"In my eyes it is never a crime to steal knowledge - it is a good theft. The pirate of knowledge is a good pirate."
"Philosophers are guilty. They have missed the magnitude of changes in the world...I see all institutions [as] true dinosaurs."
Does Serres have something valuable to contribute to the discussions on global economic health or is this kind of input a case of setting sail on a voyage for which he is ill-equipped?
1968 Le Système de Leibniz et ses modèles mathématiques, 2 vol. (PUF)
1969 Hermès I. La communication (Minuit)
1972 Hermès II. L’interférence (Minuit)
1974 Hermès III. La traduction (Minuit)
1974 Jouvences. Sur Jules Verne (Minuit)
1975 Auguste Comte. Leçons de philosophie positive, vol. I (Hermann)
1975 Feux et signaux de brume. Zola (Grasset)
1975 Esthétiques. Sur Carpaccio (Hermann)
1977 Hermès IV. La distribution (Minuit)
1977 La Naissance de la physique dans le texte de Lucrèce. Fleuves et turbulences (Minuit) (tr. Jack Hawkes The Birth of Physics, 2000)
1980 Hermès V. Le passage du Nord-Ouest (Minuit)
1980 Le Parasite (Grasset)
1982 Genèse (Grasset)
1983 Détachement (Flammarion)
1983 Rome. Le livre des fondations (Grasset)
1985 Les Cinq Sens, Médicis de l’Essai Prize (Grasset)
1987 L’Hermaphrodite. Sarrasine sculpteur (Flammarion)
1987 Statues (François Bourin)
1989 Éléments d’histoire des sciences (in collaboration) (Bordas)
1990 Le Contrat naturel, Blaise Pascal Prize (François Bourin )
1991 Le Tiers-Instruit (François Bourin) (published in English as The Troubadour of Knowledge, 1997)
1992 Éclaircissements (François Bourin)
1993 Les Origines de la géométrie (Flammarion)
1993 La Légende des Anges (Flammarion)
1994 Atlas (Julliard)
1995 Éloge de la philosophie en langue française (Fayard)
1997 Nouvelles du monde (Flammarion)
1997 Le Trésor. Dictionnaire des sciences (coll.) (Flammarion)
1997 À visage différent (coll.) (Hermann)
1998 Paysages des sciences (Le Pommier)
1999 Variations sur le corps (Le Pommier)
2000 Hergé mon ami (Éd. Moulinsart)
2001 Le Livre de la médecine (coll.) (Le Pommier)
2001 Hominescence (Le Pommier)
2002 En amour, sommes-nous des bêtes ? (Le Pommier)
2002 Jules Verne : la science (Le Pommier)
2002 L'Homme contemporain (Le Pommier)
2003 L'Incandescent (Le Pommier)
2003 Qu'est-ce que l'humain ? (coll.) (Le Pommier)
2004 Rameaux (Le Pommier)
2006 Récits d'Humanisme (Le Pommier)
Here is another place where Serres's work showed up in an academic conference. In this case it was called Media Theory on the Move: Transatlantic Perspectives on Media and Mediation. Flow, movement, the interaction of many elements, prepositions as the "pimps of language" can all be found in proximity to these themes. Here is the a post-conference summary paragraph of the particular session:
To conclude this rather intensive day of transatlantic flows, Peter Bexte (Cologne) tackled the issue of the movement of things by drawing on Michel Serres’ philosophie des prépositions. Following Serres, Bexte studied things in their connectedness and interrelationality. He supported this argument by drawing on Samuel Beckett’s ‘Quad I + II‘. Quad I and Quad II are two experimental teleplays made in the 1980s for the Süddeutsche Rundfunk. These television performances involve a play with the closed-circuit movement patterns of four actors, in which each actor moves according to precise and exact mathematical ‘rules’. Beckett’s mathematic choreography generates a degree of continuity, circularity and infinity. Or what Bexte has described as a ‘nothingness of something’. For Bexte, we need to reflect on and trace our linkages with media by which we are intertwined with mediated environments. Though his position on the symbiotic mutuality of relations does provide the means to understand the in-betweenness of media and mediatization, it however does not acknowledge violence and noise. It neglects that connectivity and disparity are two sides of the same coin.
Thanks to Stephanie Posthumus at McMaster University for pointing out this interview. It is in French - good practice for French learners like me and a more direct access to Serres for those of you who are fortunate in your fluency.
We are going to undertake a somewhat difficult project this week, we are going to read an essay from Michel Serres’s book, The Parasite. The chapter is called, “Theory of the Quasi Object”. This essay will offer us another way of thinking about objects, subjects and relations. Serres sets up a distinction of either/or between being and relation. This distinction between being and relation quickly turns out to be unstable, which results in these strange, swerving objects/subjects that Serres names quasi-objects and quasi-subjects. The conjunction of ‘quasi’ with object and subject suggests the perpetual mobility and transfer of these deceptively stable individuals along passages of relation toward the possibility of the formation of collectives of all kinds.
Noise as the necessary soil from which meaning can emerge is an interesting idea and fits well with complexity theory notions of non-reducibility. I remain very interested in the idea that if emergence means that lower-order interactions lead to higher level properties that are not reducible, it may well be that such emergence continues up beyond our human scales. We see it in galaxies but what if we scale up beyond that? What are the larger emergent characteristics of the universe?
Computers didn't exist a couple-hundred years ago so the fact that we have them is proof of technological gains. The human ills that beset us today have a much more persistent history. In the case of Battlestar Galactica, the Cylons demonstrate one vision of transhuman development that isn't exactly benign. Our own abilities to enact injustices of all kinds reveal that our own lesser augmentations have, in a similar way, failed to change the some of deeply engrained habits.
Here's a lengthy blog post from Post-Traumatic Urbanism that will likely be of interest to Serres readers. The post explores architecture, breakdown, and reflections on what might be done in our current context. The urban design themes lend themselves well to further discussion.
This book represents a defining break in Michel Serres' work, leaving behind traditional philosophy to explore the history and culture of science. Marginalized by the scientific age with its metaphysical and philosophical systems, the lessons of the senses have been overtaken by the dominance of language and the information revolution.