Collapse Volume V, 501–548


Errancies of the Human

French Philosophies of Nature and the Overturning of the Copernican Revolution


It is customarily maintained that the Copernican revolution dealt a sort of originary blow to the narcissistic human self-image that had endured for two thousand years. According to Freud, after Copernicus man would have ceased to position himself at the centre of the universe; after Darwin, to position himself at the centre of living nature; and after the psychoanalytic revolution, to position himself at the centre of himself. Within the horizon of contemporary philosophy, it is perhaps the French philosophies of the sixties which radicalised, in a materialist direction, this critique of the anthropocentrism cosubstantial with the Western metaphysical tradition, supplementing Freud’s interpretation of the Copernican revolution with the lessons drawn from the other ‘masters of suspicion’, Marx and Nietzsche…