Knowledge of Life / Edition 3

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As the work of thinkers such as Michel Foucault, Franois Jacob, Louis Althusser, and Pierre Bourdieu demonstrates, Georges Canguilhem has exerted tremendous influence on the philosophy of science and French philosophy more generally. In Knowledge of Life, a book that spans twenty years of his essays and lectures, Canguilhem offers a series of epistemological histories that seek to establish and clarify the stakes, ambiguities, and emergence of philosophical and biological concepts that defined the rise of modern biology. How do transformations in biology and modern medicine shape conceptions of life? How do philosophical concepts feed into biological ideas and experimental practices, and how are they themselves transformed? How does knowledge undo the experience of life so as to help man remake what life has made without him, in him or outside of him?Knowledge of Life is Canguilhem's effort to explain how the movements of knowledge and life come to rest upon each other. Published at the dawn of the genetic revolution and still pertinent today, the book tackles the history of cell theory, the conceptual moves toward and away from mechanical understandings of the organism, the persistence of vitalism, and the nature of normality in science and its objects.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

After reading these essays, one might well ask, as Canguilhem did, 'What are the presuppositions that drive contemporary interpretations of science?' Currently, few seem to be asking that question . . . Canguilhem presents a metaphysical quandary that remains as vital today as when he wrote 60 years ago.

It is invaluable that this important set of essays by France's premier historian of science is now available in English. They are sure to have a major impact on a wide range of disciplines.-Paul Rabinow

An exceptional grasp of the enduring philosophical problems of biological research.-Harry Marks

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823229260
  • Publisher: Fordham University Press
  • Publication date: 12/15/2008
  • Series: Forms of Living Series
  • Edition description: 3
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Georges Canguilhem (1904-1995) remains one of France's most influential philosophers of science. Stefanos Geroulanos is Assistant Professor of Modern European Intellectual History at New York University. He is the author of An Atheism That Is Not Humanist Emerges in French Thought and the co-translator of Georges Canguilhem's Knowledge of Life (Fordham).

DANIELA GINSBURG is a Ph.D. candidate at The Johns Hopkins University Humanities Center.

Paola Marrati is Professor of Humanities and Philosophy at The Johns Hopkins University, where she directs the Program for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality. She is the author of Genesis and Trace: Derrida Reading Husserl and Heidegger and Gilles Deleuze: cinma et philosophie.

Todd Meyers is Assistant Professor of Medical Anthropology at Wayne State University and the co-editor of Georges Canguilhem's Knowledge of Life (Fordham).

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Table of Contents

Foreword: Life, as Such Paola Manari Manari, Paola Todd Meyers Meyers, Todd

Translators' Note by Stefanos Geroulanos and Daniela Ginsburg

Introduction: Thought and the Living

Pt. 1 Method

1 Experimentation in Animal Biology

Pt. 2 History

2 Cell Theory

Pt. 3 Philosophy

3 Aspects of Vitalism

4 Machine and Organism

5 The Living and Its Milieu

6 The Normal and the Pathological

7 Monstrosity and the Monstrous


1 Note on the Transition from Fibrillar Theory to Cell Theory

2 Note on the Relationship Between Cell Theory and Leibniz's Philosophy

3 Extracts from the "Discours sur l'anatomie du cervcau" ("Discourse on the Anatomy of the Brain"), delivered hy Nicolas Steno in Paris in 1665 to the "Messieurs de l'Assemblee de chez Monsieur Thevenot" in Paris



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