Certain discursive organizations of objects, concepts, and enunciative modalities give rise to ‘themes’ or ‘theories’ (the former denoting less ‘coherence, rigour, and stability’ than the latter). Foucault calls these themes and theories ‘strategies.’ He cannot say as much about the analysis of the formation of strategies in history as he was able to about the analysis of the first three formations, because his attention in his three previous books was directed primarily toward these first three. He will, however, indicate some directions for research.
Rousseau rejects the idea that legitimate political authority is found in nature. The only natural form of authority is the authority a father has over a child, which exists only for the preservation of the child. Political thinkers – particularly Grotius and Hobbes – have asserted that the relationship between ruler and subject is similar to that between father and child: the ruler cares for his subjects and so has unlimited rights over them. This kind of reasoning assumes the natural superiority of rulers over the ruled. Such superiority is perpetuated by force, not by nature, so political authority has no basis in nature.
Laches opens with a monologue by the character Lysimachus, speaking to two of his friends, Nicias and Laches. Lysimachus has just brought his two friends out onto a battlefield to watch a soldier fighting.
In the opening section of the Laches there is not an overwhelming amount of actual philosophy taking place. In this dialogue as well as in many others, Plato allows other characters to set the stage with their own remarks before Socrates begins to complicate the picture. That being said, there are several important pieces of information gestured at by Plato in these opening lines.
Aristotle considers substance to be primary, because we can conceive of a substance without, for example, any given qualities but we cannot conceive of a quality except as it pertains to a particular substance. One important conclusion from this division into categories is that we can make no general statements about being as a whole because there are ten very different ways in which something can have being. There is no common ground between the kind of being that a rock has and the kind of being that the color blue has.
John Locke’s Essay presents a detailed, systematic philosophy of mind and thought. The Essay wrestles with fundamental questions about how we think and perceive, and it even touches on how we express ourselves through language, logic, and religious practices. In the introduction, entitled The Epistle to the Reader, Locke describes how he became involved in his current mode of philosophical thinking. He relates an anecdote about a conversation with friends that made him realize that men often suffer in their pursuit of knowledge because they fail to determine the limits of their understanding.