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#Serres - from The Origin of Geometry

What we have left of all this history presents nothing but two languages as such, narratives or legends and proofs or figures, words and formulas. Thus it is as if we were confronted by two parallel lines which, as is well known, never meet. The origin constantly recedes, inaccessible, irretrievable. The problem is open.

I have tried to resolve this question three times. First, by immersing it in the technology of communications. When two speakers have a dialogue or a dispute, the channel that connects them must be drawn by a diagram with four poles, a complete square equipped with its two diagonals. However loud or irreconcilable their quarrel, however calm or tranquil their agreement, they are linked, in fact, twice: they need, first of all, a certain intersection of their repertoires, without which they would remain strangers; they then band together against the noise which blocks the communication channel. These two conditions are necessary to the diaIogue, though not sufficient. Consequently, the two speakers have a common interest in excluding a third man and including a fourth, both of whom are prosopopoeias of the,powers of noise or of the instance of intersection.(1) <#1>Now this schema functions in exactly this manner in Plato’s /Dialogues/, as can easily be shown, through the play of people and their naming, /their resemblances and differences/, their mimetic preoccupations and the dynamics of their violence. Now then, and above all, the mathematical sites, from the /Meno /through the /Timaeus/, by way of the /Statesman /and others, are all reducible geometrically to this diagram. Whence the origin appears, we pass from one language to another, the language said to be natural presupposes a dialectical schema, and this schema, drawn or written in the sand, as such, is the first of the geometric idealities. Mathematics presents itself as a successful dialogue or a communication which rigorously dominates its repertoire and is maximally purged of noise. Of course, it is not that simple. The irrational and the unspeakable lie in the details; listening always requires collating; there is always a leftover or a residue, indefinitely. But then, the schema remains open, and history possible. The philosophy of Plato, in its presentation and its models, is therefore inaugural, or better yet, it seizes the inaugural moment.

// oAnth - original URL at driftwork.tumblr

Reposted from02myhumsci-01 02myhumsci-01

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