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Georges Canguilhem and the Problem of Error

Authors: Talcott, Samuel

  • Fills a gap in the market: Few books explore the relationship between Georges Canguilhem and Michel Foucault, despite the significance of the relationship and Canguilhem’s influence on Foucault’s thought
  • Presents and represents the culmination of substantial new archival research, giving readers a view into Canguilhem’s unpublished courses on error, among other things
  • Will hold wide appeal for a broad range of scholars in various philosophy sub-disciplines (including history of philosophy, philosophy of medicine, philosophy of science, French continental philosophy, epistemology) as well as Foucault scholars
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Buy this book

eBook $69.99
price for USA in USD (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-00779-9
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $89.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-030-00778-2
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

Examining Georges Canguilhem’s enduring attention to the problem of error, from his early writings to Michel Foucault’s first major responses to his work, this pathbreaking book shows that the historian of science was also a centrally important philosopher in postwar France. Samuel Talcott elucidates Canguilhem’s contributions by drawing on previously neglected publications and archival sources to trace the continuity of commitment that led him to alter his early anti-vitalist, pacifist positions in the face of political catastrophe and concrete human problems. Talcott shows how Canguilhem critically appropriated the philosophical work of Alain, Bergson, Bachelard, and many others while developing his own distinct writings on medicine, experimentation, and scientific concepts in an ethical and political endeavor to resist alienation and injustice. And, while suggesting Canguilhem’s sometimes surprising philosophical importance for a range of younger thinkers, the book demonstrates Foucault’s own critical allegiance to Canguilhem’s spirit, techniques, and investigations.

About the authors

Samuel R. Talcott is Associate Professor of Philosophy at University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, USA.

Reviews

“Fascinating, original and important, this study provides a sorely needed intellectual history of Georges Canguilhem's thought. Taking the reader on a journey to understand Canguilhem's intellectual development, political activitism, medical view, and attitude to science, this book is a significant contribution to history and philosophy of medicine and science.” (Havi Carel, Professor of Philosophy, University of Bristol, UK)

“Despite Foucault's effusive celebration of it, Georges Canguilhem has yet to have the impact that his startling and innovative work merits. The fruit of years of meticulous and creative research and analysis, Samuel Talcott's book is likely the definitive English language study of Canguilhem for our generation. This marvelous and captivating work brings the entire arc of his thinking to life.” (Jason M. Wirth, Seattle University, author of Nietzsche and Other Buddhas: Philosophy after Comparative Philosophy)

“In the Anglophone world, Canguilhem’s work has mainly been studied looking back from Foucault. Georges Canguilhem and the Problem of Error, however, presents Canguilhem’s thought on its own, and in all of its complexity. Talcott’s book is essential reading for anyone interested in the philosophy of biology and in the development of 20th century French philosophy.” (Leonard Lawlor, Sparks Professor of Philosophy, Penn State University)

“Samuel Talcott’s study of Canguilhem’s thought is a groundbreaking study of the entire breadth of this titan of French post-war intellectual life that will set the benchmark for all future research into this rich source for thinking about science, power, norms, the art of medicine, and the role of rationality in our contemporary world. Deftly making use of published and newly available archival materials, Talcott demonstrates the profound ways in which Canguilhem’s line of thought was always driven by a core set of ethical and political concerns.” (Kevin Thompson, Associate Professor of Philosophy, DePaul University, co-editor of Intolerable: Writings from Michel Foucault and the Prisons Information Group)

“This book, dedicated to one of the last century’s most original and influential thinkers, is the first in-depth analysis presented to English readers. The discussion of Canguilhem’s intellectual itinerary and impact, using some rare documents, is exemplary. Samuel Talcott brilliantly undermines our usual conception of error!” (Alain Beaulieu, Laurentian University, Canada)

“In this important book, philosopher Samuel Talcott lucidly tracks the political, physiological, and epistemological ramifications of the notion of error in Georges Canguilhem’s writings through to the 1960s. Canguilhem’s philosophy emerges as a creative, principled confrontation with history and thought— from fascism to Algerian independence, from Bernard and Bergson to Sartre and Foucault. Clear, engaging, and essential for understanding Canguilhem’s vital contributions to the history and philosophy of biology, environments, medicine, technology, and life.” (John Tresch, Warburg Institute, University of London, author of The Romantic Machine: Utopian Science and Technology after Napoleon)

“Samuel Talcott’s book on Canguilhem provides a rich tapestry for understanding the intersection of medicine and politics. He masterfully shows how Canguilhem’s views on colonialism intertwine with his key philosophical insight on error in life. In addition to his contribution on Canguilhem scholarship, Talcott shows how Canguilhem influenced Foucault’s political analysis of medical fields.” (Sokthan Yeng, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Adelphi University, USA)

Table of contents (8 chapters)

Table of contents (8 chapters)
  • Power, Ruse, and Resistance in Societies of Control: Canguilhem on Algeria, the Republic, and Education

    Talcott, Samuel

    Pages 1-38

  • The Births of Political Resistance and Biological Philosophy Out of the Spirit of Medicine: Error in the Early Years

    Talcott, Samuel

    Pages 39-75

  • Technical Alterations in the Problem of Error: From the True and the False to the Normal and the Pathological

    Talcott, Samuel

    Pages 77-103

  • Error and the Problem of Creation

    Talcott, Samuel

    Pages 105-139

  • Knowledge of Life True to Life: Medicine, Experimentation, and Milieu

    Talcott, Samuel

    Pages 141-178

Buy this book

eBook $69.99
price for USA in USD (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-00779-9
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $89.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-030-00778-2
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Georges Canguilhem and the Problem of Error
Authors
Copyright
2019
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG
eBook ISBN
978-3-030-00779-9
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-00779-9
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-030-00778-2
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XXIII, 294
Number of Illustrations
1 b/w illustrations
Topics