Knowledge of Life

Oxford University Press
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As the work of thinkers such as Michel Foucault, Franois Jacob, Louis Althusser, and Pierre Bourdieu demonstrates, Georges Canguilhem has exerted tremendous influence on the philosophy of science and French philosophy more generally. In Knowledge of Life, a book that spans twenty years of his essays and lectures, Canguilhem offers a series of epistemological histories that seek to establish and clarify the stakes, ambiguities, and emergence of philosophical and biological concepts that defined the rise of modern biology. How do transformations in biology and modern medicine shape conceptions of life? How do philosophical concepts feed into biological ideas and experimental practices, and how are they themselves transformed? How does knowledge undo the experience of life so as to help man remake what life has made without him, in him or outside of him?Knowledge of Life is Canguilhem's effort to explain how the movements of knowledge and life come to rest upon each other. Published at the dawn of the genetic revolution and still pertinent today, the book tackles the history of cell theory, the conceptual moves toward and away from mechanical understandings of the organism, the persistence of vitalism, and the nature of normality in science and its objects.
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About the author

Georges Canguilhem (1904-1995) remains one of France's most influential philosophers of science. Stefanos Geroulanos is Assistant Professor of Modern European Intellectual History at New York University. He is the author of An Atheism That Is Not Humanist Emerges in French Thought and the co-translator of Georges Canguilhem's Knowledge of Life (Fordham). DANIELA GINSBURG is a Ph.D. candidate at The Johns Hopkins University Humanities Center. Paola Marrati is Professor of Humanities and Philosophy at The Johns Hopkins University, where she directs the Program for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality. She is the author of Genesis and Trace: Derrida Reading Husserl and Heidegger and Gilles Deleuze: cinma et philosophie. Todd Meyers is Assistant Professor of Medical Anthropology at Wayne State University and the co-editor of Georges Canguilhem's Knowledge of Life (Fordham).
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Additional Information

Publisher
Oxford University Press
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Published on
Dec 15, 2008
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Pages
223
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ISBN
9780823237838
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Philosophy / General
Science / Philosophy & Social Aspects
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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by MICHEL FOUCAULT Everyone knows that in France there are few logicians but many historians of science; and that in the 'philosophical establishment' - whether teaching or research oriented - they have occupied a considerable position. But do we know precisely the importance that, in the course of these past fifteen or twenty years, up to the very frontiers of the establishment, a 'work' like that of Georges Canguilhem can have had for those very people who were separ ated from, or challenged, the establishment? Yes, I know, there have been noisier theatres: psychoanalysis, Marxism, linguistics, ethnology. But let us not forget this fact which depends, as you will, on the sociology of French intellectual environments, the functioning of our university institutions or our system of cultural values: in all the political or scientific discussions of these strange sixty years past, the role of the 'philosophers' - I simply mean those who had received their university training in philosophy department- has been important: perhaps too important for the liking of certain people. And, directly or indirectly, all or almost all these philosophers have had to 'come to terms with' the teaching and books of Georges Canguilhem. From this, a paradox: this man, whose work is austere, intentionally and carefully limited to a particular domain in the history of science, which in any case does not pass for a spectacular discipline, has somehow found him self present in discussions where he himself took care never to figure.
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