It has doubtless been essential to Western culture to link, as it has done, its perception of madness to the iconographic forms of the relation of man to beast. From the start, Western culture has not considered it evident that animals participate in the plenitude of nature, in its wisdom and its order: this idea was a late one and long remained on the surface of culture; perhaps it has not yet penetrated very deeply into the subterranean regions of the imagination. In fact, on close examination, it becomes evident that the animal belongs rather to an anti-nature, to a negativity that threatens order and by its frenzy endangers the positive wisdom of nature. [...] Why should the fact that Western man has lived for two thousand years on his definition as a rational animal necessarily mean that he has recognized the possibility of an order common to reason and to animality? [...] [M]ay we not assume that for the West this "rational animal" has long been the measure of the way in which reason's freedom functioned in the locus of unreason, diverging from it until it constituted its opposite term? From the moment philosophy became anthropology, and man sought to recognize himself in a natural plenitude, the animal lost its power of negativity, in order to become, between the determinism of nature and the reason of man, the positive form of an evolution. The formula of the "rational animal" has utterly changed its meaning: the unreason it suggested as the origin of all possible reason has entirely disappeared. Henceforth madness must obey the determinism of man perceived as a natural being in his very animality.

Foucault, Michel. 1961 [1995]. Madness and Civilization: A history of insanity in the age of reason. London: Routledge, p.77-78.