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International Journal of the Classical Tradition

, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 204–225 | Cite as

The classical roots of poststructuralism: Lacan, Derrida, and Foucault

  • Paul Allen Miller
Article

Abstract

This paper argues that French poststructuralist theory does not represent a movement antithetical to Classics and the Classical Tradition, but should be read as its extension. Major recurring themes of poststructuralist thought are articulated at the beginning of the 1960’s in Lacan’s commentaries on Sophocles’Antigone and Plato’sSymposium. Derrida’s reading of thePhaedrus as well as his citation of the Platonic tradition in his dispute with Foucault over the latter’sHistoire de la folie further confirm the importance of the Hellenic tradition to poststructuralism’s engagement with occidental philosophy. Finally, Foucault’s late turn to Stoicism and the philosophers of the Roman imperial period can be seen as a response to and criticism of the positions established by Lacan and Derrida. The Classics are not only relevant to understanding poststructuralist theory and philosophy, but actually define the terms of its debates.

Keywords

Classical Tradition Ancient Philosophy Pleasure Principle Spiritual Exercise Western Reason 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Allen Miller
    • 1
  1. 1.Program in Comparative Literature, Department of French and ClassicsUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA

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