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Doing a double take, one realizes that, of course, this is not a pipe; it's a picture of a pipe.Our philosophe is able to detect some significance in this precious banality, for does not Magritte's statement that the painting is not a pipe disturb the very illusion of presence that ''realistic'' representation pretends to effect?His work proposes a critique not simply of depiction but of all ''texts'' that aim at the truth. Foucault takes Magritte to recommend a free play of the imagination. Foucault can recommend this esthetic stance is a mystery to me.
This Is Not A Pipe Foucault Essay Critically Discuss Essay Introduction
The superficial contrast between the flat, two-dimensional blackboard pipe and the Platonic or transcendental overpipe is subverted, and it dawns on us that it is the picture of the pipe that we know, not the pipe in itself.None at all, since there can be no communication between worlds informed by different values: The advocate of any position either preaches to the converted or babbles meaninglessly. This essay not only proposes a new understanding of Magritte; it also constitutes a perfect illustration and introduction to the thought of the philosopher himself, France's great wizard of paradox. Foucault, which are included in this volume, the useful introduction and splendid translation by James Harkness and the handy (though hardly sumptuous) black-and-white reproductions of many of Magritte's works combine to make this a document of extraordinary interest.Thus does hyberbolic relativism induce conceptual claustrophobia. Flint Schier, who teaches philosophy at the University of Glasgow, has recently completed a book on pictorial representation, ''Deeper Into Pictures.'' Home | Site Index | Site Search | Forums | Archives | Marketplace Quick News | Page One Plus | International | National/N. Beneath it in the obsequious copybook scrawl of a child, the subversive caption reads, ''This is not a pipe.'' It is signed ''Magritte.'' Here is paradox enough to sate the most perverse appetite.And in the French philosophe Michel Foucault, himself no mean practitioner of the oddball, Magritte's looking-glass pipe has found its Lewis Carroll, as the reader of this book will discover.What does it mean to write "This is not a pipe" across a bluntly literal painting of a pipe?Ren Magritte's famous canvas provides the starting point for a delightful homage by the French philosopher-historian Michel Foucault.And since different historical periods inhabit the diverse worlds of their own creation, and words and symbols can have no fixed reference across such distinct worlds, there is no possibility of understanding between periods. Foucault is no solipsist: We're all in this predicament together, since our world is the projection of our common language.What makes ''This Is Not a Pipe'' a book of such interest is that Magritte's art provides the perfect pretext for Mr. Doesn't a picture that declares, ''This is not a pipe,'' undercut our expectation that representation will give us the thing - in this case, the pipe - itself? Magritte was perhaps unique among the visual artists of this century in the depth of his philosophical lore.Thus there can be no natural science of man or thought.The appropriate stance for the mind in this predicament is to reject all pretensions to truth and to be available to the play of all possibilities, using each to cancel the claims of the others.