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The Archaeology of Knowledge

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The Archaeology of Knowledge (French: L'archéologie du savoir) is a 1969 methodological and historiographical treatise by the French philosopher Michel Foucault, in which he promotes "archaeology" or the "archaeological method", an analytical method he implicitly used in his previous works Madness and Civilization (1961), The Birth of the Clinic (1963), and The Order of Things (1966). It is Foucault's only explicitly methodological work. Foucault's premise is that systems of thought and knowledge ("epistemes" or "discursive formations") are governed by rules (beyond those of grammar and logic) which operate beneath the consciousness of individual subjects and define a system of conceptual possibilities that determines the boundaries of thought and language use in a given domain and period. Foucault also provides a philosophical treatment and critique of phenomenological and dogmatic structural readings of history and philosophy, portraying continuous narratives as naïve ways of projecting our own consciousness onto the past, thus being exclusive and excluding.
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original title: L’archéologie du savoir
date of publication: 1969
genre: non-fiction, epistemology, philosophy
main subject: philosophy

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