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A Humanist Critique of the Archaeology of the Human Sciences

Abstract

Foucault's archaeological method is contrasted with that of a humanist history. The contrast highlights strengths and weaknesses found in Foucault's approach. He is right to reject a concept of objective knowledge based on pure facts and pure reason; and he is right to reject the idea of the autonomous individual uninfluenced by the social context. But he is wrong to extend these rejections to an utter repudiation of respectively our having reasonable knowledge of an external reality and our being creative and rational agents. A recognition of these strengths and weaknesses is used to develop an alternative account of the human sciences to that of Foucault's The Order of Things. This alternative history shows his proclamation of the death of Man to be mistaken.

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