What does it mean to write "This is not a pipe" across a bluntly
literal painting of a pipe? Rene Magritte's famous canvas provides
the starting point for a delightful homage by French philosopher
and historian Michel Foucault. Much better known for his incisive
and mordant explorations of power and social exclusion, Foucault
here assumes a more playful stance. By exploring the nuances and
ambiguities of Magritte's visual critique of language, he finds the
painter less removed than previously thought from the pioneers of
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