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The Order of Things

Discussion in 'The Philosopher' started by speed, Jan 22, 2007.

  1. speed

    speed Member

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    Borges, in his The Analytical Knowledge of John Wilkins, describes "a certain Chinese encyclopedia," the Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge", in which it is written that animals are divided into:

    1. those that belong to the Emperor,
    2. embalmed ones,
    3. those that are trained,
    4. suckling pigs,
    5. mermaids,
    6. fabulous ones,
    7. stray dogs,
    8. those included in the present classification,
    9. those that tremble as if they were mad,
    10. innumerable ones,
    11. those drawn with a very fine camelhair brush,
    12. others,
    13. those that have just broken a flower vase,
    14. those that from a long way off look like flies.


    Foucault upon reading said taxonomy, roared with laughter and stated: "I read the passage, all the familiar landmarks of my thought- our thought, the thought that bears the stamp of our age and our geography - breaking up all the ordered surfaces and all the planes with which we are accustomed to tame the wild profusion of existing things, and continuing long afterwards to disturb and threaten with collapse our age-old distinction between the Same and the Other.

    A link to the short preface of said book is found here:

    http://http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/sci_cult/evolit/s05/prefaceOrderFoucault.pdf
     

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