THIS COURSE IS INAUGURAL in more than one sense. Recognition of the speaker’s new status;1 entry into the long-term historical process of the ancient beginnings of philosophy, even though the title of the chair, “History of systems of thought,” expresses a certain emancipation from philosophy; and even though the doxa associates only “the final Foucault” with Greece. Shift of the target of research: at the end of his inaugural lecture of 2 December 1970 (published by Gallimard in 1971 with the title L’Ordre du discours,2 and so not republished in this volume) Foucault announces that if hitherto his analyses had focused on instances of limitation of discourses, what he describes as the “critical aspect,” or archeology, henceforth he will be concerned with the “effective formation of discourse … on both sides of the boundary.”3 What he refers to as their “genealogical aspect,” the conditions of their emergence and of their transgression: illegalities, perversions and abnormalities, deregulations, confessions, parrhesiastic speech, will be the effective content of the following thirteen years of teaching. The reciprocal implication of language and power, and, as the Hellenist Henri Joly elegantly summarizes it, “that two languages may exist in language, that of truth and that of error,”4 are so many constraints that subject “discourse to an order.”


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© Graham Burchell 2013

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  • Daniel Defert

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