Plastir Number 23 – 06/2011


Christine BARON is lecturer in general and compared literature at the University Paris III New Sorbonne (Paris) and has just been named professor at the University of Poitiers. Her work is centred on the hermeneutics, the theoretical relationships between philosophy and literature and the epistemological transfers between sciences and literatures. Specialized in contemporary Italian literature, she in particular deciphered the work of Italo Calvino and recently published two works in this epistemological field at The Harmattan editions: “The thought of the outside” which shows in what the literature, since always carrying a philosophical interrogation – even an authority of truth -, takes as a starting point the scientific models or the contemporary socio-historical approaches to work out new representations (2007), and “The literature and its other” where she analyzes “the formless a priori” as a literary concept developed by Borges and the members of Oulipo such as Calvino and Queneau (2009). In this article, she depicts these autonomous universes which interpenetrate, the paradigms which found them and their borders. In perfect coherence with the assertions of PSA, she makes the report that knowledges, whatever they are, cannot be isolated, read in a strictly disciplinary framework – here, literary -, required to establish formal or informal bridges with other philosophical, scientific or anthropological knowledges. Thus this extract: “However the literary history and the history of the theories of the literature teach us constantly that these others are not limited to being this knowledge about which one speaks, but the form even of the questioning which crosses them when in their presuppositions, even their methods, they maintain a close relationship to the literary statements, even the paradigms (formal, generic, historical, rhetorics) by which is defined the literature in a proximity such as it is sometimes difficult to disentangle the memberships and the genealogy of such or such concept however usually used and considered as operational” where Christine Baron specifies us from the start her position and introduced “the epistemological stakes and their paradoxes in the thought of the literary paradigms”. The literature does not make the other disciplines, but contributes to think them. It does not have only one value, rhetoric, heuristics (contextualisations), “modélisatrice” as in science with Sainte Beuve or mimetic – knowing that the author shows us very well the unthought-of the cognitive and social practices related to this imitation and their impacts on literary and university criticism -, but it contributes “to inform of poetic borrow of a “thought of the outside”, what means naturally open and in the middle of pluri- or even transdisciplinary stakes. Indeed, even if the author does not refer clearly to what crosses and exceeds the disciplines, this thought appears latent to us, at the same time in the text or account and his recurrences, the geopoetics of the places, the translitterary representations, the multi-levelled heuristic functions or in this “archistructure of any form of knowledge” detected by Ricoeur and Gadamer in the corpus of theoretical texts not properly literary but able to anchor common knowledge. Knowledge which materializes in the metaphor, the triangularity, the episteme, the crossed readings or the poetic ones, the stylistic devices, the scripturality finally, like genesic approaches of an omniscience with literary virtues. These geometries or these Geographies, as Christine Baron likes to describe them, lead us to once again question the process of the thought and the discovery (PLASTIR N°22): do the writer and the scientist follow an opposite intuitionalist course, as Proust in At the research of wasted time suggests it, to arrive at their ends ? Do they have, as already Lucrece or Aristote recommended it, and then many of our contemporary researchers, a common imaginary run systematically reinvested in their field of creativity? It is Calvino who gives the answer through these remarks of the author on his American Lessons: “Obviously, the literary statement engages by these choices a vision of science; that of a scientific knowledge which is less interested in what is than it does not try to even collect the process of the genesis in its dynamics (a cosmogony relates to the universe in constitution, not its completed form)” or, in this extract not describing in our eyes perfectly plasticity. Initially “obsessed by the idea that the world does not teach us anything and that only the words are carrying direction, it describes a change of road which leads it to think that the vocation of the literature consists in giving voice to what does not have a voice; the dumb world of the things, informs it matter, and perhaps more still than the matter itself its virtuality, that of the cell or the atom.” This Plasticity of the matter like rough material of the script writer makes us penetrate ‘full foot’ in the research area of Christine Baron on the process of writing: “[…] to say the materiality “of the inside” is to bet on the “outside”, the nonhuman one to evoke it Malayan existential by the object, it is to avoid gravity of introspection, to use the anthropomorphism like turning”. What naturally takes us along towards Queneau who affirms that the formal language of mathematics is autonomous and external with their own cognitive value or their field of competence insofar as they do not relate to reality. Autonomy which let it free from any reduction or dispute: the mathematical “true” is allowed by fact. If it is not the case of the whole disciplines, it arises that the single way of leaving the ‘literary totalitarism’ which would give an absolute cognitive value to the account or unjustified paradigmatic slips, is the confrontation of the knowledge through the words. And the author to quote Foucault or Bouveresse – in connection with Musil – as contemporary actors of “this third way of the relationship between knowledge and literature”, third which is expressed in the “mutual externality” of each one of these terms, without one not excluding or the other does not despoil.


Jean-Louis LE MOIGNE is engineer ECP, professor emeritus of sciences at the University of Aix-Marseilles III and chair European association of the program modelling of complexity (MCX). Becoming aware – with the rise of cybernetics and the artificial intelligence resulting from work of pioneers such as von Foerster, Bateson or Simon (PLASTIR n°22) – of the need for changing framework of reading, Jean Louis Moigne will urge in the years four twenties to develop new epistemologies known as constructivists, in other words not purely positivists, but suitable for the apprehension of the non-natural objects questioning all the fields of knowledge or the representation. Referring to Da Vinci, Vico, Piaget, Bachelard, Valéry and being combined with Morin for better determining complexity, he will attempt to thoroughly describe the bases of this new episteme on the methodological, economic and social, psychological, phenomenological and dialogical level , with a particular lighting on sciences of engineering, information and education where it is pregnant. Many didactic works (PUF, 1977 several times republished and 1999) or approaching in turn the rootings, the epistemology of the interdisciplinarity and the modelling of comprehension suitable for the constructivism (ESF, 1994, Harmattan, 2011 to 2003) will mark his researches which nothing but does naturally extend and approaches the ecology of the spirit, terrain de predilection of Ersnt von Glaserfeld who preaches an epistemology more radical constructivist. It is there that the ground of obstacle of this article is located where J.L. Moigne gives us historically to discover – the reader will discover the importance of the years 1973, 1988 and 1994 in the development of “this epistemological route” and of the intrication or the synchronicity of the knowledge which often makes advance the science – the way which led him to discover this author on the late, and all that connects him his reading of Piaget. In fact, the bond is obviously in the peremptory necessity to work out an epistemological strategy which answers and especially contextualise the new scientific currents, which integrates the subject in its complexity and knowledge in the same gnoseologic approach. It holds with the non-Cartesian nature of the paradigm constructivist of von Glaserfeld, with the fact that it is freed once for all from a “metaphysical realism” and that it defines intelligibility as auto-organized and auto-organizing. Thus he will clearly say “Not to consider knowledge more as the research of the iconic representation of an ontological reality, but as the search for manner of behaving and of thinking which is appropriate. Knowledge becomes something then that the organization built with an aim of creating intelligibility within the flow of the experiment”. von Glaserfeld adds to it an ethical dimension and a responsabilisation of the subject being opposed to realistic epistemologies and to “the radical legitimacy of the phenomenological assumption” prolonging and enriching the work of Piaget. It is on this phenomenology, this process agent since the origins of humanity, more than on the radicality of the epistemology of von Glaserfeld which the author will conclude following the example of Simon, Morin or Valéry, giving us to reflect on the building and the major nature of any knowledge.


Paulo NUNO MARTINS is PhD in epistemology, history and philosophy of sciences of the new University of Lisbon. He also has a training of engineer in chemistry and is graduate in Eastern languages (Japanese, Chinese, Arab and Russian). Member of the CIRET, he is now doing a post-doctorate in the Interuniversitary center of the history of sciences and technologies of the University of Lisbon. His approach is inscribed in the movement of “Visual arts” which extends from the cosmological models of the ancient world (From the Parthenon to the Hiparco-Ptolomeu) to the contemporary visualizations generated by computer of the life sciences. “Imagination is more important than knowledge”: Einstein will say. This quotation inaugurates the paper of the author by stressing the intersection between science and art, the genesis which led the individuals “to understand” the scientific knowledge through the ages, in particular by the means of their “imaginative vision” resulting from the allegorical description of the art, present at the same time in the Occidental cultures and Eastern. From the Renaissance with the De humani corporis fabrica to the influence of positivist philosophy of sciences of the XIXe century, in particular the theory of the species of Darwin, on realism, impressionism (Degas, Manet Renoir) and the post-impressionism (Van Gogh, Cézanne, Gauguin) until BioArt representative of the XXe century (Rapoport, Anker), the prototype of the beauty of Nature is everywhere, remains the eternal junction point between sciences and arts. Paulo Martins gives us obvious contemporary examples of them from the theory of the chaos to that of the Bing Bang, with zooms on the differential equations of Poincaré or the analyses of physicists like Maxwell, Weber, Eddington, Schrödinger, Einstein through their fundamental discoveries, in particular in quantum mechanics. Discoveries which upset the world, showed the creativity and the free will with work in the “invisible one”, in nature and their psychologico-philosophical counterpart. Indeed, the opposition between the doxa and the episteme, the unconscious mythical one and the conscious reality is it crippling? Is there a linear relation between scientific progress and progress of humanity? Obviously not, the author answers while being based on the archetypes of Jung or the theory of the thought (or conscious perception) initiated by Fechner then largely followed in aesthetics (Malevitch) as in science (Damasio). One cannot all quote. Thus still the influence of the interpretation of dreams of Freud on the cubists like Picasso and Braque (Mimesis), of the theory of the fractals on the expressionism, of the space with four dimensions of Minkowski on the surrealism of Breton or of the holographic universe of Bohm where “Space and Time” are projections of the thought conscious” to the theorem of Gödel. It is Eastern, Arab and in particular Indian philosophy with Sri Aurobindo which will have the last word in this article under the features of the “New alliance” of Prigogine with Arp, Chandrasekhar, the birth of Pop art or the “minimalists integrating the Eastern push in their most sumptuous creations like the Taj Mahal and sealing the seal of this bicephalous thought [Western and Eastern] expressed at the top by the poems of Tagore.


Claude BERNIOLLES  is a poet, graduated in Compared Right and followed a course in Letters and Philosophy while attending the courses and seminars of Yves Bonnefoy and Jacques Bouveresse at the Collège de France. In PLASTIR n°20, he had approached the philosophical thought of Wittgenstein through the drafting of the “Notebooks”. He is placed here in advised witness of the life of the Wittgenstein soldier during the war of 14-18 reported by Ray Monk. Monk which elutriates work through the man, makes us live and share “his philosophical interrogations” which emerge during the fights ‘le front’, his loneliness, his ethical and also suicidal thoughts, “his religious conversion” under the aegis of “the Gospel” of Tolstoï, the birth of the Tractatus also… Tractatus which could have remained a work of formal logic – all, “except the final remarks concerning ethics, aesthetics, the heart and the direction of the existence” – he says, if he were not loan of this humanity and this craving to be shown without being satisfied to say typical of Wittgenstein. Claude Berniolles seems to follow this logic sometimes actor, by showing us the genesis of the work through the notebooks of the Master, of his letters to his best friends, Pinsent, Russell, of his despair, his affects; sometimes reader or biographer by describing us the return of Wittgenstein in Cambridge after ‘le front. He described there in particular his verificationnist phase where he takes his distances with the Circle of Vienna by refuting the idea that mathematical logic is directly related to a “true” factuality objectively at the same time when Gödel stated its famous theorems of incompleteness. Many other topics like the language, the value of the theories, pragmatics, the teaching of philosophy, of his grammar – `grammar is the mirror of the reality’ -, of anthropology and the magic in opposition to Frazer or of his ‘Judaicity’ in connection with the project of autobiography of Wittgenstein are approached in turn under a literary or quasi-analytical angle sometimes. They reveal by the means of the little story (his meeting with Marguerite, his courses of Cambridge), of his humour, of language or writing jokes (the blue book), in his way of working (work in progress), the intimate side of his work, his metaphysics, which often underlies in an unperceivable way construction of the whole building.

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