Communicating the Incommunicable: Formalism and Noise in Michel Serres

Sutherland, Thomas (2021) Communicating the Incommunicable: Formalism and Noise in Michel Serres. In: Miscommunications: Errors, Mistakes, Media. Thinking Media . Bloomsbury, pp. 117-132. ISBN 9781501363856

Communicating the Incommunicable: Formalism and Noise in Michel Serres

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This chapter focuses upon Michel Serres' Hermes pentalogy, examining the way in which Serres grapples with one of the most persistent philosophical problems: namely, how philosophy, as a discursive form, might gesture toward that which remains external to all discourse—in simple terms, how philosophers might render the incommunicable communicable. Serres, it is argued, makes use of the conceptual affordances of the mathematical sciences in order to foreground that which philosophy has typically neglected: the background noise that lies behind all communication. Paradoxically, it is argued, such methods communicate noise by formalizing it, stripping it of its noisiness. In this fashion, noise remains both internal and external to Serres’ structuralist method: it is always present within philosophical communication, and this presence can in some way be mathematized, but it can never be truly represented in itself, only grasped as a residuum – something left behind, abandoned, filtered out.

Keywords:Michel Serres, noise, information theory, communication, incommunicability
Subjects:P Mass Communications and Documentation > P300 Media studies
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V500 Philosophy
ID Code:43524
Deposited On:04 Jan 2021 11:26

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