This paper examines the figure of silence in the works of Michel Serres and Simone Weil. It argues that, in the spirit of Serres and Weil, our time of crisis calls not for a short-term response, but for long-term engagement in a dialectics of silence: the dialogical movement between the silencing of institutions and the attentive silence of visionary insights. Such dialectics can revalidate the value of institutional silencing if based on solid rational proof (rebutting so-called visionary ideas that are baseless) while simultaneously showing the value of visionary ideas that rightfully combat problematic institutional silencing. Especially in this current moment, in which science and scientific propositions are relentlessly questioned, there is a need to lean into silence so as to promote a productive dialogue that regains trust in proven scientific ideas and institutions while allowing visionary insights their place as well, provided that we are willing to test them.
About the author
Marjolein Oele is a professor of philosophy at the University of San Francisco and was trained as an MD at the Free University of Amsterdam. She has a master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Amsterdam and received her PhD in philosophy in 2007 from Loyola University Chicago