The Human Sciences
For Foucault the human sciences are made possible by the appearance of modern biology, economics and linguistics at the beginning of the nineteenth century. These knowledges set the terms of how life, labour and language are to be conceived. Foucault argues that they are wholly different from the previous forms of knowledge of living beings, of wealth and of speaking, and are part of an entire reorganisation of knowledge. As we have seen, in what Foucault designates as the Classical episteme, knowledge was analogous to language. The elements of human discourse provided both a representation of phenomena and in the same operation an analysis of phenomena. The first notion of representation would be common to any theory of language which claimed that it denoted something external to it. But the second notion, of simultaneous analysis, is particular to the account of knowledge of the Classical episteme. Knowledge is signification and signification is both representation and analysis. A representation both signifies and analyses something in the way that a map does, an image which is a common metaphor in 17th and 18th-century discussions of what signification consists in. Hence a great deal of our contemporary anxiety concerning language did not arise.
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