Elisabetta Basso

junior fellow
EURIAS cohort 2016/2017
discipline Philosophy
FCT Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Centro de Filosofia, University of Lisbon

Research project

Rethinking Anthropology in the Light of Phenomenology and Psychopathology: Michel Foucault’s 1950s Manuscripts (Bibliothèque Nationale de France)


The proposed research aims to explore and analyse the archives of Michel Foucault that have been collected in 2013 at the manuscripts department of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris. This investigation intends to focus on the documents of the 1950s in order to study the role of the reflection on anthropology and phenomenology at the beginning of Foucault’s philosophical path.


These archives comprise reading notes, notes for the courses, and the preparatory manuscripts of the courses. The analysis of the reading notes will enable us to shed light on the bibliographical sources and the authors, which drew the attention of the young philosopher at the beginning of his intellectual activity. Furthermore, these notes offer a privileged observation point on Foucault’s working method. This kind of archival material will also allow us to discover the tremendous work that is on the basis of the relatively few works that Foucault published in the 1950s. Until now the researchers have been unable to understand the seemingly sharp and contradictory break that divides these works from the works published by Foucault in the 1960s and the 1970s, in which emerges the archaeological refusal of phenomenology and anthropology, as well as the strong criticism against any form of psychopathological discourse. The access to the documents of the 1950s will enable us at last to investigate the reasons of this outward break and to better understand the development and the evolution of Foucault’s theoretical concerns.


The preparatory manuscripts of the courses given by Foucault at the University of Lille (1952-54) are particularly important in this regard. The proposed research will give a special emphasis to the manuscript entitled: "Cours sur la phénoménologie et Binswanger". In fact, this manuscript seems to have been planned and written as an autonomous book, to the point that we could make the hypothesis that it is the presumed never-written work to which Foucault refers in a yearbook of the University of Lille of the beginning of the 1950s, where he put on the list of his works a book "already in press" on "Psychiatrie et analyses existentielle".



Elisabetta Basso is FCT Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Centro de Filosofia of the University of Lisbon, and associated member of the Centre d'Archives en Philosophie, Histoire et Édition des Sciences (UMS 3610-CAPHES, Paris). She holds a double Ph.D in Philosophy from the University Paris-1 Sorbonne and the University Ca' Foscari Venezia. Her areas of specialisation are philosophy and history of the human sciences, philosophy and history of psychiatry, philosophical anthropology, and French contemporary philosophy.


Selected publications


Philosophie de la psychiatrie, with M. Delbraccio (dir.), vol. 137, no. 1-2, 2016.


'Foucault entre psychanalyse et psychiatrie: 'Reprendre la folie au niveau de son langage'', Archives de Philosophie, vol. 79, no. 1, 2016, pp. 27-54.


'The Clinical Epistemology of Ludwig Binswanger (1881-1966): Psychiatry as a Science of Singularity', in A. Blum & S. Murray (eds), The Art of Care: Moral Knowledge, Communication and the Culture of Caregiving, Routledge, New York, 2016, pp. 179-194.


Foucault à Münsterlingen: À l’origine de l’Histoire de la folie, with J.-F. Bert (eds.), EHESS, Paris, 2015.


'Kierkegaard’s Influence on Ludwig Binswanger’s Work', in J. Stewart (ed.), Kierkegaard’s Influence on Social Sciences, Kierkegaard Research: Sources, Reception, and Resources, Section II: Kierkegaard’s Reception, vol. 13, Ashgate, Aldershot, 2012, pp. 29-53.


''Le rêve comme argument': Les enjeux épistémologiques à l’origine du projet existentiel de Ludwig Binswanger', Archives de Philosophie, vol. 73, no. 4, 2010, pp. 655-686.



senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2017/2018
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discipline Environmental Studies
senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2013/2014
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discipline Political Science
senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2016/2017
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EURIAS promotion 2018/2019
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