Autumn 2010 – Biological, Psychological, and Social Norms: Canguilhem and Foucault

The Contemporary European Philosophy Workshop resumes with an organizational meeting on October 5, 4.30 PM in Foster 505, which will be the regular time and place of our meetings through the fall and winter quarters 2010–11.

In the fall, the workshop will function as a reading group that examines, under the guidance of professor Arnold Davidson, the theme of norms – biological, psychological, and social – in the tradition of French epistemology. We are going to read and discuss a selection of key texts by Georges Canguilhem and Michel Foucault that investigate the epistemological, moral, and political problems these different kinds of normativity, and especially relations between them, give rise to. In January, as a culmination of our readings and discussions, we hope to have Jean-François Braunstein (University Paris 1), a French expert on Canguilhem’s philosophy, to give a presentation to the workshop.

Our schedule for the fall, subject to slight modifications, looks as follows:

October 5

Organizational meeting, where we specify the logistics of the reading group, and schedule graduate student presentations for the winter and spring quarters.

October 19

Canguilhem, The Normal and the Pathological: ”From the Social to the Vital”, pp. 237–256.

November 2

Canguilhem, The Normal and the Pathological: ”On Organic Norms in Man”, pp. 257–274.

November 16

Canguilhem, ”Report from Mr. Canguilhem on the Manuscript Filed by Mr. Michel Foucault, Director of the Institut Français of Hamburg, in Order to Obtain Permission to Print His Principal Thesis for the Doctor of Letters”, in Arnold Davidson (ed.), Foucault and His Interlocutors.

Foucault, Mental Illness and Psychology, selections, to be specified.

November 30

Foucault, Abnormal, Lectures at the Collège de France 1974—75, pp. 41—52.