Michel Serres

From Academic Kids

Michel Serres (born September 1, 1930) is a French philosopher and author with an unusual career. Born the son of a barge man, Serres entered the Ecole Navale in 1949 and the Ecole Normale Superieure in 1952. He agregated in 1955 after having studied philosophy. He spent the next few years as a naval officer before finally receiving his doctorate in 1968 and began teaching in Paris.

Over the next twenty years Serres earned a reputation as a spell-binding lecturer and as the author of remarkably beautiful and enigmatic prose known so reliant on the sonorities of French that it is practically untranslatable. He took as his subjects such diverse topics as the mythical Northwest passage, the concept of the parasite, and the explosion of the Space Shuttle Columbia. More generally Serres is interested in developing a philosophy of science which does not rely on a metalanguage in which one account of science is privileged and accurate. To do this he relies on the concept of translation between accounts rather than settling on one as authoritative. For this reason Serres has relied on the figure of Hermes (in his earlier works) and angels (in more recent studies) as messengers who translate back and forth between domains.

In 1990, Serres was appointed to the Académie Française, a sign of his position as one of France's most prominent intellectuals. In the English-speaking world, Serres is perhaps best known for teaching at Stanford University and for influencing younger intellectuals such as Bruno Latour.

Bibliography


Preceded by:
Edgar Faure
Seat 18
Académie française
Succeeded by:
Current member
de:Michel Serres

fr:Michel Serres ja:ミッシェル・セール pt:Michel Serres

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