Canguilhem Rezension Foucault Penser La Folie

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7/29/2019 Canguilhem Rezension Foucault Penser La Folie http://slidepdf.com/reader/full/canguilhem-rezension-foucault-penser-la-folie 1/3 Introduction to Penser a folie: Essais sur Michel Foucault Georges Canguilhem Translated by Ann Hobart Why have I agreed to be the first to say a few words on a work published thirty years ago? It is because, as the third reader of Michel Foucault's manuscript, I delight in having helped to make it famous. To be more precise: third reader after Georges Dumezil and Jean Hyppolite, in an institutional space where the manuscript could pretend to be taken for a doctoral thesis. I make this qualification out of respect for Maurice Blan- chot, who claims to have been made aware of it first through the media- tion of Roger Caillois. It has happened, in the course of my career as teacher, that I have been taken as capable and culpable of self-satisfaction. Naturally I am no judge of these judgments. But if there is a moment in my work as academic about which I am happy, even today, to be able to flatter myself, it is to have been the reporter on the doctoral thesis of Michel Foucault. Allow me to forget for an instant that it is thirty years later and to resituate myself thirty years ago. I was at that time rather controversial for not holding in high esteem certain schools of psychol- ogy. I was not, however, totally uneducated on the subject. In 1925-26, when a classmate of Daniel Lagache at the Ecole Normale, I attended with him some courses and lectures by Georges Dumas. Later, when a colleague of Lagache at the Facult6 des Lettres at Strasbourg, removed at that time to Clermont-Ferrand, I attended a number of his lectures. If my doctoral thesis in medicine, in 1943, principally concerned problems Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own.-TRANS. Critical nquiry 21 (Winter 1995) ? IDITIONS GALILEE, 1992. English translation ? 1995 by The University of Chicago. 0093-1896/95/2102- 0003$01.00. All rights reserved. 287 This content downloaded on Sat, 16 Mar 2013 06:59:04 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

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    Introduction to Penser afolie: Essais sur MichelFoucaultGeorges Canguilhem

    Translated by Ann Hobart

    Why have I agreed to be the first to say a few words on a work publishedthirty years ago? It is because, as the third reader of Michel Foucault'smanuscript, I delight in having helped to make it famous. To be moreprecise: third reader after Georges Dumezil and Jean Hyppolite, in aninstitutional space where the manuscript could pretend to be taken for adoctoral thesis. I make this qualification out of respect for Maurice Blan-chot, who claims to have been made aware of it first through the media-tion of Roger Caillois. It has happened, in the course of my career asteacher, that I have been taken as capable and culpable of self-satisfaction.Naturally I am no judge of these judgments. But if there is a moment inmy work as academic about which I am happy, even today, to be able toflatter myself, it is to have been the reporter on the doctoral thesis ofMichel Foucault. Allow me to forget for an instant that it is thirty yearslater and to resituate myself thirty years ago. I was at that time rathercontroversial for not holding in high esteem certain schools of psychol-ogy. I was not, however, totally uneducated on the subject. In 1925-26,when a classmate of Daniel Lagache at the Ecole Normale, I attendedwith him some courses and lectures by Georges Dumas. Later, when acolleague of Lagache at the Facult6 des Lettres at Strasbourg, removedat that time to Clermont-Ferrand, I attended a number of his lectures. Ifmy doctoral thesis in medicine, in 1943, principally concerned problems

    Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own.-TRANS.Critical nquiry21 (Winter 1995)? IDITIONS GALILEE, 1992. English translation ? 1995 by The University of Chicago. 0093-1896/95/2102-0003$01.00. All rights reserved.

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    288 GeorgesCanguilhem Introductiono Penser la folieof physiology, to interrogate the normal and the pathological invited ref-erence to such authors as KarlJaspers, Eugene Minkowski, and Henri Eyas well. In the summer of 1944, when doctor to the maquisof Auvergne, Ihid and cared for their wounded for several weeks in the psychiatric hos-pital at Saint-Alban in Lozere and in the surrounding areas. I had knownpreviously, at Toulouse, the director of the hospital, Lucien Bonnaf6. Hewelcomed into his home the doctor Frangois Tosquelles; the position hehas since held in the debates on institutional psychotherapy is wellknown. I witnessed some of their work. We debated a good deal. Thememory of their cordiality is still alive in me.Here, no doubt, are some of the reasons for the trust my friend JeanHyppolite saw fit to put in me when he advised Michel Foucault to cometo present his work to me. I never concealed that I was immediately wonover. I learned to know, better than I had ever done before, anotherfigure of the abnormal than organic pathology. And Foucault obliged meto recognize the historical existence of a medical power that wasequivocal.On the misinterpretations and deviant usages that Foucault's thesison power has incited, there is a closely argued study by Robert Castel,entitled "Les Aventures de la pratique," published in a special issue ofthe journal Le Dibat in 1986, after Foucault's death.' For my part, I be-lieve that it is at the end of Histoire de lafolie that one learns when andhow psychiatry ceases to be in reality, under cover of philanthropy, a po-licing of madmen. It is with and through Freud. Foucault said of him:"Freud demystified all the other structures of asylums. ... He transferredto himself... all the powers that had been dispersed throughout thecollective existence of the asylum."2And fifteen years later, in La Volontedesavoir,Freud and psychoanalysis are praised once again for having, inrejecting the neuropsychiatry of degeneracy, broken with "the mecha-nisms of power" that pretended to control and manage the daily practiceof sexuality. This stand immediately follows the pages in which Foucaulthas described the ways and means of what he has called "biopower."3Aquick reminder of these pages does not seem to me superfluous at a timewhen the French are discovering in their own country what biopower iscapable of.But a question remains for which my reading of Foucault does not

    1. See Robert Castel, "Les Aventures de la pratique," Le Dibat, no. 41 (Sept.-Nov.1986): 41-51.2. Michel Foucault, Folieetdiraison:Histoiredelafolie a l'dgeclassique Paris, 1961), p. 611.A much-abridged version of Histoiredelafolie was published in 1964 and was translated intoEnglish by Richard Howard under the title Madnessand Civilization:A Historyof Insanity ntheAge of Reason (New York, 1965), pp. 277-78.3. Foucault, La Volonte'deavoir vol. 1 of Histoiredela sexualiti(Paris, 1976), p. 185; trans.Robert Hurley, under the title The History of Sexuality:An Introduction(New York, 1978),p. 140.

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    CriticalInquiry Winter1995 289yet permit me to sketch the beginning of a response. I cannot believe thathe was seduced by psychoanalysis, even as he celebrated the rupture hatFreud's work represented. Could the victory that the analysand, listenedto by the analyst, wins over censure seem to him to be pure of all resem-blance to confession? Is the refusal of any attempt at corrective recupera-tion, which is the self-justification of psychoanalysis, always totallytransparent? If the recognition of sexuality is to be credited to psycho-analysis, is this the same for Foucault as the recognition of the uncon-scious?

    Thirty years afterwards, would Foucault maintain what he said ofFreud, that he had "expanded the miracle-working powers" of the medi-cal practitioner?4 I have not found the elements of a response to thesequestions in the work of Hubert L. Dreyfus and Paul Rabinow, MichelFoucault,unparcoursphilosophique,5or in Jacques-Alain Miller's importantpresentation on Foucault and psychoanalysis during the 1988 interna-tional conference "Michel Foucault, philosophe."6 Perhaps the lectures atthe College de France in 1973-74 on "Le Pouvoir psychiatrique," whichdealt extensively with antipsychiatry, would supply some new informa-tion concerning his opinion of psychoanalysis.7It has been thirty years! Since 1961, other works by Foucault-Nais-sance de la clinique,Les Mots et leschoses,Histoiredela sexualit~-have in parteclipsed the initial influence of Histoirede la folie. I admire the first two.In Le Normalet lepathologique, said how much I had been moved by thefirst.8 I wrote an article on behalf of the second for which I had nothingbut praise. But for me, 1961 remains and will remain the year that a trulygreat philosopher was discovered. I had already known at least two, whohad been my classmates: Raymond Aron and Jean-Paul Sartre. They didnot get along with one another. Nor did they get along with Michel Fou-cault. One day, however, all three were seen united. That was to sustain,against death, an undertaking without limits.

    4. Foucault, Folieetdiraison, p. 611; Madnessand Civilization,p. 277.5. See Hubert L. Dreyfus and Paul Rabinow, Michel Foucault:BeyondStructuralism ndHermeneutics(Chicago, 1983); trans. Fabienne Durand-Bogaert, under the title Michel Fou-cault,unparcoursphilosophique: u-deldde l'objectivitetdela subjectiviti Paris, 1984).6. See Jacques-Alain Miller, "Michel Foucault et la psychanalyse," in MichelFoucault,philosophe:Rencontrenternationale,Paris9, 10, 11janvier 1988 (Paris, 1989), pp. 77-84.7. See Foucault, Risumi descours 1970-1982 (Paris, 1989).8. See Georges Canguilhem, Essaisurquelques roblemesoncernant e normalet lepatholog-ique (Strasbourg, 1943); trans. Carolyn R. Fawcett, under the title On the Normal and thePathological,ed. Robert S. Cohen (Boston, 1978).

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