Tagged: Althusser

Louis Althusser: Contradiction and Overdetermination

Althusser argues in this passage from the 1965 book “For Marx,” that the difference between Marx and Hegel is not just a reversal of the dialectical method from an idealistic to a materialistic use, as Hegelian Marxists like Lukács, Benjamin, and the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory have claimed. Althusser tries to show that Marx’s model of the dialectic is quite different than Hegel’s,  and he argues that Marx’s Opus Magnum, the “Kapital” from 1867, is a decisive epistemological break with Hegelian categories of thought.  In Althusser’s view, Marx tried to conceptualize the ‘social formation’ not in the Hegelian terms of an ‘expressive totality’ (see [easyazon_link...

Louis Althusser: Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses

In: Louis Althusser, “Lenin and Philosophy” and Other Essays. 1970 First published: in La Pensée, 1970. Translated: from the French by Ben Brewster; Source: Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays, Monthly Review Press 1971. On the Reproduction of the Conditions of Production I must now expose more fully something which was briefly glimpsed in my analysis when I spoke of the necessity to renew the means of production if production is to be possible. That was a passing hint. Now I shall consider it for itself. As Marx said, every child knows that a social formation which did not reproduce the...

Comments on Althusser

Althusser, who died in 1990, became a very influential French thinker – not only because he was a teacher for many intellectuals, but also because of his outspoken Marxist and anti-humanist opinions. He is known as a philosopher who tried to develop a structuralist version of Marxism. With the general demise of Marxist thinking, however, Althusser’s influence in the intellectual debates has faded away. For most of his life, he was an intellectual ally of the psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan, from whom he took some inspirations especially in regards to his theory of ideology. He was a very clear thinker who was not afraid to take a radical and critical position.

A Marxist Murderer

The  article about Louis Althusser quoted here from the Independent Magazine was written by Edward Fox, and published on 11 JULY 1992. The occasion was the publication of Althussers autobiography in 1991, where he tries to explain the murder of his wife. Her picture from 1957 is on the right.  I am reproducing this article here because it contains many interesting aspects of Althusser’s struggle with mental disease.  Source: http://www.edwardfox.f2s.com/althusser1.html. “The French literary world has observed with fascination and dismay in recent weeks the success of an unlikely bestseller: the posthumously published autobiography of the philosopher Louis Althusser, who died...

Louis Althusser – Philosophy as a Revolutionary Weapon

Interview with Maria Antonietta Macciocchi; February 1968; First Published: in L’Unità, 1968, this translation first published in New Left Review, 1971; 1 Can you tell us a little about your personal history? What brought you to Marxist philosophy? In 1948, when I was 30, I became a teacher of philosophy and joined the PCF. Philosophy was an interest; I was trying to make it in my profession. Politics was a passion; I was trying to become a Communist militant. My interest in philosophy was aroused by materialism and its critical function: for scientific knowledge, against all the mystifications of ideological...

Louis Althusser

…the teeming fish of the unconscious, which men call dumb because it speaks even when they sleep.” Althusser, in: Freud and Lacan. Biography (Quoted from Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.) “Louis Althusser was born on October 16th, 1918 in Birmandreis, a suburb of Algiers. Hailing from Alsace on his father’s side of the family, his grandparents were pieds noirs, or French citizens who had chosen to settle in Algeria. At the time of his birth, Althusser’s father was a lieutenant in the French Military. After this service was up, his father returned to Algiers and to his work as a banker....