Kant, Foucault, and Forms of Experience

This study presents the theoretical apparatus of Foucault's early historical analyses as a version of Kantian criticism. In an initial textual exposition, the author attempts to distill a unified discursive practice from Kant's theoretical writings, arguing for Foucault's proximity to Kant on the basis of this reconstruction, by showing that his studies are modeled on this way of thinking. By recasting it in this framework, an unorthodox version of Foucault's work is generated, one that is at odds with the tendency to emphasize a certain skepticism about the possibility of universal and necessary knowledge in his writings, and to mistake it for irrationalism and a hostility to the practice of theory. By drawing attention to the structural parallel between Foucault's practice and Kantian criticism, this study belies this picture.