MICHEL FOUCAULT ‘THE ORDER OF THINGS’ 09102011

October 13, 2011

 

Foucault discusses the notion of relationships between elements, exploring the sense of organization and either familiarising various objects or alienating them from each other. Examples are given from various sciences analysing their relativity by looking at common utilization of processes. People from various disciplines employed the same procedures to define the objects proper to their own study, to explore their ideas and develop their work. For instance, comparisons are made up on distinct elements, such as artificial and natural, tangible and intangible. Organization is further examined under the way distinct words are organized within the dictionary’s alphabetical order. Radically fragmented elements can merge within the ideal setting of a utopian space as Foucault explains. On the contrary, heterotopic spaces are fundamentally separated and therefore they distort language.    

The moment of the essay which fascinated me the most was the discussion of the aphasiac perception of creating order. Aphasiac people do not have the ability to maintain a rational of order due to their mental illness, so their expressions and reactions are dominated by chaos. Foucault gives an example regarding the organization of various, distinct, colourful pieces of wool. He explains that this group of people lacks of a controlled logic which leads them to an infinite continuation of composing new order relationships. This condition summarizes the madness of relativity between elements throughout the text, whether they are sharing similarities or are radically different, forming an endless network of order. 

 

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Michel Foucault, ‘Preface’, in The Order of Things, London: Routledge, 1970.

ANDREAS SIVITOS

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