Sunday, May 1, 2011


Steve Connor on French philosopher Michel Serres, "... observing how much the unproveable faith of the realist in the existence of a world apart from him has in common with the mystic’s faith in the existence of God: ‘Despite this weakness I have never known how nor been able to separate myself from realism, hard, for the idealists, soft, seem to me never to have suffered from the world as such; raised in cotton wool, coddled and protected, the rich, the powerful and their children believe that all the things of the world obey them like their servants.’ (Serres 2003, 65)

"Serres will not succumb to what he bitterly decries as the addiction of the soft; will not, that is, conform to the comfortable assumption that human beings inhabit what they call the sphere of culture alone, or that we are alone in the world (hard). To understand the work done by the ideas of the hard and the soft in Serres work is to measure the reach of the remarkable statement to be found at the beginning of The Natural Contract: ‘global history enters culture; global culture enters history: this is something utterly new in philosophy’ (Serres 1995c, 4). For the first time in the history of the world, human history has begun to act on nature; for the first time in human history, that bright little shred of time, nature has become a protagonist in human culture. This makes the separation of the natural and the cultural, of science and the humanities, of things and signs, henceforth not just inconvenient but literally inconceivable. "

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