Michel Serres & Bruno Latour

Conversation on Science, Culture, Time

The more one writes, the less one reads – it’s a question of time. But I stress: an authentically philosophical book is distinguishable from a learned book. The latter, loaded with quotes and footnotes, struts its erudition; it flourishes its credentials in the academic milieu, brandishes its armor and its lances before its adversaries. It is a social artifact. How many philosophies are dictated solely by the preoccupation with being invulnerable to to criticism? They present themselves as fortresses, usually sheltering a lobbying support group. In the wide open spaces of fear, only trepidation reigns.

I have come to believe that a work achieves more excellence when it cites fewer proper names. It is naked, defenseless, not lacking knowledge but saturated with secondary naivete; not intent on being right but ardently reaching fortoward new intuitions.

A university thesis aims at the imitable; a plain and simple work seeks the inimitable.