This English translation of Michel Serres' 1982 book Gen se captures in lucid prose the startling breadth and depth of his thinking, as he probes the relations between order, disorder, knowledge, anxiety, and violence. Written in a unique blend of scientific discourse and lyrical outburst, classical philosophical idiom and conversational intimacy, by turns angry, playful, refined or discordant, Genesis is an attempt to think outside of metaphysical categories of unity or rational order and to make us hear--through both its content and form--the "noise," the "sound and the fury," that are the background of life and thought.
Serres draws on a vast knowledge of such diverse disciplines as anthropology, classical history, music, theology, art history, information theory, physics, biology, dance and athletics, and Western metaphysics, and a range of cultural material that includes the writings of Plato, Kant, August Comte, Balzac, and Shakespeare, to name a few. He argues that although philosophy has been instrumental in the past in establishing laws of logic and rationality that have been crucial to our understanding of ourselves and our universe, one of the most pressing tasks of thought today is to recognize that such pockets of unity are islands of order in a sea of multiplicity--a sea which cannot really be conceived, but which perhaps can still be sensed, felt, and heard raging in chaos beneath the momentary crests of order imposed by human civilization.
Philosophy of science or prose poetry, a classical meditation on metaphysics or a stream-of-consciousness polemic and veiled invective, Serres mounts a quirky, at times rhapsodical, but above all a "noisy" critique of traditional and current models in social theory, historiography, and aesthetics. The result is a work that is at once provocative, poetic, deeply personal, and ultimately religious--an apocalyptic call for the rebirth of philosophy as the art of thinking the unthinkable.
About the Book:
"An intensely beautiful and rigourous meditation on the birth of forms amid chaos and multiplicity from a major philosopher who is also an exquisite craftsman of the written word." --William Paulson, University of Michigan
"Serres exhibits a rare, raw tendentiousness refreshing in its vitriol . . . it's the sort of light-hearted, perverse, and basically liberal tirade one hears too infrequently of late." --Word
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
A Short Tall Tale
The Object of This Book
La Belle Noiseuse
The Ballet of Alba
The Birth of Time
Alba Albula Aphrodite appears Babel background noise ballet Balzac beautiful becomes beginning belle noiseuse bifurcations blank body born Cacus canvas chain chaos clamor classes classical cloud colors comes conceive concept crowd dance dancer death demiurge disorder djinn dovetail echo everything everywhere flat projection flow fluctuation flux fluxion foot fury Georges Dumezil Gillette global goes harmony hate hear homothety ichnography immersed invention knowledge La Belle Noiseuse language Leibniz living Lucretius matter meaning Michel Serres monstrance murmur naked nakedness never noisy object painting parasite passes perhaps philosophy Porbus possible Poussin Proteus pure multiplicity pyramid rational reason redundancy repetition river rumor sense Serres singular sound space star schema step surge thalweg Theodicy things thought tion tower tower of Babel tree turbulence Ulysses un-differentiated unitary unity universal violence vortex word