8 Interesting Facts About Michel Foucault


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Anyone who has an interest in social sciences has probably heard of Michel Foucault and his theories that primarily address the relationship between power and knowledge. However, how well do you know about him and his background? Check out some interesting facts about Michel Foucault we compiled for you.

8. He was born in a very wealthy family. He was the second of three children whose father, Paul Foucault, was a successful local surgeon, and whose mother, Anne Malapert, was the daughter of a wealthy, well-known surgeon Dr. Prosper Malapert.

7. As a family tradition, he was named after his father, Paul Foucault. However, his mother insisted on the addition of Michel.

6. He had a standard upper class education and went to elite Jesuit institutions such as the Lycée Henri-IV, Collège Stanislas de Paris and etc.

5. Both his parents hoped he would continue the family tradition and become a doctor.

4. However, under the influence of his tutors, he began to have an interest in philosophy. In 1943, he returned to the Local Lycee Henry-IV in order to study philosophy and history for a year under his personal tutor, philosopher Louis Girard. Then in 1945, he went to Paris where, under his tutor, philosopher Jean Hyppolite, he studied philosophy and history of ideas.

3. His personal tutor, Jean Hyppolite’s conviction that philoshopy has to develop through studies of history was highly influential for Foucault, his works and career.

2. Foucault himself, as a young boy, engaged in both sadomasochism and homosexuality by entering underground gay scene in France, falling in love with a drug dealer and so on.

1. He began self-harming and thinking constantly of suicide. At the age of 22, he tried to commit suicide. His father forced him, against his will, to see France’s most famous psychiatrist, Jean Delay who said that a lot of Michel’s distress came from having to keep his interest in sadomasochism and his homosexuality away from the censorious society of his time.


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