Métaphysique d’un bord de mer


Métaphysique d’un bord de mer, Paris, Editions du Cerf, 2016

How was the seaside invented, the seaside as paradise? How did a territory of emptiness become a small paradise ? It is a historical construction. This essay, centered on a seaside resort in the South West of France, Arcachon, collects various texts, dating from the 18th century up to the present period, describing the same place in widely different terms. But its focus is not historical. The problem is rather to reflect on the positions of objets, and particularly ill-defined objects such as the sea, or the beach, that can be so completely transformed by social rituals (such as bathing) and literature. Moreover, it appears that the usual concepts of philosophy (from Descartes to Heidegger) are essentially related to the Earth, and are inadequate to translate the moving, the fluctuating seaside : a space in which no tree of science can be rooted, a space through which one can not walk, count her steps and measure distances, where there is no point of reference. Philosophical concepts must be diverted, used against themselves. The seaside seems to call for another metaphysics, which remains to be elaborated.

A polyphonic book, constructed in fragments, where everyone can enter as they wish, at the season of their choice, according to their mood or their tastes, just as one can spend a weekend at the sea in winter, or stay there for a whole month in summer. These fragments are interwoven with stories, childhood memories or portraits of historical characters, analysis of literary texts and a more theoretical reflection on the concepts and status of metaphysics. They are organized in a chronicle of a year at the seaside. Another way of doing philosophy.