The Rational Turn In Continental Philosophy: Bachelard, Canguilhem and Foucault Open Access

Pena Guzman, David Marcelo (2015)

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The dissertation has a thematic and a historical component. Historically, it tries to make sense of the emergence, from the 1940s to the 1970s, of first-generation historical epistemology, the historical epistemology of Cavaillès, Bachelard, Canguilhem and Foucault. Thematically, it struggles with a question that often vexes those who study philosophical movements rather than philosophical figures: Why speak of various individuals as comprising a "movement" or a "school of thought" per se? What is it about the works of Cavaillès, Bachelard, Canguilhem and Foucault that allow us to group them under the auspices of a common project? In chapter one, I address the historical emergence of historical epistemology by presenting it as a twentieth century response to a nineteenth century crisis--the crisis in normativity that erupted in the late 1800s as a result of the fall of German idealism and the rise of French positivism. Then in chapters two, three and four, I direct my attention to the thematic dimension, arguing that what collectivizes these thinkers is that they share a common object of analysis (chapter two), a common theory of meaning that stands in opposition to phenomenology (chapter three) and a common "recurrent" methodology that rejects at every step the methodology of professional historians (chapter four). The project then concludes with a discussion of how the concepts of rationality and truth are mobilized in this intellectual tradition and how this mobilization was critical for the catalysis of what I am calling the "rational turn" in twentieth century continental discourse.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Rational Turn In Continental Philosophy

Chapter 1

The Nineteenth Century In Ruins: The History of French Historical Epistemology

Chapter 2

What Is A Concept? An Ontology Beyond the Subject But Beneath Spirit

Chapter 3

Normativity's Warp and Woof: Conceptual Networks and Metastability

Chapter 4

A Historico-Recurrent Method: From Present To Past To Present

Chapter 5

A Theory of Scientific Rationaliy: Truth, History and Error


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