- Purchase/rental options available:
April 2016 was the fiftieth anniversary of the release of Michel Foucault’s monumental study Les Mots et les Choses (1966), translated four years later as The Order of Things (1970). This contribution wants to revisit the enigmatic last part of Foucault’s book in the light of the past half century of philosophical thinking, more particularly with regard to the post-humanist condition. Although Foucault’s thesis of the “end of man” is an obligatory reference in studies on post-humanism, the specific presuppositions and implications of Foucault’s so-called anti-humanism generally remained unexplored. In this contribution, Foucault’s The Order of Things is re-evaluated, considering its potential for the project of “critical post-humanism.” In this context, the following questions are taken into account: What humanism is targeted by Foucault’s critique? What are the specific aspirations of Foucault’s so-called “anti-humanism”? And, what is the latter’s critical potential for the development of a post-humanist philosophical anthropology understanding post-humanism as a continuation-through-transformation of humanism? Further expanding on the fore-mentioned questions, this contribution reconsiders Ian Hacking’s Historical Ontology (2002) as a further elaboration of the Foucauldian enterprise. In line with both Foucault and Hacking, the conditions of a post-humanist “historical ontology” of man are questioned in order to consider a philosophical anthropology for the 21st century.