Michael Foucault “Discourage on Language”

foulcault“I am supposing that in every society the production of discourse is at once controlled, selected, organized and redistributed according to a certain number of procedures, whose role is ponderous, awesome materiality.”

Michael Foucault, a french philosopher wrote the book, “The Archaeology of Knowledge and The Discourse on Language“, in 1969. Foucault talks about the discourse of language through a theory about finding the truth and how knowledge is formed.  He loved to study historical language because he wanted to find out how knowledge is in the truth. Foucault defined discourse by focusing on power relationships in society as expressed through language and practices. He goes through different time periods to find the truth out, such as the Middle Ages. Foucault wants to find out how knowledge and truth are formed by whom said it and in what context they said it in.

The rules of Exclusion was a huge stepping stone in his study with discourse. These rules consist of prohibited, reason and folly, and true and false. First prohibited rule says that we are not free to just say anything, that we cannot simply speak of anything, when we like or where we like. There are three prohibitions and they are, sobering objects, rituals with its surrounding circumstances, the privileged or exclusive right to speak of a particular subject. Foucault says that these areas are where the web is tightly woven because its where the danger spots are most numerous dealing with politics and sexuality. This next principle of exclusion is a division and a rejection in reason and folly. This is about what makes senses and then what doesn’t even be considered. From the Middle Ages, a man would speak and it would either be taken into consideration his words or they would just be ignored because they had no significance or truth to it. The last principle of exclusion is true and false opposition. Foucault discusses this discourse about truth and how people need the will of truth. Over the years through Hesiod and Plato a new division has came about and instead of the will to truth, it has become our will to knowledge. Foucault ends with saying,” I now know which voice it was I would have wished for, proceeding me, supporting me, inviting me to speak and lodging within my own speech.” He finally found this discourse of language he liked and wanted to speak about.


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