International Journal of Education & the Arts

Volume 3 Number 3

March 17, 2002

Of Troubadours, Angels, and Parasites:
Reevaluating the Educational Territory in the Arts and Sciences
Through the Work of Michel Serres

Michalinos Zembylas
Michigan State University

This article examines Michel Serres' philosophy of the "educated third" and considers his views on a philosophy of communication. Serres' interdisciplinary writing constructs themes that can be traced across literature, philosophy, science, mythology and art, borrowing ideas and approaches from them and transforming those into original, provocative and synthetic voices that cut across traditional disciplinary boundaries. Serres' views provide a refreshing perspective to educators, especially, those in art education and science education and advocate a reevaluation of some contemporary educational ideals to emphasize invention and imagination.

Contemporary French theoretical writing is at odds with the project of Enlightenment and the subversion of the idealism and humanism of its philosophers. Whether one speaks of Foucault, Baudrillard, or Lyotard, there is a consensus in critiquing the tradition inherited by Enlightenment and an interest in deconstructing rationalism and its pretensions to totalization in various guises and by different means. But there is one contemporary French philosopher, Michel Serres, who is not clear whether he should be included in this arena, in spite of the "common enemy" he has with these various theoreticians (i.e., Enlightenment).

Michel Serres is a provocative and unorthodox thinker, very little known in the English-speaking world, although he is one of the best-known contemporary French philosophers. Serres' interdisciplinary writing constructs themes that can be traced across literature, philosophy, science, mythology and art, borrowing ideas and approaches from them and transforming those into original, and synthetic voices. By creating these themes Serres wants to eliminate the distance which is perceived to exist among the humanities (arts are included here) and the sciences. His writing style is prophetic, evocative yet demanding and difficult. This difficulty is partly related to the rigor with which he constructs the argumentation and demonstration of his ideas. Serres rejects the traditional scholarly apparatus of writing, thus one will rarely find any references or footnotes in his books. As he explains: "If one had to recopy everything one had read, books would become alarmingly obese. Even more important, this repetition would make them not very informative. The day that every text copies or summarizes that part of the library that concerns it, we will enter the age of the thesis, of the newspaper, and of stuttering" (1995b, p. 80). In his books, Serres explores numerous ways to bridge the sciences with the arts, literature, and philosophy and argues that the best contemporary education requires the "crossbreeding" of the humanities and the sciences and a new educational ideal that nurtures invention and imagination.

A question that emerges right upfront is: What new does Serres offer to philosophy of education and to educational practice? For one thing, he is not exactly saying totally new things. Take for example his discussion of the split between the humanities and the sciences. This has been well explored almost half a century ago by C. P. Snow's classic essay The Two Cultures and The Scientific Revolution (1959). In this famous work Snow described the dangerous split that exists between our literary and scientific communities and argued that we entered a new age in which science, tradition, and art have no choice but to unite. The same can be said about invention and imagination. In curriculum, Kieran Egan (1992; Egan & Nadaner, 1988) has contended that developing imagination is crucial in education, and Douglas Sloan (1983)—at a time when A Nation at Risksparked a national campaign for more strenuous political and economic demands on schooling—has argued for the importance of a way of knowing that engages the whole person in a deeply meaningful relationship with the world. Thus, what new does Serres has to offer? Because if he offers no more than a more detailed or more philosophically articulated vision of ideas we already know, then educators may not wish to add yet another philosopher to the catalogue.

In my view, there are some distinctions between Serres and others that are of significance for the educator. I will mention three points now and explore further their meanings later in the text. First, as Maria Assad (1999) states, Serres "brought a radical twist to the controversy over the degree to which scientific discourse and literary and philosophical theories can coincide without weakening the persuasive force of their respective models" (pp. 1-2). Perhaps more than any other contemporary critical theorist, Michel Serres is attracted by what some consider a paradoxical venture: a journey in which the distinct voices of literature, art, and science are mingled in unprecedented way (what he calls "will to synthesis"). Second, Serres uses a writing style that seems most uncontrolled and operates within a space that it is hard to say whether he engages in wacky theorizing or provides the most brilliant insights. In one sense, Serres is ahead of his time, because he understands that the re-evaluation of commonly held ideas and assumptions about art, science, and literature within contemporary paradigms signals (and demands) a cultural and intellectual shift of immense importance; perhaps, such a project has no choice but to be provocative. Finally, Serres offers an alternative vision and a new image of vitality that shift our thinking and feeling about our place in the world and the ways to respond to the new challenges facing humanity: a life and an education that think outside of metaphysical categories of unity or rational order and sense, feel, and hear the "noise" that is the background of living in the world.

In all three points, one recognizes critiques that were earlier or later articulated not only by Marxists, but also feminists, environmentalists, anti-Imperialists, and even New Age intellectuals (see Fritjof Capra's The Turning Point, 1982). Serres' works share a common concern with the ways that modern life as a whole, although providing possibilities for broader expression and development, simultaneously subverts those possibilities and actually ends up threatening to absorb life and thought. But Serres has created a beautiful meditation bred of the destabilizing multiplicity of the present age and has emphasized the importance of nurturing "the multiple" against the development of a universal culture that only expresses singularity. His views mark an important contribution to education because they describe the essential philosophical issues that we must confront if we are to replace contemporary educational models of schooling with ways of teaching and learning that require painful yet exhilarating departures from "home" and encounters with "the other." In short, Serres heralds a new pedagogy that advances learning as "crossbreeding," full of passion and intellectual daring.

There are important themes that pervade all of Serres' work: the relations between local and global, science and philosophy, history and myth, the world as a network of messages, chaos, multiplicity, time, education, peace, ecology… Retracing the steps of Serres' own journey would be as presumptuous as to undertake the journey he proposes. Because of the centrality of their position as major themes embedded in Serres' philosophy about art, science, philosophy and literature, in this article, I undertake the task of examining the following two themes and their implications for science and art education: the first theme seeks to analyze Serres' ideas on a philosophy of communication modeled after the Greek messenger god, Hermes (the angel messenger in the Latin tradition), and the second theme refers to his views on the "educated third," (le tiers-instruit) or the "troubadour of knowledge." My aim is to find a way one might read Serres and problematize his views, as they are relevant to the education in the arts and the sciences in contemporary times. Critics of Serres' work have been quick to point out an excess of poetic language and a lack of rigorous scientific expression and notation (see Assad, 1993). I will examine this and other criticisms in the context of his writing and ideas, and I will explore how Serres' vision for the "educated-third" and the angel-messenger represent critical metaphors for re-evaluating some current educational conditions such as the separation of school subjects, the lack of passion and enthusiasm for learning or teaching, and the extreme value put on scientific and engineering employment with the simultaneous devaluing of the arts and the humanities.

The article is organized into five parts. The first part provides brief information on Serres' background and training with an emphasis on the events that led to the development of his major ideas. The second part provides an overview of Serres' philosophical approach and tries to address some of the problems in reading him. The third part examines Serres' views on communication and the forth part his conception of education—in both these parts a first attempt is made to indicate some areas in which Serres' thought might connect with philosophy of education. In the final part of the article, I make these connections more explicit and I outline where and why Serres' views on communication and education are useful for educators in the arts and the sciences both in terms of philosophy and of educational practice.

Serres' Background and Training

Serres' background and training first as a mathematician and then as a philosopher created the backbone of his triple affirmation: sciences, philosophy, and literature. Serres' journey from a student of traditional science to revolutionary science in the late 1940s, then from sciences to philosophy in the 1950s and finally from traditional philosophy to literature and philosophy in the 1960s marks the trajectory of his thought. In his conversations with Bruno Latour (Serres, 1995b), Serres describes how he was formed by three personal revolutions.

First, there was Serres' study of classical science under Bachelard where he pursued modern concepts in mathematics (algebraic and topological structures) which confirmed in him "the idea that this structuralism must be the true one" (Serres, 1995b, p. 35). From his mathematical transformation, Serres emerged with a whole new way of thinking. "From there," he says,

I became highly sensitized to analogous transformations in other domains—whence my swift acknowledgment of the importance of Brillouin's work, of information theory in physics, and, much later, of questions of turbulence, percolation, disorder and chaos. As changes in attitude, these seemed to me as important as the revolution in algebraic method. Physics was changing, was revealing a whole new outside world. After fractal curves and strange attractors, you no longer feel the same wind, no longer see the same waves or the same shores as before. (1995b, pp. 11-12)

This epiphany in Serres' life was followed by a second one in the world of physics. His revolution marks the passage from classical to quantum mechanics, and especially in the theory of information with Brillouin's Science and Information Theory. Serres admitted that reading this book made him understand what "an authentic physics and philosophy at the same time" (1995b, p. 12) would be like. His third revolution came later (in the 1960s) in the field of life sciences after reading Jacques Monod's Chance and Necessity. As he says, he "emerged [from this third school] with a changed life" (1995b, p. 13).

Serres points out that his formation (education or training) through these three revolutions have taught him a new philosophy "outside the system of ordinary programs and outside the social milieu that gives rise to what the press calls ‘mainstream intellectual movements'" (1995b, p. 13, my emphasis). Serres emphasizes that he developed the habits of his thought (which many critics find strange) outside of his contemporary canon of thinking. And then he tells us that he left the sciences and arrived at philosophy "for very precise reasons" (1995b, p. 15), namely, out of will and need.

Serres' Philosophical Approach

Serres argues that the Age of Enlightenment was very instrumental in categorizing as irrational any reason not formed by science. He holds the Enlightenment responsible for the split between literature and science, which favors a definition of rationality supported exclusively by scientific research. The epistemological rupture between literature and science took place in the eighteenth century, which sought to label as irrational anything that was not science. In other words, science aimed at taking over the totality of reason relegating literature to the irrational or the imaginary. But as he states:

I maintain that there is as much reason in the works of Montaigne or Verlaine as there is in physics or biochemistry and, reciprocally, that often there is as much unreason scattered through the sciences as there is in certain dreams. Reason is statistically distributed everywhere; no one can claim exclusive rights to it (Serres, 1995b, p. 50).

Serres strongly opposes the division between literature and science—what in Genesis he calls the "dualistic hell" of organizing one's understanding of the world in terms of binary oppositions—and his writing is the best evidence of that. His approach combines ideas from various fields. For instance, in the same book, he discusses chaos theory, virtual reality, the Belgian comic book Tintin, myths, the history of religions, classical mechanics, weather, distance education, painting, astronomy and mystical ceremonies of Baal.

In going through his three personal revolutions, Serres came to realize that transcending the traditional boundaries between the different disciplines within the sciences or between sciences and humanities provides new possibilities for understanding the world, nature, and life. For example, Serres borrows techniques and ideas from the sciences and translates them into philosophy, literature, painting and other "disciplines" and tries to discover new directions of knowledge or research at their "crossroads" (Serres, 1997). In Serres' work, stories and myths, events and anecdotes, pictures and paintings, all have their place and construct multiple voices and journeys that cross space and time boundaries. The following remarks by Rene Girard give an excellent description of Serres' philosophical approach:

Serres' major interest is the parallel development of scientific, philosophical, and literary trends. In a very simplified manner, one might say that Serres runs counter to the prevalent notion of the two cultures—scientific and humanistic—between which no communication is possible. In Serres' view ‘criticism is a generalized physics,' and whether knowledge is written in philosophical, literary, or scientific language it nevertheless articulates a common set of problems that transcends academic disciplines and artificial boundaries. (As cited in Harari & Bell, 1982, p. xi)

Serres' passionate skepticism and rejection of the traditional French philosophy of Critique—the rational separation between nature and culture in the line of Descartes, Marx, and Sartre (see Latour, 1988;Wesling, 1996)—have been condemned both by postmodernists and traditional empiricists. Katherine Hayles says that Serres is confused and needs a logic lesson; Luc Ferry writes that Serres is a dangerous prophet who might unite with other mystagogues, get power, and overturn the order of modernity; Jean Baudrillard, one of Serres' fiercest critics, argues that Serres should be almost admired as a small morbid symptom of a doom to be welcomed (Wesling, 1996, p. 1999). The reactions to Serres' work range "from admiration for a maverick thinker to incredulity, and finally to outright rejection" (Assad, 1999, p. 4).

It is true that Serres' style is difficult and exclusive. He does not affiliate himself with any traditions. As he said in his conversations with Bruno Latour (Serres, 1995b) he has "neither masters nor disciples." Serres emphasizes that freedom of thought always has to be reinvented; this, at least partly, justifies his style of making unexpected connections through space and time. For instance, in one paragraph we may find ourselves with the Romans, then with Jules Verne, then suddenly Serres takes us for a journey with the space shuttle Challenger, and before we realize it, we are among the ancient Carthaginians enclosing humans in gigantic brass statues of the god Baal. Serres gives us the impression that he has an amazing freedom of movement from one space and time to another without any boundaries. In fact, many readers complain that although his writing is beautiful and poetic, they cannot understand anything. As Assad (1999) says, the reader needs "a sharp mental eye" to catch Serres' metaphors and the provocative ideas formulated around them. Reading Serres is therefore a challenge, but we need to learn how to read provocatively, if we wish to comprehend fully what is at stake when an epistemological enterprise such as Serres' uses a vast terrain of scientific, philosophical, mythological, literary, and artistic expressions (Assad, 1999).

Serres' justification for developing this synthetic approach comes from at least two ideas that underlie his work: first, there is the growing dichotomy between the sciences and humanities and the immense technological and scientific development that has tremendously empowered science; as a result, people in the industrialized world view science and technology as a primary means for progress and relief from their sorrows (Serres, 1995b). Second, Serres posits a major challenge (since his early work on Leibniz) to the (problematic) rationalist assumption that the passage from local to global is always possible. The question of science and its success in the modern world is directly related to this assumption and to science's dreams for determinism and objectivity. Progress then, according to Serres can only be conceived as a series of regional, local, temporary transformations. His pursuit of empirical localities, as Latour points out in his conversations with Serres, allows him to talk about things from the point of view of the known, without having to employ the idealist's trick "of talking about our knowledge of things" (Assad, 1999, p. 8, author's emphasis). Serres' work, then, and his emphasis on synthesis have important relevance to some of the major concerns in modern society.

Further, Bruno Latour observes that Serres' style allows him to use formalism to develop a generalized comparativism that is linked to the idea that Serres does not believe in linear time (Serres, 1995b). His "method" is actually an "anti-method," as Harari and Bell (1982) point out, precisely because Serres is opposed to the idea of linear progress and development as exemplified in following a series of methodological steps.

Method is the illustration of a given type of knowledge through the set of results that the method can produce. But the term method itself is problematic because it suggests the notion of repetition and predictability—a method that anyone can apply. Method implies also mastery and closure, both of which are detrimental to invention. On the contrary, Serres' method invents: it is thus an anti-method. (Harari & Bell, 1982, p. xxxvi, authors' emphasis)

Serres' approach is based upon a synthetic style that allows him to move beyond time and space boundaries and to demonstrate his arguments by comparing how messages travel from one place to another. His aim, Harrari and Bell (1982) add, is not to establish relations between different domains, or to discover analogies or even to mix philosophical with scientific contents. Therefore, to speak of borrowing or of importing and exporting between disciplines, argue Harrari and Bell, is to miss Serres' point. His attempt is about discovering new translations and connections through the sciences and humanities. This is why Serres views philosophy as the genuine love (philos) for wisdom (sophia) that encourages unrestricted thinking, one that recognizes no dichotomies in knowledge; the love for wisdom is so powerful that it is enough to transcend any rationalist boundaries. This attitude should explain Serres' resistance to be identified within any traditions of epistemology, methodology or school of thought.

One way to understand Serres' method and style of writing is to consider his idea that "all authors are our contemporaries." What really enables Serres to bring together in the same time frame such different genres, authors, books and myths? First of all, Serres questions the traditional definition of "contemporary." He provides several examples that are illuminating; here is one.

Consider a late-model car. It is a disparate aggregate of scientific and technical solutions dating from different periods. One can date it component by component: this part was invented at the turn of the century, another ten years ago, and Carnot's cycle is almost two hundred years old. Not to mention that the wheel dates back to neolithic times. The ensemble is only contemporary by assemblage, by its design, its finish, sometimes only by the slickness of the advertising surrounding it. (Serres, 1995b, p. 45)

The car, then, can be dated from several eras. "Every historical era is likewise multitemporal, simultaneously drawing from the obsolete, the contemporary, and the futuristic. An object, a circumstance, is thus polychronic, multitemporal, and reveals a time that is gathered together, with multiple pleats" (1995b, p. 60). Likewise, one may ask, how many books appearing today are really and entirely contemporary. In a sense then, Serres is completely indifferent to temporal distances and maintains that everything is contemporary. For him Lucretius and Pythagoras are no more or less distant than La Fontaine or Newton. The fact that a human-made product is an assemblage of various scientific solutions and techniques during different historical periods should be enough to make all authors and products "contemporary."

Serres' view about the "multitemporal" character of objects is reminiscent of the work of Lewis Mumford (1895-1990), the great urban historian, who described something similar in his book the Pentagon of Power (1970). In that book Mumford writes of the "polytechnic" in which an era will be utilizing techniques from many times all at the same time, that technology does not simply disappear to be replaced by better technology (except in our contemporary times in which we seem to ruthlessly discard things). Serres meets Mumford in arguing that specific technologies carry with them not merely particular mechanical ways of doing things but cultures and lives and values. To shear these off from our modern lives is a great loss. Any approach to current problems that aims us toward oblivion of this notion of the "multitemporal" holds us within the same illusory dimension that enabled us to neglect and forget the deep ecological and spiritual roots of human existence.

Serres develops a metaphysics of prepositions, which he articulates in Conversations on Science, Culture and Time (with Bruno Latour) andAngels, (both translated in English in 1995). Serres is dissatisfied with traditional philosophy which speaks in verbs and stresses nouns instead of relationships inspired by prepositions. Take for example, the prepositions from, by, to says Serres. "From... indicates origin, attribution, cause, and thus almost anything one wishes... Likewise, the preposition to or by denote ways of tracing relations more than they fix the outlines of these relations. A verb or a substantive would fix them" (1995b, p. 106). Serres' critique of traditional metaphysics is that it is concerned so much with substantives (Being, God etc.) at the expense of mobility, directionality, and relationality expressed by prepositions. Parallel to this idea is Serres preference for topology instead of geometry. As he explains, geometry provides a "static" description of space whereas topology is more dynamic and sensitive to the prepositional dimensions of place.

In addition to his metaphysics of prepositions, Serres uses a wide range of metaphors that enable him to connect his travels beyond the traditional boundaries of space and time. For example, Serres uses scientific concepts throughout his work (e.g., chaos, noise, singularity) in both metaphorical and aesthetical manner. His poetic and metaphorical language is powerful in pointing out analogies and connections that are truly unpredictable by his reader. Since the use of metaphors is being traced in Serres' texts and is central to his writing, I will explore two of the metaphors that have established two important themes in Serres' philosophy. The first metaphor/theme seeks to analyze Serres' ideas on a philosophy of communication in which the Greek messenger god, Hermes (the angel messenger in the Latin tradition) brings together various "disciplines," and the second metaphor/theme refers to his views on the "educated third," (le tiers-instruit) or the "troubadour of knowledge." Because of their importance, the metaphors of communication and education will allow us to approach his views about what is currently at stake in our world and how educators can benefit from considering Serres' inquiry into the cultural, epistemological, and spiritual foundations of education.

Hermes, Angelsand the Parasite: Serres' Philosophy of Communication

In his five-volume collection of essays, Hermes I to V (selections of these essays are published in the book Hermes: Literature, Science, Philosophy), Serres introduces Hermes, the Greek god, his main character and alter ego, the messenger who travels across space and time, making unpredictable and unexpected connections between objects, persons and events. Hermes is mediation, translation, multiplicity, communication. Hermes embodies the figure of a free mediator who wanders through time and space and who establishes connections. What is surprising in Serres' conception of Hermes as a mediator who rapidly moves from place to place through time (as is evident from Serres' writing) is its mathematical aspect. Perhaps it should not be that surprising after all, if one considers that Serres was trained as a mathematician interested in mathematical logic. Serres has imported into his philosophy a mathematical style of argumentation. Thus, in a sense he is a technical philosopher, as Latour points out. But as Serres says in The Troubadour of Knowledge (1997), quoting from Montaigne's Essays: "Where mathematics can't go, let myth go, and where myth does not want to go, let Gascon dialect go."

Serres' use of Hermes is reminiscent of hermeneutics. The word derives from Hermes and implies that the idea of hermeneutics as a theory of interpretation (and consequently of communication) is necessary when there is a possibility for misunderstanding. Hermes translated the "word of Gods"; an interpreter translates the written text, and a teacher "translates" the literature.In all cases we have the assumption that the first is alienated from the second and is in need of more appropriate assimilation. Understanding then is aided by the mediation of a hermeneut, which accomplishes this assimilation. According to Gadamer (1975), the pleasure such understanding elicits is the joy of knowledge (which does not operate as an enchantment but as a kind of transformation). It is worth exploring this idea a bit more since there are interesting connections with Serres' work.

Gadamer (1975) wrote extensively about "play" and posits that it is an ontological event in which horizons of understanding are tested and explored. Play for Gadamer makes evident that the participant is interwoven into an event, that one can only understand, if one allows oneself to be lifted into its play. The "losing of the self" in play is not a negation but rather the emergence of true being, a kind of transformation. An essential characteristic of understanding is the imagination of the interpreter.Also, the creative aspects of understanding consist a particular manifestation of imagination. Serres' metaphor of Hermes and his emphasis on invention and imagination imply a similar kind of transformation in which the person who wishes to learn must risk a voyage beyond one's assumed horizons. To be educated then, according to both Serres and Gadamer, is to become a different person, to depart from "home" and encounter otherness, to emulate Hermes and travel across diverse fields/endeavors, to be separated from the familiar and determined.

Further, in his book The Parasite, Serres (1982b) develops one of his most powerful metaphors, "the parasite" which he describes as an "uninvited guest," "a dangerous pest," and "a transmissional noise." As it is known, if the parasite eats too much, then it will kill its host and it will die by the same token. Serres argues that the term "parasite" has three meanings. Firstly, in French (and in Greek too) the parasite is someone who eats at the table of another without being invited. Secondly, if one draws the term from parasitology, the parasite can be a microbe, a single cell organism or even an insect that feeds on a host. Finally, the third meaning has to do with the notion of static on the line, that is, "noise" within communication. Serres explains that there is a common thread between these three meanings that makes the issue of communication extremely significant. Their link is the parasitic relationship, one that is unbalanced such as in social relationships. One gives the parasite food and in return it makes fine speeches (words), as Serres points out (see Mortley, 1991). However, the view of parasite in negative terms misses the point, because the parasite is an integral part of the system that brings perturbation. In this sense, the parasite, says Serres, constitutes the "condition of possibility of the system." By way of disorder, the parasite invents something new and produces a more complex order (Harari & Bell). For Serres, then, the parasite does not have only a negative presence; on the contrary, the parasite can be a source of invention precisely because it is part of a complex system that produces something new. An example of appeal of this notion in educational theory is the attempt to think outside of determined categories of rational order—both in terms of content and form—and hear the "noise" that generates new understandings.

Serres' bewildering juxtapositions of contemporary scientific phenomena with mythic and religious narratives have baffled many critics and readers. His unorthodox translations and transportations of knowledge from and to different times and spaces reflect the holistic way he perceives the problems of life and human existence, that is to say, a world where everything is interrelated with everything else. Serres undertakes a task of discovering these interconnections in his books. For example, The Parasite (1982b) is about animals, our relations to our closest neighbors, to work, meals, sickness; The Natural Contract(1995d) is about the land, cities, the law, justice, the planet earth; The Troubadour of Knowledge (1997) is about rivers, mountains, love, youth, education (Serres, 1995b, p. 168). As Serres tells Bruno Latour,

May these... [interconnections like the above in the three books I mention] never cease and, like the pieces of a mosaic, may they fill all of existence and all that can be thought about, from a blade of grass to the fate of the gods, but, especially, may the answers come less from books that are read and recited or from a packet of index cards than from direct and often painful experience of the state of things. Whoever does not construct a world—place by place, object by object, faithfully, with his hands, with his own flesh, creating a totality—is devoting himself not to philosophy as to criticism, logic, history etc. (Serres, 1995b, p. 168)

Serres wants philosophy to have the courage to embrace differences and multiplicities and to be open to new directions and possibilities that avoid paying allegiance to rationalistic assumptions that want to portray the world in neatly framed packages. Serres is like Hermes in that he wants to address the multiplicities of the world and therefore he has to travel over multiple times and spaces. Ultimately, in this world we are all messengers like Hermes, and if we want to construct a meaningful communication among ourselves, we need to "travel" and transcend the artificial boundaries we (or others) impose (whatever these may be). This idea is of interest to educators in the arts and sciences who explore issues like space against time, universalism versus localism, and the link of communication to invention (and creation), because such issues mirror the problems of life and human existence in a holistic universe, i.e., a universe wherein nothing can exist on its own terms, but rather must exist as part of a complex web of interrelations. (A similar idea is found in Fritjof Capra's recent book The Web of Life, 1996). This philosophy may be regarded as one that offers help to art and science educators to inspire their students to be open to multiple directions and create alliances between sciences and arts—something that Serres views as a value of adaptation, of tolerance, and above all, of future survival.

Serres acknowledges that his aim at constructing a synthesis is one of the most serious difficulties that readers face when they read him. "No doubt the greatest difficulty," he says, "lies in my wish to be encyclopedic, followed by my desire for synthesis, in the hope of going everywhere, of not missing anything, in order to gradually build a world" (1995b, p. 89). He views this synthesis as the ultimate goal of philosophy. The function of philosophy (and of education, as he points out in The Troubadour of Knowledge) is to invent the conditions of invention. This is precisely why Serres values the practice of total solitude, the necessity for freedom from all bonds. The metaphor of Hermes allows Serres to achieve this by constantly moving around; it is an intellectual strategy that avoids metalanguage. As he explains: "I avoid metalanguage, because usually it is only used for publicity. What's the point of saying, ‘I just did this or that'? If one really does it, it's obvious" (1995b, p. 91). This approach is related to Serres' idea that there is no universal method one needs to follow to reach some place. Serres demonstrates in his various books—which follow a variety of pathways—that the most appropriate method is drawn from the very problem one has undertaken to resolve. Therefore, as he argues, "the best solutions are local, singular, specific, adapted, original, regional" (1995b, p. 91). Universal metalanguage, in his opinion, is comfortable and lazy, it doesn't invent, it just follows, it repeats. In suppressing the local, Serres asserts, we blind ourselves to the actuality of the world.

Serres' conception of synthesis is based on relations which he develops through systems of expressions that allow him to produce all possible connections and expositions. His abstractions and his argumentation are unrelated to any metalanguage or any preconceived hypotheses. He makes his synthesis on the basis of modes of relation, of transports, of wandering. This is why he uses Hermes to establish these connections, because Hermes allows him to move freely beyond traditional boundaries of space and time. Serres seeks to synthesize ideas based on the local, risk, chaos and fluctuation. His systematic destruction of metalanguages of essences advocates a fragile synthesis; this fragility though is not fragmentation, but is defined as a desire for unity that is local and only useful once. In other words, it cannot be found in any metalanguage under any circumstances.

On the other hand, if we think about what is happening at this point in Serres' argument, we may observe that he is trying to make "synthesis" (against the tendency for order) into a kind of principle, a metalanguage that explains communication, disorder, and knowledge. The irony is that in transforming synthesis into a principle it no longer speaks of diversity but of "a nostalgic unity recoverable only in myth" (Hayles, 1988, p. 11). But his effort nevertheless represents a vision that helps us understand that "our thought, our understanding, our life, our masteries would just be foolish and simple if they maintained ties only to an orderly world" (Serres, 1995c, p. 133).

Serres rejects the classical perception of interpretation (which implies a certain pre-established harmony and order) and promotes local interpretation that reconciles the need for synthesis while maintaining the usual aspects of a demonstration—unity, clarity, economy, closure, saturation—without assuming fixed points or pre-determined structures (Serres, 1995b). In his approach, new, localized and adapted tools have to be always re-invented when one is engaged in exploring something. This is why he defends the empirical and the non-reducibility of the empirical over the logical, because he does not think that the linguistic aspect exhausts all the ways one can know the world.

Most recently, Serres uses angels as the means to construct relations. This is an extension of his reflection on global space as a worldwide network of messages, as a space filled with angels, figures of a plural Hermes. In his book Angels: A Modern Myth (1995a), Serres offers a philosophy of movement, of communication, showing how angels as message-bearers—appeared in religion and ancient legends for thousands of years—are still part of our modern world, our means of bringing together and understanding science, art, and literature. As he explains: "They [angels] are restless, unsystematic [...] troublemakers, boisterous, always transmitting, not easily classifiable, since they fluctuate. Making noise, carrying messages, playing music, tracing paths, changing paths, carrying […]" (1995b, p. 118). But alongside these message-bearing systems of modern life, we create unspeakable injustices, poverty, famine, and wars. The role of the messenger, Serres argues, is as important now as it was in Biblical times, thus we need a philosophy of communication to deal with the grotesque inequalities of modern life. Angels is illustrated with an astounding breadth of images, ranging from Renaissance paintings, to film stills, satellite photographs, computer microchips, and photographs of sculptures in India. Serres views the role of the messenger (Hermes or angel) as ethical in search for ways to bring people together and eliminate injustice.

The "Educated Third"

In his book The Troubadour of Knowledge, Serres uses the metaphor of the "educated third" through which he analyzes his philosophy about learning and pedagogy:

Learning consists of such crossbreeding. Strange and original, already a mixture of the genes of his father and mother, the child evolves only through new crossings; all pedagogy takes up the begetting and birthing of a child anew: born left-handed, he learns to use his right hand, remains left-handed, is reborn right-handed, at the confluence of both directions... There is no teaching without this self-begetting... This holds for bringing up bodies as much as it does for instructing. The half-breed, here, is called the third-instructed. (Serres, 1997, p. 49)

The idea of crossbreeding emphasizes that any efforts to separate the sciences from the arts and the humanities is "dangerous and foolish" (Serres in Huyghe, 1993). An "educated third" can be imagined in a context of a "third place" where a mixture of culture, nature, sciences, arts and humanities is being constructed. "When something is learned," says Serres, " a third person is produced [...] The moment you acknowledge otherness, learning has this modifying effect. It is not a matter of developing a philosophy of the Other. The Other is the second person. We are talking about the educated third person begotten by the encounter between the self and the other" (Serres in Huyghe, 1993, p. 6). This "educated third" will blend together our multiple heritages and will integrate the laws; he/she will be the inventor of knowledge, the eternal traveler who cares about nature and his/her fellow human beings.

I call this Sage "le Tiers-Instruit," the Instructed Third, knowledge's troubadour: expert in formal or experimental knowledge, well-versed in the natural sciences of the inanimate and the living; at safe remove from the social sciences, with their critical rather than organic truths and their banal, commonplace information; referring actions to relations, direct human experience to surveys and documents, traveler in nature and society; lover of rivers, sands, winds, seas, and mountains; walker over the whole Earth; fascinated by different gestures as by diverse landscapes; solitary navigator of the Northwest Passage, those waters where scientific knowledge communicates, in rare and delicate ways, with the humanities... ceaselessly wandering across the span that separates hunger from surfeit, misery from wealth, shadow from light, mastery from servitude, home from abroad; knowing and valuing ignorance [...] finally, above all, burning with love for the Earth and humanity. (1995d, pp. 94-95)

Education is a mixture of cultures, a connection among the arts, sciences, and humanities. The educated third represents the value of tolerance for multiplicity and difference, the alliance between nature and humans and above all, of the future survival of human beings.

Implicit in the notion of the "troubadour of knowledge" is the belief in the potency of imagination and invention that subverts fixed, steady knowledges (and school curricula) and enacts his/her transitions across space and time without any teleological purposes. "Learn everything, certainly, but only in order to know nothing. Doubt in order to create," says Serres (1997, p. 98). Serres argues that teaching and learning should be about how to invent new knowledge, new alternatives in life. "This invention and the hope of it thus entice one to an adventure from which one does not return and that can be described in terms of exodus and not of method, of birth and crossbreeding, as wandering rather than as an itinerary or a curriculum" (1997, p. 99). In other words, it is crucial to provide the space and the opportunities to children to recover their imaginative and creative learning (what Egan calls "imaginative learning," 1992, p. 53). The failure to stimulate and develop the imagination in teaching and learning shapes education theory and practice. This means that the teachers' own use of imagination and creativity is an important aspect of teaching. Therefore,

The goal of instruction is the end of instruction, that is to say, invention. Invention is the only true intellectual act, the only act of intelligence. The rest? Copying, cheating, reproduction, laziness, convention, battle, sleep. Only discovery awakens. Only invention proves that one truly thinks what one thinks, whatever that may be. (Serres, 1997, p. 92-93)

Serres' philosophy and the education he pushes for are ones of invention—of the creation of concepts and connections—which is close to Deleuze's definition of philosophy (see Deleuze & Guattari, 1994). Imagination and invention are highly valued by Serres; thus, for him education is nonexistent and oppressive without aiming at invention. He writes:

I have passed enough of my life on warships and in lecture halls to testify before youth, which already knows, that there is no difference between the purely animal or hierarchical customs of the playground, military tactics, and academic conduct: the same terror reigns in the covered playground, in front of torpedo launchers, and on campus, this fear that can pass for the fundamental passion of intellectual workers, in the majestic shape of absolute knowledge, this phantom standing behind those who write at their table. I sense it and divine it, stinking, slimy, bestial, returning as regularly as the bell rang, opening and closing colloquia where eloquence vociferates in order to terrify speakers all around. (1997, p. 134).

Serres despises conformity, rules, and norms that exercise a form of intellectual terrorism on people, because these prescribed rules destroy creativity and imagination by imposing limits on what should be done in order to achieve something. It is invention that breathes life and excitement in learning, says Serres, not prescribed curriculum content with pre-assigned roles for teachers (who "teach") and students (who "learn"). All learn from each other. This is how people empathize with others; when they can "see" the other's point of view and travel with him/her in a different world from one's own. Imagination helps transcend conventional thinking and provide meaning to experience; teaching and learning which ignores imagination ignores a central component that will help learners to make meaning of their experience (i.e., enact Hermes' journeys, or the troubadour's travels).

One might argue that this image of the "troubadour" romanticizes the notion of instruction and learning. However, I believe that Serres' ideas resist romantic temptations, because first of all, he rejects the notion of any kind of center of knowledge and second, he warns us about the danger of the (global) threatening of localized epistemologies, the only possibilities that can make a real difference in practice. Serres is clearly against the fragmentation of knowledge that is responsible for reproducing power relations at the global level (the power accumulated by science on the expense of the arts is one example of this). His philosophy of communication and his conception of education are inspirations for educators in the arts and the sciences who want to provide opportunities to their students to have evocative learning experiences. The "troubadour of knowledge" is the future subject of our society and designates an inventive sort of becoming that travels across boundaries in order to discover new paths of transformations and translations of his/her experiences. The notion of interdisciplinarity, for instance, (at all levels of education) establishes the lost link between science and ethics, since one sees the wider implications of an act, a belief or a decision across artificial boundaries, as it really affects the lives of other peoples.

In this respect then, the "troubadour of knowledge" is an example of a "rhizomatic" knower—in Deleuze's (1987) terms—or a "hybrid" and a "cyborg"—in Haraway's (1991) terms—and represents an effort by Serres to define a political and ethical ontology that is not separated from other aspects of life. Such a description provides the foundations for a post-humanist view of subjectivity and education in which the "troubadour" refuses to be defined in terms of the "ex" prefix, as in the word ex-cluded.

This exclusion is a serious problem in education, as Serres says. When teachers or children are excluded from their own profession or from learning, respectively, education becomes a site of terror and isolation.

There are thousands of books on teaching that have never served any purpose other than to enable inspectors to terrorize teachers. No amount of teacher training can provide you with specific details about the individual pupils in such-and-such a class at such-and-such a time of day, and so the more specific the textbook, the more illusory it is. As far as teaching is concerned, giving practical instructions—advising teachers to get their pupils to read the newspapers, for instance—often amounts to giving abstract instructions. The reality consists of particular cases and particular types of pupil. Generally speaking, educational theory is middle-of-the-road, neither specific nor abstract. It is much less useful than it claims to be or is thought to be. The issue I am interested in is, what are the necessary conditions for learning? (Serres in Hughe, 1993, p. 6-7).

For Serres, then, the important question (as a philosopher) is to describe the conditions that make learning possible and not to prescribe the content of a curriculum or a set of rules children and teachers should follow; such an attitude will undoubtedly destroy people's creativity, excitement, and intuition.

Throughout his books, Serres argues for an intimate connection among wisdom, invention, and love. This connection is what needs to guide practical reasoning and action; thus, practical reasoning is open to doubts and uncertainties and rejects the dualisms of reason/emotion, theory/practice, sciences/arts and so on. Success in education depends on our wisdom about the ways of love. Therefore, wisdom (and philosophy) is not about knowledge, for even if one had all the knowledge in the world, one would not necessarily be wise about how to live his or her life. In fact, Serres says that with the development of science—and consequently, our knowledge—we have not become more wise or moral about how we treat each other and nature. The role of a good philosophy and a good education, according to Serres, is about helping people become wiser about loving and caring for each other and their world around them.

Looking at contemporary educational curricula, it seems that almost all subjects and objectives are cognitive and intellectual (Garrison, 1997). The sciences, arts, and humanities are taught as isolated subjects that aim at "disciplining" their followers into following predetermined rules and staying within their "normal" boundaries. But Serres emphasizes, "we are exchangers and brewers of time" (Serres, 1995b); the exchange is what defines us, not the modern definition of time (or "discipline") that bifurcates past from present, and sciences from arts/humanities. As exchangers we are "nomads"—as Deleuze (1987) says and Braidotti (1994) also reiterates—with new figurations of subjectivity that do not follow any prescribed hierarchies. Serres' vision of the "educated third" is a nomad who is always becoming, moving across established categories, "blurring boundaries without burning bridges," as Braidotti (1994, p. 4) says. bell hooks (1990) describes this kind of nomadic consciousness as "yearning." Yearning transcends boundaries of race, class, ethnicity and gender and builds on empathy and love for the construction of solidarity and coalition. In this respect, both hooks and Serres speak of a nomadic consciousness that has both epistemological and ethical/political implications and aims for an education founded on the wisdom of love.


The attempt has already been made, in the preceding discussion, to indicate some areas in which Serres' thought might connect to philosophy of education. Here some slightly more focused connections will be discussed, as these are relevant both to educational philosophy and educational practice in the arts and the sciences.

In the midst of various efforts for school reform around the world, there seem to be some things that never change. Subject matter is still most often taught in inflexible blocks, and facts and skills are further isolated from meaning and real life to be memorized in an unexcited manner (Jagla, 1994). Although at the beginning of the previous century John Dewey did an immense amount of work on the topics of wisdom, the education of practical reasoning, experiential learning and the encouragement of excitement and discovery, we enter the new century with the same problems as those in Dewey's time: our schools are boring places, the time for teaching arts is decreasing, there is no enthusiasm and excitement for learning as the children move from lower to upper grades, not to mention the increasing violence. What does Serres' views have to offer in all these?

I believe that Serres' views—especially those about invention and love in education—offer a number of ideas that problematize some of the contemporary educational ideals and help us move to more holistic ways of teaching and learning. First of all, Serres recognizes the importance of education (the way he defines it, i.e., in an organic, ecological manner) for the survival of humanity: "All we have is education," he states, "to make us adaptably prepared for the future" (1995b, p. 184). Ultimately, then, as he assures us elsewhere in his books (especially inThe Natural Contract), what is at stake is about being prepared for the future in order to survive. It is an issue of survival because with the growing technology and its use for committing more violence against our fellow human beings, there are not many options left. Serres suggests a new educational philosophy that aims at achieving more tolerance which does not exclude. Serres describes a holistic way of knowing through feeling, imagination, and invention, a way of knowing which leads, not to the possession of scientific facts, but to genuine insight that has moral significance.

Second, Serres proposes that to overcome evil and violence, educators in all areas need to pursue invention instead of imitation. His argument is that a pedagogy of invention goes against homogeneity that increases categorization and linear thinking. Linear thinking leads to absolute order and exclusion of the other; this is, in turn the root of evil (Assad, 1999). This is particularly important in art and science education where linear thinking shuts down imagination and creates minds that are incapable of problem solving. But Serres adds a new dimension to this by arguing that invention is not simply a cognitive issue but ultimately an ethical response to evil and violence. Serres' notion of a new time is linked to how invention works against evil, because his moral philosophy is enacted in a topological space that moves beyond linear boundaries of time. This new time connects people and discourses in a context of inventive freedom and promotes tolerance for the "different." In other words, by emphasizing invention, educators in the arts and the sciences promote more tolerance.

Third, Serres' views help us elaborate further the role that art and science education can play in promoting peace and justice. As he points out, we need to be prepared to learn from each other, even if, what others can "learn" us ("learn" here is used in a bi-directional way) is what it means to be poor and miserable. Serres considers us ethically responsible to protect the weakest and poorest; at the moment that there are other fellow human beings who are suffering in this world (primarily because the economical progress of the North does not come without a loss for the rest of the world) then it is as if we have forced them to stay poor and miserable with our actions, laws, and decisions. Such a perspective emphasizes the importance of caring and empathy that humans need to show for each other, if we are going to overcome violence and poverty in modern society. Many of us in the North think that there is nothing interesting or valuable to be learned from the countries of the South. The concept of technological and economic progress—as emerged especially after Second World War—became the primary driving force for human progress and a source of a great division between North and South. Rethinking the idea of progress—art and science education can help problematize "progress"—is necessary, if we want to establish a new, more holistic relationship among nature and ourselves. These views point to the role that art and science education can play in preparing the people for cooperation and peaceful coexistence.

Further, in Angels, Serres (1995a) argues for a conception of justice as mercy and pushes for the idea of justice that is based on equality of access and "the share of things." Justice, says Serres, is prior to judgment, reason and law where the human is defined as the being that "cries out in pity in the face of the poor tortured victim." In both Angels and The Troubadour of Knowledge, Serres re-defines philosophy as the love of wisdom and argues that philosophy is the wisdom of love: "Love is the sum of all philosophy," he says, echoing similar ideas expressed by Pascal, Rousseau and Levinas. There is not a reason why art and science educators cannot inspire their students to actualize their potential through passion, love, and desire for learning.

Fourth, Serres emphasizes that the wisdom of love needs humility and humans seem to forget the lessons from history about humility, i.e., he links love with the need for humility. This notion helps art and science educators put things in a wider perspective: promoting passion and love can actually bestow values of humility on students. Such feeling of humility is necessary, if one considers the history of the species on earth.

Species disappeared, and others, literally, were humbled. Those that survived remained because they renounced unique mastery, power and glory, the horrifying competition, when they were faced with the announcement of collective death that would immediately follow definite victory. In order to survive, then, in themselves and by themselves, they made this mute decision, tacitly imprinted in their coded gene. There lies the mark of their humility. (Serres, 1997, p. 88-89)

The arrogance that characterizes humans is evident in how we mistreat both each other and nature. This attitude is not unrelated to the power of reason and science that humans have accumulated since Enlightenment. Serres predicts that one day humans will learn their lesson.

Today, the animal seems to bend, humbled, before man. Our forgetting induces this stupid illusion [...] Too young, having arrived late, only a few million years old, we never acquired the memory of previous reigns: the era of the creeper, that of the spider, of the scarab, the reign of the mammoth, of the fly, or of the cow [...] Proud, arrogant, filled with power and glory or actively stretched toward them, homo humilis seems not to know that his destiny, written in his name (just as the primordial, final, and definitive decision of plants and animals is mutely inscribed in the genome of the species) will one day lead him to humble himself. (1997, p. 89).

Serres' stance against arrogance and the coming days where humans will be humbled is a call for peaceful democracy that is ethically based on love. At the end, says Serres, "[T]here is nothing real but love [of the world and one another], and no other law" (1995d, p. 50). Love signifies what people can become, if they are humble and care for each other. Serres' view sounds idealistic and reminds us of the education of "eros" in ancient Greece (see Garrison, 1997). Wisdom of love allows us to recognize what is valuable for others, the world, and ourselves. Serres implies that the supreme aim of philosophy and education is indeed love. It is from this thought that the theory of the "educated third" and the parasite emerges, traversing a path that can only be negotiated in an idealist language.

Fifth, Serres' views help educators in the sciences and the arts to question the very nature of knowledge, as it is structured and presented in school systems.

Our textbooks teach us very early on to separate those who study the humanities from those who manipulate slide rules, those who work with letters and texts from those who use numbers, those concerned with interpersonal relations from those concerned with the physical world. We have now institutionalized this separation in our universities by distinguishing between the faculty of arts (or letters, or humanities) and the faculty of sciences. (Harari & Bell, 1982, pp. xi-xii)

As a result of this bifurcation, we create, at least, two kinds of populations of learners: the "smart" children who are "inclined" to the sciences and will become scientists and engineers and the "not so smart" children, the artists and the humanists who lack scientific knowledge. Of course, Serres is not the first one to point out the gulf between the two populations as it continues to grow, especially as more and more specialization in the sciences becomes the canon. "Education today," says Serres, "produces scientists who, generally speaking, are ignorant outside their own fields, and cultured people who know nothing about science. Most of today's problems stem from the separation between these two groups" (Serres in Huyghe, 1993, p. 6). One wonders (with a great dose of sarcasm but genuine concern) whether with this rate of specialization we will soon reach the point where all humanist subjects will be extinct from science programs at the university level (and vice versa).

Further, Serres' views help educators (especially in the sciences) problematize the evolution of modern knowledge. Harrari and Bell (1982) discuss how the increasing complexity of the problems to be solved calls for more and more specialization (divisions, separations, territories, disciplines, schools of thought etc.). As Serres emphasizes, modern science has acquired its effectiveness precisely because of the growing specialization of knowledge. He observes that the division among the disciplines into very narrow areas is certainly one of the causes of the "success" of science. His criticism of the modern university—I would also include education at all levels starting from the elementary school to the university—is that its structure and organization perpetuates the artificial divisions between science and arts/humanities. Serres provides strong argumentation to educators who wish to find ways to subvert this evolution—e.g., through nurturing students' intuition.

Intuition, according to Serres, is one of the most significant characteristics of invention. "Do you want to talk about invention?" asks Serres. "It's impossible without that dazzling, obscure, and hard-to-define emotion called intuition. Intuition is, of all things in the world, the rarest, but most equally distributed among inventors--be they artists or scientists" (1995b, p. 99). Education has a basic responsibility for promoting the use of imagination, intuition, and emotion. Openness and creativity in a classroom provide experiences for both teachers and students to make the connections that Serres is talking about, connections that transcend the boundaries of school subjects and are constructed because one has the desire and passion to pursue an exciting idea and enjoys exploring it. Serres suggests that what is missing in education today are intuition, caring, invention and imagination. Although I hardly know anyone who disagrees on that, very few educators have the will or take action to make the transformations that will bring about dramatic changes.

Finally, Serres' perspective brings important ideas to educational practice. The consequences of his call for invention and imagination inevitably manifest a different kind of classroom. The art of teacher who wants to be inspired by Serres' ideas is to get to know his or her students and present the significance of Serres' recognition of multiplicity and imagination through writing poetry, creating fantasies, drawing, photography, songwriting, and dramatizing problems or situations as some media for stimulating imagination of alternatives (Brookfield, 1987). Immersion in a scientific or artistic experience can lead to imagining and inventing alternatives, especially for learners who normally think in linear problem-solving ways. Engaging learners' imaginations and encouraging invention are not simply a matter or technique. Teachers must themselves be emotionally engaged. As Egan writes: "[T]he call on teachers to construct affective images requires primarily that they vivify their own feelings with regard to the subject matter. This framework cannot be adequately used if planning is seen solely as a conceptual task; it has to bealso an affective task (1992, p. 113, author's emphasis). This requires the development of a broader view of professional practice, and above all, an empathetic understanding of the subject matter and the learner (Zembylas, 2002).


In the course of this article, I have shown the new opportunities that are open when educators in the arts and the sciences consider Serres' philosophy of the "educated third" and his views on a philosophy of communication. Serres' philosophy can be empowering for educators precisely for its potential to open up, through the encouragement of invention, intuition, imagination and emotion, spaces where alternative possibilities and forms of agency can be discovered both for educators and students. His views can be politically empowering too, because they aim at creating coalitions that respect differences and multiplicities while engendering transformations that build on empathy and caring. His notion of the "troubadour of knowledge" as well as his metaphors of Hermes, the parasite, and the angels provide a powerful vision for art and science education, one that is capable of freeing children and educators from the effects of dogmatism, one that can bring back to schools the lost liveliness and beauty of learning.

My deepest desire in writing this article about Serres' views and their implications in art and science education was to show how his pedagogy transforms our perception of teaching and learning. With Serres in mind, there are more possibilities to be perceived, inquired into, and actualized. Throughout his philosophy, Serres argues for an intimate connection among, learning, love, imagination, invention, peace, and justice. But above all, Serres reworks the taken-for-granted territories among the sciences, the arts, and the humanities and enhances our understanding in interpreting and freeing ourselves from contemporary educational ideals. He has created a conceptual landscape that is of immense richness, full of passion, emotional and intellectual daring. It may well be Serres as an "interdisciplinary" teacher that best represents his educational contribution into creating a new image of vitality in teaching and learning.

Note: For their insightful critical observations, I am indebted and thankful to the editors of the International Journal of Education and the Arts, Tom Barone and Liora Bresler, and to two anonymous reviewers. Their encouraging critical comments helped me explore fascinating connections of Serres' work with other philosophers and educators. They have my gratitude because their insights made this whole "adventure" of reading Serres so much more wonderful.


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About the Author

Michalinos Zembylas
Michigan State University

Michalinos Zembylas is an adjunct professor of teacher education at Michigan State University. His research interests are in the area of emotions in teaching and learning science and technology, science and technology studies, curriculum theory, international comparative science education, and postmodernism/poststructuralism. His research has been recently published in a variety of education journals including the Journal of Research in Science Teaching, International Journal of Science Education, Research in Science Education, Educational Theory, Journal of Curriculum Studies, Educational Philosophy and Theory, Teachers and Teaching: Theory Into Practice. He also contributed chapters to various edited collections.

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