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Foucault in 90 Minutes: Philosophers in 90 Minutes (Philsophers in 90 Minutes) Hardcover – March 21, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-1566632928 ISBN-10: 1566632927

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Product Details

  • Series: Philsophers in 90 Minutes
  • Hardcover: 95 pages
  • Publisher: Ivan R. Dee (March 21, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1566632927
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566632928
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,007,699 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

London-based writer Strathern (Berkeley in 90 Minutes) offers a painless tongue-in-cheek introduction to French theorist Michel Foucault. Though ostensibly devoted to Foucault's life and works, this slender volume concentrates on his biography rather than his ideas, for Strathern is more adept at giving readers a feel for the ambiance of Left Bank cafes and filling them in on Foucault's relationship with composer Jean Barraque than, say, investigating his work on the history of sexuality. Did you know that, when Foucault taught in Sweden, most of his students were female? Or that, at 30, he drove a Jaguar and his hair began to thin? That he favored tartan suits and was an accomplished cook? Strathern offers an adequate summary of Foucault's work on the penal system, and his thumbnail sketch of Foucault's Madness and Civilization is mercifully oversimplified. Happily, there is almost no discussion of Foucault's enormous influence in philosophy, literary criticism, linguistics, history, and sociology.Readers will come away with enough fascinating vignettes to get them through two or three cocktail parties--which is probably more than most of them will require. -- Copyright © 2000 Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Review

Well-written, clear and informed, they have a breezy wit about them...I find them hard to stop reading. (Richard Bernstein The New York Times)

Witty, illuminating, and blessedly concise. (Jim Holt The Wall Street Journal)

Each of these little books is witty and dramatic and creates a sense of time, place, and character...I cannot think of a better way to introduce oneself and one's friends to Western civilization. (Katherine A. Powers The Boston Globe)

A godsend in this era of the short attention span. (Daryl Royster Alexander The New York Times)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Seriously on December 3, 2011
Format: Paperback
I speak with considerable experience in Foucault and his works. I can tell you, the potential reader, to stay away from this book for its significant mistakes, misconstruals, and simply prejudices against Foucault. The author certainly fails at providing a concise introduction to Foucault's WORKS, first of all, and instead takes his sweet time to criticize Foucault's lifestyle (such as his S&M behavior), which are characteristics that do not belong in a book where the reader is interested in Foucault's thought and conceptual work. If we want a biography, we will find a better one. An example: "But there was also a darker side which few but his closest friends saw. More and more frequently the fashionable intellectual in his white polo-neck and corduroys would become transformed into the exotic leather-clad creature of the night who cruised the S&M bars" (61). This is a typical move from Anglo-Saxon's philosopher from the analytic tradition:instead of taking their time of doing the difficult task of criticizing a 'Continental' philosopher's ideas, they attack him/her strategically, tarnishing his/her work by pointing out personality traits or behavior (Nietzche was a chauvinist, Heidegger was a Nazi, Foucault a sado-masochist homosexual). Naturally, many readers who know very little of Foucault turn away from him because of negative descriptions of him (S&M is not a 'darker' side, Mr. Strathern, keep your sensibilities to yourself). So to surmise my first point: the author writes more about Foucault's life than his works, and strategically describes him negatively to influence how the reader will think of Foucault's work.

My next, and more serious point, is that Mr.
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Format: Paperback
Michel Foucault reminds me of James Clerk Maxwell, or John Coltrane, geniuses who unraveled their respective worlds in new ways that no one else could ever have imagined possible. And when the curtains opened so that the rest of us could see what they had brought forth, it not only was dazzling new realties, but also ones that will endure. This short book opens the curtains to the Foucault drama about human reality. Here is my summary of the book.

With Wittgenstein declaring philosophy complete -- reducing it merely to philosophizing, or to just fixing mistakes in language, the new direction of philosophy was to analyze the very ground upon which our thoughts and apprehensions are built -- questions that used to be reserved only for psychology. It was this change in the direction of philosophy towards psychology that heavily influenced Foucault. He collected data as an Historian, analyzed it as a philosopher, and brought forth the sweeping conclusion that the "knowledge-power" axis in the human realm, constitutes a single combined underlying social dimension, in the same way that Einstein had decided that the space-time continuum constituted a single combined underlying dimension in the physical realm.

The philosopher whose ideas came nearest to Foucault's was Hegel's, the philosopher who astutely insisted that the progression of history eventually results in the convergence of reasoning with self-consciousness. In doing so, he had also insisted on the coherence of meaning between history and our subjectivity; that below the surface, history had its own hidden structure, one that conditioned both subjective reality as well as our much hallowed methods of reasoning.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 26, 2003
Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed Strathern's book in 90 minutes on Foucault! I have not studied Foucault directly and this book made me much more interested in doing so. A very interesting figure, and I appreciate where he went along the lines of Heidegger's ideas, as far as concepts not having base in everday experience and the arbitrariness of distinctions and classifications throughout history. Very interesting individual and worth reading this book if interested in a brief introduction with insight into Foucault's ideas and character. I could not put it down until it was over; it was very good.
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