Canguilhem – book for Polity’s Key Contemporary Thinkers series, forthcoming 2019

My study of Georges Canguilhem was resubmitted earlier this month. It’s now been accepted in final form and will appear in Polity’s Key Contemporary Thinkers series in early 2019.

As I’ve mentioned before, the book developed out of the work I’ve been doing on the very early Foucault. Here’s the book description:

Georges Canguilhem (1904-1995) was an influential historian and philosopher of science, as renowned for his teaching as for his writings. He is best known for his book The Normal and the Pathological, originally his doctoral thesis in medicine, but he also wrote a thesis in philosophy on the concept of the reflex, supervised by Gaston Bachelard. He was the sponsor of Michel Foucault’s doctoral thesis on madness. However, his work extends far beyond what is suggested by his association with these thinkers. Canguilhem also produced a series of important works on the natural sciences, including studies of evolution, psychology, vitalism and mechanism, experimentation, monstrosity and disease.

Stuart Elden discusses the whole of this important thinker’s complex work, including recently rediscovered texts and archival materials. Canguilhem always approached questions historically, examining how it was that we came to a significant moment in time, outlining tensions, detours and paths not taken. The first comprehensive study in English, this book is a crucial guide for those coming to terms with Canguilhem’s important contributions, and will appeal to researchers and students from a range of fields.

Here’s the table of contents:


1. Foundations

2. The Normal and the Pathological

3. Philosophy of Biology

4. Physiology and the Reflex

5. Regulation and Psychology

6. Evolution and Monstrosity

7. Philosophy of History

8. Writings on Medicine

9. Legacies


Foucault and Canguilhem

Jean Hyppolite, Michel Foucault, Georges Canguilhem, Dina Dreyfus, 1965 (source: Institut national de l’audiovisuel, via Foucault Blog)

This entry was posted in Canguilhem (book), Gaston Bachelard, Georges Canguilhem, Jean Hyppolite, Michel Foucault, The Early Foucault, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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