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Foucault's ArchaeologyScience and Transformation$
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David Webb

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780748624218

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748624218.001.0001

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Gaston Bachelard: Construction and Temporal Discontinuity

Gaston Bachelard: Construction and Temporal Discontinuity

Chapter:
2 Gaston Bachelard: Construction and Temporal Discontinuity
Source:
Foucault's Archaeology
Author(s):

David Webb

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748624218.003.0003

For Bachelard, science is not the direct formalisation of experience, but the modification of the conditions of existing experience. The laws that give form even to phenomena as they present themselves at a given moment (so leaving aside future innovations in science) are therefore not to be drawn from empirical experience. Instead, one has to look for rational laws found at the level of what Bachelard calls a ‘noumenology’. significantly, he calls these laws the ‘mathematical a priori’, a phrase that Foucault will later use towards the end of The Order of Things in recommending a new critical philosophy. What Bachelard took from mathematical science and passed on to others, including Foucault, is that what for Kant were transcendental conditions for the possibility of experience, and for the forms of judgement appropriate to it, have been removed from consciousness and laid out in the practice of mathematics. The chapter then outlines Bachelard's conception of temporal discontinuity (a form of temporal atomism modified by what he called the arithmetisation of time), which will also be important for understanding the sense of temporal dispersion Foucault deploys in The Archaeology of Knowledge.

Keywords:   Foucault, Bachelard, Constructivism, Construction, Mathematics, Temporal discontinuity, Temporal atomism

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