of Madness, Foucault s doctoral thesis, and since I m interested in insanity, asylums and so forth, I checked this one out of the library.I m not going to lie, this is a dense tome I read it in 5 20 page increments, most It took me almost two months to finish this behemoth, but it was worth it Two months ago, I was reading an article in the New York Times on modern Catholicism that mentioned Foucault, and from there I read a brief overview on Wikipedia There I found a reference to the History of Madness, Foucault s doctoral thesis, and since I m interested in insanity, asylums and so forth, I checked this one out of the library.I m not going to lie, this is a dense tome I read it in 5 20 page increments, mostly because I had to keep stopping to look up a word or reference For example, I learned that pyrexia is another word for fever I particularly enjoyed the beginning segment speaking of how the mad were clumped together with other outsider groups homosexuals, criminals, and libertines for example There was also a great exploration of how leprosy in the Middle Ages had already created a structure for isolation of unwanted members of society this really appealed to me as I had a chapter on medieval treatments of leprosy in my undergraduate thesis It s also interesting how much of the thought applied to the understanding of madness applies today although to other groups For example, all those subject to the Great Confinement were those who operated outside the norms of society the indigent, the poor, the mad, the criminal, and religious fanatics By confining them, society s goal was to keep them out of society and therefore from interfering in the day to day life of others, and preventing them from corrupting others I see this idea continually reflected in America, in the divisive tone of politics, where the poor and indigent are treated as children in need of comforting by the Left and as non functioning members of society by the Right I was only mildly disappointed that the book did not extend to the 19th century treatment of madness, however, as Foucault explains, there is farin this era to talk about than can be covered in this book At that point, madness stopped being a topic of philosophy and became instead a disease, and a subject for physicians

Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age
  • Paperback
  • 304 pages
  • Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason
  • Michel Foucault
  • English
  • 01 March 2019
  • 0415253853