Foucault, Michel - Nietzsche, Genealogy, History

Notes - Garnet Hertz
Updated 30 May 2006

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Foucault, Michel. " Nietzsche, Genealogy, History." The Foucault Reader. Ed. Paul Rabinow. New York: Pantheon Books, 1984. 76-100.


[76] {geneaology, documentary} Genealogy is gray, meticulous, and patiently documentary. It operates on a field of entangled and confused parchments, on documents that have been scratched over and recopied many times.

[81] {geneaology, evolution, accidents} Genealogy does not resemble the evolution of a species and does not map the destiny of a people. On the contrary, to follow the complex course of descent is to maintain passing events in their proper dispersion; it is to identify the accidents, the minute deviations - or conversely, the complete reversals - the errors, the false appraisals, and the faulty calculations that gave birth to those things that continue to exist and have value for us; it is to discover that truth or being does not lie at the root of what we know and what we are, but the exteriority of accidents.

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