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The Five Senses
A Philosophy of Mingled Bodies. Bloomsbury Revelations
Marginalized by the scientific age the lessons of the senses have been overtaken by the dominance of language and the information revolution. With The Five Senses Serres 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?
The book won the inaugural Prix Medicis Essai in 1985. The Revelations edition includes an introduction by Steven Connor.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
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. * Perspectives: International Postgraduate Journal of Philosophy * 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... * New Formations * There are then some wonderfully compelling, suggestive, and exciting passages in this book...a rich plea for a treatment of sensing as an always incomplete mixing of souls and objects. * Senses & Society *