Τhe ensuing philosophical anthropology – it was Foucault who edited a French edition of Kant’s Anthropologie – generates an illicit way to talk that pretends to look like biology or linguistics. This is not the familiar criticism that says the method of the social sciences is inept. The method is all too well modeled on legitimate science – Foucault is denying that the human sciences have a genuine object to talk about. Luckily, he informs us, Man is on the way out. Discourse is coming in, pure discourse without the knowing subjects who utters the words.
Discourse is, then, to be analysed not in terms who says what but in terms of the conditions under which those sentences will have a definite truth value, and hence are capable of being uttered. Such conditions will lie in the “depth” knowledge of the time. This vision leads us far from material conditions of the production of sentences.
David Couzens Hoy (ed.) Foucault, A Critical Reader (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1986)