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Five Senses A Philosophy of Mingled Bodies by Michel Serres, Margaret Sankey, Peter Cowley


Five Senses A Philosophy of Mingled Bodies by Michel Serres, Margaret Sankey, Peter Cowley

Available for the first time in English! Winner of the Prix Medicis Essai! 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. Exploring the deleterious effects of the systematic downgrading of the senses in Western philosophy, Michel Serres - a member of the Academie Francaise and one of France's leading philosophers - traces a topology of human perception. Writing against the Cartesian tradition and in praise of empiricism, he demonstrates repeatedly, and lyrically, the sterility of systems of knowledge divorced from bodily experience. The fragile empirical world, long resistant to our attempts to contain and catalog it, is disappearing beneath the relentless accumulations of late capitalist society and information technology. Data has replaced sensory pleasure, we are less interested in the taste of a fine wine than in the description on the bottle's label. What are we, and what do we really know, when we have forgotten that our senses can describe a taste more accurately than language ever could?


Finding a voice that is brilliantly sustained, warm and assured, Margaret Sankey and Peter Cowley meet the challenges of Serres
shifts of register between prose poetry and high

-frequency allusions to philosophy and the sciences and literature classical and modern. - Max Deutscher, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, Macquarie University, Australia 'Some may claim that Serres's works are impossible to translate due to their complex word play, neologisms and erratic style. Despite this, Margaret Sankey and Peter Cowley should be commended for their mammoth efforts and superb translation.'--Sanford Lakoff ... Every page is alive with rich descriptions of feeling, sensing, apprehending, engaging, living... this translation, like all of Serres
work that we have in English, is a banquet, a feast for thought

...--Sanford Lakoff

About the Author

Michel Serres is Professor of the History of Science at Stanford University, USA. Margaret Sankey is the McCaughey Professor of French Studies at the University of Sydney, Australia, and joint translator of The Anthropological Structures of the Imaginary by the French sociologist Gilbert Durand. Peter Cowley lectures in French Studies at the University of Sydney, Australia, where he is also Director of Translation Studies.

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Book Info

Publication date

11th December 2008


Michel Serres, Margaret Sankey, Peter Cowley

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Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd. an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC


364 pages


Physiological & neuro-psychology, biopsychology



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