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Foucault pp 65-90 | Cite as

In Search of the Limit

  • Clare O’Farrell

Abstract

If Foucault insists that all is discontinuous, there is a secret continuity in this discontinuity, which is man’s confrontation or dialogue with this very discontinuity, his confrontation with the limits, his destiny and the Other. Several times Foucault thought he had discovered that absolute point in history where the Same meets the Other, but each time he changed his mind, finally concluding that all we can do is adopt a ‘limit-attitude’ in everything we do or know.1

Keywords

Mental Illness Nineteenth Century Eighteenth Century Marginal Group Absolute Point 
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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Notes

  1. 1.
    Foucault, ‘What is Enlightenment?’, in Rabinow 1984, p.45.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Foucault, ‘A conversation with M. Foucault’, 1971, p.193. Forster and Ranum (1978, p.2) comment: ‘the standard procedure for sneaking the study of marginal groups into history has been to assert that knowledge about them sheds light on the aspirations, fears and conditions of the mainstream of dominant groups of society …. The moral and social values of a society, … are clarified by the study of those who reject those values and are cast out of society.’Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    Foucault, ‘Questions à Michel Foucault sur la géographie’, 1976, p.72.Google Scholar
  4. 8.
    Foucault, ‘Réponse à une question’, 1968, p.851.Google Scholar
  5. 9.
    Foucault, ‘Les Déviations religieuses’, 1968, p.19.Google Scholar
  6. 12.
    Foucault, ‘La Folie, l’absence d’oeuvre’ (1964), in HF (1972), p.575.Google Scholar
  7. 15.
    Foucault, ‘Entretien sur la prison: le livre et sa méthode’, 1975, p.33.Google Scholar
  8. 28.
    Foucault, ‘A quoi rêvent les iraniens?’, 1978, pp.48–9; cf. ‘L’Esprit d’un monde sans esprit’, 1979, pp.227–9.Google Scholar
  9. 31.
    Cf. Foucault, ‘Critique de La Révolution astronomique’, 1961, p.1124.Google Scholar
  10. 32.
    Foucault, ‘La Folie, l’absence d’oeuvre’, in HF 1972, p.577.Google Scholar
  11. 40.
    Foucault, ‘Le Non du père’, 1962, pp.204, 208.Google Scholar
  12. 43.
    Foucault, Raymond Roussel, 1963, p.19.Google Scholar
  13. 44.
    Foucault, ‘Pourquoi réédite-t-on l’oeuvre de Raymond Roussel?’, 1964, p.9.Google Scholar
  14. 45.
    Foucault, Raymond Roussel 1963, pp.10–12, 86.Google Scholar
  15. 48.
    Foucault, ‘Le Langage à l’infini’, 1963, p.44. See also Foucault’s remark on ‘the visible emptiness of the origin from where words come to us’. ‘Distance, aspect, origine’, 1963, p.945.Google Scholar
  16. 49.
    Foucault, ‘Préface à la transgression’, 1963, pp.751–69; see also the Preface to Bataille, 1970, p.5 and a remark in VS:145: ‘If one grants that the threshold of every culture is the forbidden incest, then sexuality since the beginning of time is to be found under the sign of law and right’ (that is, according to the ideas of modem Western society).Google Scholar
  17. 50.
    Foucault ‘Préface à la transgression’, 1963, pp.767–8; cf. an article written in 1962, in which Foucault discusses an idea that each period has its own ‘erotic science’ which operates at the Limit. ‘Un si cruel savoir’, p.601. Incidentally sexuality occupies quite a different place in this article from the position it occupies in the three volumes of Histoire de la sexualité. In the latter it is a matter of quite different limits, of quite a different relation of the Same and the Other.Google Scholar
  18. 52.
    Foucault, ‘Le Langage à l’infini’, 1963, pp.45–6, 53.Google Scholar
  19. 55.
    Foucault, ‘La Folie, l’absence d’oeuvre’, 1972, pp.578, 582.Google Scholar
  20. 56.
    Foucault, ‘Débat sur la poésie’, 1964, p.76.Google Scholar
  21. 57.
    Foucault, ‘Le Mallarmé de Jean-Pierre Richard’, 1964, p.1004.Google Scholar
  22. 62.
    Foucault, ‘Entretien: Michel Foucault’, 1971, p.140; cf. MC:94–5.Google Scholar
  23. 64.
    Foucault, ‘La Folie l’absence d oeuvre’, 1972, p.581.Google Scholar
  24. 66.
    Foucault, ‘Interview with Lucette Finas’, in Michel Foucault, eds Morris and Patton 1979, p.91.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Clare O’Farrell 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clare O’Farrell
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Education StudiesBrisbane College of Advanced EducationAustralia

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