Connecting the World and the Word: The Hard and the Soft in Michel Serres’s philosophy

history and philosophy of technology

This essay for the inaugural issue of Technology and Language builds on work in the philosophy of chemistry and materials science. Like these sciences, it begins in the middle of things and explores the condition of the mixt which precedes the scientific interest in purification. – The essay discusses the difference between the hard and the soft in the writings of Michel Serres. In the real world, there is nothing like hard, brute matter on one side, and soft information, codes, on the other. Not only the body is a system producing language out of noise and information, but everything in the world, whether natural or artificial, is emitting information. We live in an intricate mixt of hard and soft