In the eighteenth century, medicine underwent a mutation. For the first time, medical kwledge took on a precision that had formerly belonged only to mathematics. The body became something that could be mapped. Disease became subject to new rules of classification. And doctors begin to describe phemena that for centuries had remained below the threshold of the visible and expressible. In The Birth of the Clinic the philosopher and intellectual historian who may be the true heir to Nietzsche charts this dramatic transformation of medical kwledge. As in his classic Madness and Civilization, Michel Foucault shows how much what we think of as pure science owes to social and cultural attitudes -- in this case, to the climate of the French Revolution. Brilliant, provocative, and omnivorously learned, his book sheds new light on the origins of our current tions of health and sickness, life and death.
Michel Foucault was born in Poitiers, France, in 1926. He lecturerd in universities throughout the world; served as director at the Institut Francais in Hamburg, Germany and at the Institut de Philosophi at the Faculte des Lettres in the University of Clermont-Ferrand, France; and wrote frequently for French newspapers and reviews. At the time of his death in 1984, he held a chair at France's most prestigious institutions, the College de France.