This essay addresses the mostly long-distance friendship between French philosopher Louis Althusser and Russian Georgian philosopher Merab Mamardashvili as a vantage point for exploring the question why, by the end of the 1960s, critical and projective thinking in the West (as represented by French theory) was taken up by antihumanist trends, while in communist Eastern Europe it began to unfold under the aegis of “man.” By taking up the threads of this problematic divergence, the essay aims to provide a focusing lens that sharpens but also delimits a vast issue which seems to be gathering momentum once again today: the issue concerning “man” vis-à-vis the shifting boundaries of the animal, the machine, and the divine.

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