Short biography of Michel Serres

Michel Serres was born in Agen on September 1, 1930.

He has left his mark on history, particularly in the fields of philosophy, epistemology, and literature.

Short biography of Michel Serres

Michel Serres grew up with war:“War, always war… Six years, then, to my first corpses, and to the last, twenty-six.”

Michel Serres was accepted at theNaval School, from which he resigned in 1949 (“I did not want to serve the guns and torpedoes”), and was also accepted at the Ecole normale in 1952. In 1955, he passed the agrégation in philosophy.

During these years, Michel Serres denounced the terror that hung over the French intelligentsia. “I remember the school almost as terrified as the war of 1936.”

It is in epistemology and the history of science that he takes refuge against this wind of intellectual terror, which consists mainly of Karl Marxism and phenomenology.

Very interested in the sciences throughout his studies and his career, Michel Serres wrote his graduate thesis with Bachelard, on the difference between Bourbaki’s algebraic method and that of the classical mathematics that had preceded it.

Michel Serres says that Simone Weil (with a W, the philosopher and not the former minister) had a decisive impact on his philosophy, through her studies on violence and by echoing his religious education.

Michel Serres nevertheless maintains, as far as the history of philosophy is concerned, that it must have as its goal the ability to think for oneself. It is therefore important to study the great authors, but only to obtain the“freedom to think for oneself”.

Finally, Michel Serres has a certain affinity for literature, and was elected to theAcadémie française on March 29, 1990 (18th chair).

He died on June 1, 2019.

This short biography, reporting the words of Michel Serres himself, was made from the book Eclaircissement, interviews with Bruno Latour.

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