Though a difficult text to manage and ridden with complexity, points of internal anxiety, and even requiring some knowledge derived from elsewhere, Foucault's text is an excavation on the order of symbols and the categories of thought which the Classical era brought, especially to Western Europe. Rather than a direct, localised understanding of human history, Foucault's text serves to abstract and dissolve certain concrete concepts which are established within social convention and structure. By looking at several means of symbolism including the meaning implied by Miguel de Cervantes' "Don Quixote", Foucault gives his archaeology of thought a certain cultural relevance, and a certain sense of humanity trying to reach beyond itself, into new symbols which defy the physical restrictions before it. His impetus, a certain undisclosed work by Jorge Luis Borges, is also very curious. A Spanish poet and novelist inspired by latent depth and complexity, and the work of the earliest and most pivotal philosopher of the enlightenment, Benedict de Spinoza, the intention running beneath the challenging text is quite clear: Foucault seeks like one of his several inspirations, Friedrich Nietzsche (the champion of freethinking in the nineteenth century), to uncover certain latent potentials underlying the rigid organisation of human thought.
The text does not represent hypothesis as much as it does represent discovery, and Foucault keeps a consistent academic tone within his writing. His purpose is clear: to create a set of instruments and precise tools of criticism and thought for certain modes of thinking about knowledge as containment, knowledge as something quite distinct from actual human thought and understanding. Though Foucault's book is academic in tone, it's focus and aim are clearly social and in the interests of releasing certain folds of thought which are currently hidden by the apparent limitations of knowledge. As Foucault says, knowledge isn't for knowing, it is for cutting. The suggestion of the book is clear: that knowledge itself is not the relevant objective, or the categorisation or ordering of knowledge. Rather, Foucault desires to point to the origin of human thought, and the hidden areas of perspective, which he highlights in the field of psycho-analysis and ethnography. This book is of incredible value for people interested in understanding the underpinnings of knowledge and the way in which it is structured, and a good complement would perhaps be the work of Jorge Luis Borges, or even Gilles Deleuze who was a friend with similar objectives to Michel Foucault. Deleuze's texts, written with Felix Guattari, "Capitalism and Schizophrenia" are further insights into problems in scholarship, knowledge structuring, etc.