No figure among the western Marxist theoreticians has loomed larger in the postwar period than Louis Althusser. A rebel against the Catholic tradition in which he was raised, Althusser studied philosophy and later joined both the faculty of the Ecole normal superieure and the French Communist Party in 1948. Viewed as a "structuralist Marxist," Althusser was as much admired for his independence of intellect as he was for his rigorous defense of Marx. The latter was best illustrated in For Marx (...) (1965), and Reading Capital (1968). These works, along with Lenin and Philosophy (1971) had an enormous influence on the New Left of the 1960s and continues to influence modern Marxist scholarship. This classic work, which to date has sold more than 30,000 copies, covers the range of Louis Althusser's interests and contributions in philosophy, economics, psychology, aesthetics, and political science. Marx, in Althusser's view, was subject in his earlier writings to the ruling ideology of his day. Thus for Althusser, the interpretation of Marx involves a repudiation of all efforts to draw from Marx's early writings a view of Marx as a "humanist" and "historicist." Lenin and Philosophy also contains Althusser's essay on Lenin's study of Hegel; a major essay on the state, "Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses," "Freud and Lacan: A letter on Art in Reply to Andre Daspre," and "Cremonini, Painter of the Abstract." The book opens with a 1968 interview in which Althusser discusses his personal, political, and intellectual history. (shrink)
Reply to John Lewis: Note on "The critique of the personality cult". Remark on the category "Process without a subject or goal(s)"--Elements of self-criticism: On the evolution of the young Marx.--Is it simple to be a Marxist in philosophy? "Something new".
Theory, theoretical practice, and theoretical formation -- On theoretical work -- Philosophy and the spontaneous philosophy of the scientists (1967) -- Lenin and philosophy -- Is it simple to be a Marxist in philosophy? -- The transformation of philosophy -- Marxism today.
With several never-before published writings, this volume gathers Althusser's major essays on psychoanalytic thought----documenting his intense and ambivalent relationship with Lacan, and dramatizing his intellectual journey and troubled ...
This text derives from a recording, and transcripts, of the introduction which Althusser gave on 6 December 1963, to a seminar for students in the École Normale Supérieure, Paris, offered at his invitation by Pierre Bourdieu and Jean-Claude Passeron. Althusser takes the opportunity to raise questions about the status of social science and suggests that Bourdieu and Passeron represent slightly different strands of contemporary research practice, partly as a result of their different formation and practice since themselves leaving the École. (...) Althusser first considers the relation between the human sciences and the traditionally instituted Faculty of Letters or Humanities. What is the origin of the compulsion to constitute a science of human relations? Given that the social sciences have established themselves, Althusser then tries to define their nature. He suggests that they have three forms: as abstract and general theory, as ethnology, and as empirical sociology. He discusses the pros and cons of each in some detail. Althusser then asks what are the features which constitute sciences and concludes that they must always possess discrete theoretical perspectives corresponding with discrete components of reality but must also possess an element of self-referentiality or, as he puts it, must be objects to themselves. Althusser suggests that his contemporary social sciences are not philosophically adequate by the criteria which he advances. He proceeds to introduce Bourdieu and Passeron in such a way as to invite consideration of whether their practices meet his criteria. (shrink)
The philosophical conjuncture and Marxist theoretical research -- On Lévi-Strauss -- Three notes on the theory of discourses -- On Feuerbach -- The historical task of Marxist philosophy -- The humanist controversy.