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  • Mar 13, 2013, 03:10 AM
    How to bridge Foucault and existentialism?
    I am working on a short presentation on Foucault for an existentialism class but am having difficulty bridging the concept with his work. I know he was influenced by Nietzsche and Sartre but how can the connection be explained explicitly? Put another way, how can I make the connection and parallels between his ideas and existentialist ones clear in a concise way?
  • Mar 14, 2013, 01:54 PM
    I don't know much about Foucault, but I'd imagine you could start with a general explanation of existentialism. You could then move on to how existentialism fell out of favour in the face of scientific explanations of human existence.I am thinking in this particular instance of psychology and sociology. Foucault would probably represent a rejection of this type of modernism and probably would look to reinstate human existence in its rightful place. It boils down to the question of who creates the knowledge.

    In doing so Foucault probably would have to resort to some type of existential explanation in order to explain how man creates meaning in the framework of a structuralist environment.

    Structuralism aims to explain the human condition in terms of the institutions humans create. It also believes that meaning is also derived from our interaction with these institutions.Foucault would obviously reject such a structuralist explanation.Probably drawing on some existentialist ideas.

    Existentialism is a very broad topic and is approached by the different thinkers in a variety of ways. However, generally speaking it tries to understand the human condition by starting with the human condition as the basis for understanding. Existentialists would probably say that most importantly we are a subjective being. Understanding comes from the subjective being, not the objective structures of society.

    Please be aware that I am not that familiar with Foucault. You would need to research him. Also be aware that in order to show how Foucault relates to existentialism you would need to research particular existentialist thinkers as evidence.

    It is very difficult to outline the answer to your question in a few paragraphs. My reply to your question ONLY represents a starting point.

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