A diagrammatic snapshot of French philosophy from Magazine Littéraire, September 1977

Today I was given a copy of this edition of the Magazine Littéraire from September 1977 (thank you Philip).

Magazine littéraire - vingt ans de philosophie en France

Its centrefold is a diagram seeking to represent flows of influence between contemporary philosophers. The table provides a fascinating snapshot…

  • Marx is top and centre, flanked by Freud and Nietzsche.
  • Influences are split between the two poles of ancient Greece and German idealism.
  • No Beauvoir (no women at all!), no Camus. Merleau-Ponty and Sartre are supposed to have influenced each other (there is no way of representing mutual antipathy here, though a diagram of philosophical rivalries would be a fascinating project for someone…).
  • The generation of the 1960s-1980s includes Axelos, Althusser, Desanti, Serres, Foucault, Deleuze, Lyotard, Derrida and Barthes.
  • The latest generation to be represented reads like the betting card of a punter who backs a winner one time out of every two: Balibar, Lecourt, Glucksmann, Dollé, Benoist, Jambet-and-Lardreau, Lévy. The nouveaux philosophes really were the next big thing.
  • Derrida is given no relation to Husserl or Nietzsche; only Saussure and Heidegger figure in his line of descent.
  • No Badiou at this time, of course, and no Rancière.

inter-influences de la philosophie contemporaine

Michel Serres is situated squarely as a philosopher of science, his major influences being Bachelard, Canguilhem and Lévi-Strauss. This is reflected in the article on him in the volume, which insists that philosophical reflection on scientific practice “has a new and essential place in France”.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

2 thoughts on “A diagrammatic snapshot of French philosophy from Magazine Littéraire, September 1977

Comments are closed.