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The Passion of Michel Foucault (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 1. März 1994

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Produktbeschreibungen

Pressestimmen

Probably the best general introduction to Foucault's later thinking.

ÝA¨ bold and brilliant reconstruction of Foucault's life and thought...Miller's argument is persuasive.

[A] bold and brilliant reconstruction of Foucault's life and thought...Miller's argument is persuasive.

Miller's controversial book is the product of prodigious research...[H]e discusses madness, death, and homosexuality, and particularly sadomasochism in great, graphic, almost sensational detail.

Miller gives us the portrait of a vibrant, incandescent, fearless, and luminous mind--yes, perhaps self-destructive and all too human, but one that can never be accused of banality, mediocrity, pettiness, or naivetA(c).

James Miller's impressively documented study of Foucault's life in philosophy is an electric, disturbing, and brilliantly provocative work, truly worthy of its subject, and essential companion to a reading of late twentieth century Western culture.--Edward W. Said, author of "Culture and Imperialism" and "Orientalism"

James Miller may shock some readers with his way of talking about both sex and philosophy, Nietzsche and AIDS, theories of knowledge and sadomasochism, but out of these contrasting elements he constructs a heroic life, one that illustrates the very notion Foucault developed late in his career, the idea that a philosopher's life should be exemplary and that he himself should be a lover of wisdom, a seeker of truth.--Edmund White, author of "A Boy's Own Story" -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Taschenbuch.

Synopsis

This is a study of Michel Foucault's life in philosophy. Foucault was probably the most influential Western philosopher since Sartre. Hailed as an original thinker, he has also been criticized as a dangerous and irresponsible nihilist. Drawing on extensive research, this book focuses on the philosopher's obsession with death and his taste for sado-masochistic sex. By the author of "Democracy in the Streets". -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.

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Format: Taschenbuch
The one time that Noam Chomsky met Michel Foucault, on a Dutch TV discussion programme in 1971, the discussion took some turns that Chomsky found disturbing. Chomsky is a man who believes in freedom and justice, and was perturbed to find the baldy Frenchman defending the right of proletarians to engage in violent revolt against the ruling class. "One makes war to win, not because it's just," declared Foucault in his best Class Enemy manner, and the linguist Chomsky found himself at a loss for words. He told James Miller that while he personally liked Foucault, it was "as if he was from a different species, or something."
Now that the revolutionary fervour of the Seventies is becoming little more than hearsay, most people seriously concerned with injustice and freedom might well be inclined to side with Chomsky. As would I. James Miller's book is an astonishing act of sympathetic inquiry, in which he makes a persuasive case that many of Foucault's most provocative ideas are arguably more significant when seen as outgrowths of a highly singular spiritual project, rather than a rational process of argumentation.
Foucault didn't like the idea of biography, but since his death we've had three - Didier Eribon's pedestrian life story, James Macey's (which I haven't read) and Miller's. I'm willing to bet that, even with Macey's unseen, Miller's is the best book. His Foucault is the opposite of a detached intellectual; he's an almost shamanistic quasi-hero, a voyager beyond the bounds of the ordinary, who when he's not campaigning for better prison conditions is taking LSD in Death Valley and revelling in the leather bars of San Francisco.
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I give 2 stars because Miller is uncritical and his premise is excellent, looking at Foucault's life as a Nietzean exercise, but his execution of it is rather clunky. 1)His interpretation is overdetermined. Reading this biography flattens Foucault's works into being about the same thing. Foucault, in Miller's hands, appear to never have had shifts in his thinking. 2)Reader beware! Miller quotes Foucault out of context. One will always have to compare Miller's quotes against the original. 3) He overpersonalizes the philospher failing to provide a context of which Foucault's ideas had arisen. If you want a well-balanced biography try David Macey. Macey respects the reader's intelligence, he allows us to decide for ourselves unlike, Miller who imposes his interpretation on us.
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This book is perfect if you want to focus on the late Foucault, who is a surprise if you know nothing about the historical and biographical developement of his thougth. It will give you a big hint if you are disoriented within the bunch of colors in his estense work. That's at least what it did for me. However, the book may give somebody the idea that only the late Foucault deserves a reading, and that one is not loosing something skipping "The order of things", or "Discipline & Punishment", two real classics of our time. The audacious ideas arising in these two books deserve attention because of their actuality and originality, and because of the sour critic they implicate for existing philosophical schools. The rare anecdotes (i.e.: the conversations with Habermas) may discourage one to think seriously of the main themes of the early Foucault, and that's why I'd recommend a previous reading of Foucault's early works from the beggining until the first volume of his "History of sexuality". Miller's book will make things more clear without taking out all the "Passion" that someone like Foucault may arise.
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I give 2 stars because Miller is uncritical and his premise is excellent, looking at Foucault's life as a Nietzean exercise, but his execution of it is rather clunky. 1)His interpretation is overdetermined. Reading this biography flattens Foucault's works into being about the same thing. Foucault, in Miller's hands, appear to never have had shifts in his thinking. 2)Reader beware! Miller quotes Foucault out of context. One will always have to compare Miller's quotes against the original. 3) He overpersonalizes the philospher failing to provide a context of which Foucault's ideas had arisen. If you want a well-balanced biography try David Macey. Macey respects the reader's intelligence, he allows us to decide for ourselves unlike, Miller who imposes his interpretation on us.
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Amazon.com: HASH(0x9975a228) von 5 Sternen 17 Rezensionen
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HASH(0x98b08ad4) von 5 Sternen Passionate Truth? 17. März 2003
Von Jon G. Jackson - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
This book, based on the "philosophical life" of the late French philosopher Michel Foucault, reveals the mind of a man who was, says Miller, "one of the most original---and daring---thinkers of the century." Far from being just another biography of Foucault's life, Miller's thoroughly researched project demonstrates time and again the intimate interconnection between the way a life is lived and the thinking and writing that can come from that life. But this is much more than just an intellectual history. One Can't help but share in the passion that speaks through Miller's writing, powerfully earning this book its title.
Foucault said, "...there is not a book I have written that does not grow, at least in part, out of a direct, personal experience." Each chapter of Miller's book gradually unfolds the truth of this statement, beginning with Foucault's earliest writings on madness and mental illness, through his works on knowledge and criminality, to his final opus on the nature of human sexuality. Foucault's unorthodox approach to history is made clear, revealing a revolutionary philosophy based not on structured logic and reason, but growing instead from the realm of experience, in keeping with the "great Nietzschean quest [to] become what one is."
I personally found this book quite disturbing, still accepting as I do many principles of existential humanism, especially those of free will and personal responsibility. But humanism as a whole is a philosphy Foucault and his contemporaries emphatically reject as "a diminution of man," made up of "everything in Western civilization that restricts the desire for power" and "every attitude that considers the aim of politics to be the production of happiness." In reality, says Foucault, happiness does not exist---and the happiness of man exists still less."
"The individual," he is reported to have said, "is contingent, formed by the weight of moral tradition, not really autonomous." And we "can and must make of man a negative experience, lived in the form of hate and aggression."
Somewhat stunned, I've nevertheless gained from Miller's book a new understanding of the world I live in, and of myself as part of that world. "Under the impact of civilization," he summarizes, "the will to power (Freud's 'death instinct') has been driven inward and turned against itself---creating within the human being a new inclination: to destroy himself." So, if Foucault is right, the basic truth that society tries to make humans homogenously "tame" is itself the very root of the violence and decadence of our times. If we are to point to the cause of these problems, we can only point at ourselves and at our structured ways of thinking. The problem is not what we have allowed to be, but rather what we have tried to deny and eliminate. "I am referring," says Foucault, "to all those experiences that have been rejected by our civilization, or which it accepts only within literature." This view throws the current move toward increased artistic censorship into new and unexpected relief.
For Foucault, then, the issue is the same, whatever the subject at hand: the concept of madness, our systems of language and knowledge, law and the punishment of crime, or the idea and expression of our individual sexuality. Regardless of our lifestyle, history has told us the limits of what we can be, and as individuals and as a culture we are paying a great price for believeing it. According to Foucault, the solution can only be to "free ourselves from...cultural conservatism, as well as from political conservatism. We must see our rituals for what they are: completely arbitrary things." We must find the "limits" of our thinking and learn to transcend them. Says Foucault, "...the unity of society [is] precisely that which should...be destroyed."
Miller's book is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!
45 von 56 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x98b08b34) von 5 Sternen A brilliant exercise in critical biography 26. Mai 2000
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
The one time that Noam Chomsky met Michel Foucault, on a Dutch TV discussion programme in 1971, the discussion took some turns that Chomsky found disturbing. Chomsky is a man who believes in freedom and justice, and was perturbed to find the baldy Frenchman defending the right of proletarians to engage in violent revolt against the ruling class. "One makes war to win, not because it's just," declared Foucault in his best Class Enemy manner, and the linguist Chomsky found himself at a loss for words. He told James Miller that while he personally liked Foucault, it was "as if he was from a different species, or something."
Now that the revolutionary fervour of the Seventies is becoming little more than hearsay, most people seriously concerned with injustice and freedom might well be inclined to side with Chomsky. As would I. James Miller's book is an astonishing act of sympathetic inquiry, in which he makes a persuasive case that many of Foucault's most provocative ideas are arguably more significant when seen as outgrowths of a highly singular spiritual project, rather than a rational process of argumentation.
Foucault didn't like the idea of biography, but since his death we've had three - Didier Eribon's pedestrian life story, James Macey's (which I haven't read) and Miller's. I'm willing to bet that, even with Macey's unseen, Miller's is the best book. His Foucault is the opposite of a detached intellectual; he's an almost shamanistic quasi-hero, a voyager beyond the bounds of the ordinary, who when he's not campaigning for better prison conditions is taking LSD in Death Valley and revelling in the leather bars of San Francisco. I personally find it hard to take many of Foucault's ideas seriously, especially as Miller demonstrates that there's occasionally an element of pose and display in Foucault's wackier remarks, but this book certainly increases my respect for him, even if I remain unconvinced.
Foucault has probably given rise to more dreary would-be subversive po-mo drivel than any other French intellectual, with the possible exception of Jacques Derrida, but he makes a great story. No doubt he made major contributions to certain fields of historiography and Queer Theory. "Discipline and Punish" is a brilliant, if infuriatingly elliptical book. Some essays, such as "What is an Author?", remain vital and suggestive. The rest of it...I dunno. But Miller's book is a strong contribution to hauling his legacy out of the academy and onto the street.
9 von 10 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x98b08d08) von 5 Sternen Flawed but Interesting 22. April 2008
Von Steiner - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
Despite the late philosopher's explicit request to not compose a biography of his life, James Miller has compiled a highly competent study of Foucault's life and thought. While not purporting to be a traditional biography, Miller frequently falls into the trap of imposing a cogent narrative onto the work of this great mind in a way that is not always convincing. We are provided with very fine material on Foucault's complex youth, as well as his various political engagements as an activist/academic, but I never got the sense that Miller had really penetrated the essence of Foucault's profoundly Nietzschean project. Perhaps it is because of his background in political science that Miller tends to fall back onto Foucault's politics and let the philosophy awkwardly sit there. We are given more description of Foucault's acid trip in Death Valley than the meaning of 'The Birth of the Clinic,' for instance. Still, this is a fairly reasonable approximation of Foucault's career and why it will remain a formidable presence in the humanities for ages to come.
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x98b0b354) von 5 Sternen A GRAPHIC, SOMETIMES SHOCKING, YET QUITE ENLIGHTENING BIOGRAPHY 1. Januar 2015
Von Steven H Propp - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
James Miller (born 1947) is Chair of Liberal Studies and Professor of Politics at The New School. He has written other books such as Examined Lives: From Socrates to Nietzsche, Flowers in the Dustbin: The Rise of Rock and Roll, 1947-1977, etc.

He wrote in the Preface to this 1993 book, "This book is not a biography... rather, it is a narrative account of one man's lifelong struggle to honor Nietzsche's gnomic injunction, `to become what one is.' ... I have approached Foucault's writing as if it expressed a powerful desire to realize a certain form of life; and his life as if it embodied a sustained and partially successful effort to turn this desire into a reality... I have gathered information about various aspects of Foucault's life that have been hitherto undocumented and, therefore, largely unexamined... the crux of what is most original and challenging about Foucault's way of thinking ... is his unrelenting, deeply ambiguous and profoundly problematic preoccupation with death, which he explored not only in the exoteric form of his writing, but also, and I believe critically, in the esoteric form of sado-masochistic eroticism... To make matters worse, AIDS entered the story... The fact that my book was written ... in the shadow of a plague, makes it all too easy to discount the possibility that Foucault, in his radical approach to the body and its pleasures, was in fact a kind of visionary... I have gone ahead, and tried to tell the whole truth, as best I could."

He notes in the first chapter, "the circumstances of Foucault's death are still not entirely clear... Exactly when the doctors made their diagnosis is unknown; Foucault's death came relatively early in the epidemic, before a blood test for the presence of antibodies to the virus was widely available... by the fall of 1983, if not earlier, he had begun to worry that he might have AIDS. Still, it seems that a definite diagnosis was made only belatedly, probably at the end of 1983 or the beginning of 1984... Foucault's death put [his long-time partner] Daniel Defert in a difficult position... But now, he realized, no one---neither the doctor, nor Foucault, if he knew---had told him the truth. In private... Defert was furious. After all, his longtime lover had perhaps deceived him." (Pg. 23)

He explains, "But perhaps there was a still deeper and much darker reason for Foucault's silence... about AIDS. Over the summer of 1983, the philosopher had developed a scratchy dry cough, doubtless raising fears that he might have contracted the disorder... Defert thinks that `it is quite possible' Foucault in these months `had a real knowledge' that he was `near death.' ... within the North American gay community... efforts were underway to change sexual behaviors. In the previous months, some of Foucault's closest friends... had urged him ... to watch what he was doing. But Foucault had ignored their entreaties. Keeping a check on himself---particularly when he was in San Francisco---was not his style." (Pg. 26)

He goes on, "the possibility of what Foucault elsewhere called a `suicide-orgy' exerted an unusual fascination over him... That fall... he returned to the bathhouses of San Francisco. Accepting the new level of risk, he joined again in the orgies of torture... But why was Foucault there? If he already had the virus, as he perhaps suspected, then he might be endangering one of his partners.... [or else] he might be wagering his own life... What exactly Foucault did in San Francisco in the fall of 1983---and why---may never be known... Still, there seems little doubt that Foucault on his last visit to San Francisco was preoccupied by AIDS, and by his own possible death from it... `He took AIDS very seriously,' says Defert. `When he went to San Francisco for the last time, he took it as a "limit-experience."'" (Pg. 28-29)

In the Postscript to the book, Miller reveals, "My research began with a rumor---one that I now believe to be essentially false. One evening in the spring of 1987, an old friend ... relayed a shocking piece of gossip: knowing that he was dying of AIDS, Michel Foucault in 1983 had gone to gay bathhouses in America, and deliberately tried to infect other people with the disease." (Pg. 375) He continues, "I had become convinced that the rumor ... was false. For one thing... all my informants were straight. Furthermore, I had already gathered a great deal of evidence indicating that Foucault himself was never told that he in fact had AIDS. If this was true, then the notion that he had been some kind of `AIDS guerilla,' intent on killing others, seemed farfetched." (Pg. 380)

But after interviewing Defert [including his comment about the "limit-experience"], "Given the circumstances in San Francisco in the fall of 1983... to have taken AIDS as a `limit-experience'... would have involved engaging in potentially suicidal acts of passion with consenting partners, most of them likely to be infected already... Foucault and these men were wagering their lives together..." (Pg. 381)

In-between these quotations, lies an excellent, and very informative semi-biography of Foucault. But the "esoteric" sources Miller also consults (e.g., gay S/M periodicals) make this book---while at times shocking, and controversial---"must reading" for anyone who wants to know more about Foucault.
4 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x98b08cf0) von 5 Sternen An Excellent Expose 10. Mai 2006
Von Nate Dog - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
I read this work as part of a postmodern philosophy of the self class, and, among the esteemed company of Nietzsche and Heidegger, this book truly stands out as a great illumination of Foucault's life. The truth of the matter is, no matter whether or not you believe learning about an author adds to your understanding and enjoyment of his works, people will always want to know more. I found Miller's writing to be extremely precise and erudite without being unnecessarily technical or prosaic as biographies can sometimes be. Miller ties in Foucault's thought and philosophies to the story of his life in a way that allows one to really understand more about what Foucault was writing and why, and provides context to said works in a way that allows the reader to grasp it. Of course, reading "The Passion of Michel Foucault" isn't the same as reading the works of Foucault--nor is it a substitute--but I found it to be a fitting start--or end--to a study of the great philosopher he was.
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