Collapse Volume V, 119–134

Chapter

Shadows of Copernicanism

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EXCERPT

For the best part of five centuries the Copernican revolution has served as a virtually inexhaustible source of philosophical and existential disquiet. Undoubtedly, we have yet to fully adjust our spontaneous image of reality to accord with our displacement from its centre. Yet Copernicus and Kepler retained the Sun as the unique centre. If later developments showed the Sun to be only one of trillions of stars, recent observations even show that singular stars are the exception rather than the rule: The unicity of our Sun is mere cosmic happenstance, in a universe where binary star systems are more common, many capable of supporting Earth-like planets. Considering the overwhelmingly heliotropic tendency of the philosophical imaginary, from Plato to Heidegger, how might our image of thought be disrupted by the loss of the unicity of the Sun, of the object’s shadow, of tomorrow’s sunrise…