Louis Althusser

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Althusser, Louis


Born Oct. 16, 1918, in Algiers. French Marxist philosopher and member of the French Communist Party. Professor at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris. Writer of essays on the history of philosophy, the theory of knowledge, and dialectical and historical materialism. (The collection, For Marx, 1965, which contains Althusser’s historical and philosophical writings; To Read “Capital,” 1965, written with J. Rancière and P. Macherey.)

Althusser treats the problems of the dialectic as logic, primarily on the basis of an analysis of the conceptual philosophic structure of Capital. He concentrates his attention on the theoretical and cognitive tasks that arise in studying the structure of integrated developing systems. He stresses the radical novelty of Marx’s method of thinking, distinguishing it sharply both from the Hegelian method (he rejects the formula “Hegel stood on his head” as the characteristic of the relationship between Marx and Hegel) and from the humanistic anthropological interpretation of Marxism. Althusser’s views are usually regarded as similar to the ideas of structuralism. Althusser and his co-workers are also elaborating a theory of knowledge (a so-called historical epistemology) and a theory of historicophilosophical method.


Lire le Capital, vol. 1–2. Paris, 1965. (With J. Rancière and P. Macherey.)
Pour Marx, 2nd ed. Paris, 1966.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
In what follows, it will become clear that we can characterize this difference as more than just the result of the notorious Althusserian "semi- autonomy" of each field.
These readers, by extending elements of the anti-humanist theoretical program outlined in For Marx, Reading Capital, and other Althusserian texts to a study of Borges, identify key deficiencies in previous studies of Borges, and lay the groundwork for a very different sort of reading of his texts than left-wing readers in previous decades had been capable of producing.
Strathausen demonstrates here how the Althusserian school of historical materialism bears much in common with Richard Dawkins' version of genetics: 'much like the selfish gene ...
Mowitt's (2002) Althusserian coinage, "musical interpellation," is helpful here.
It is nothing new that newspapers or other mainstream media, for that matter, can act as the Althusserian ideological state apparatus, especially in nations where the press is owned, controlled, and/or operated by the state.
What is initially striking about Sadr Haghighian's Empire of the Senseless suite is how the works cannily implicate the viewer's body, like low-budget versions of Random International's Rain Room, 2012, devised by someone more concerned with Althusserian interpellation than simulated condensation.
The film alludes to an Althusserian education system that interpellates Cuban citizens into their "proper" positions in society.
Here Jaffe finds an intriguing overlap of Victorian conceptions of "epistemological history" and Althusser's later ideological theory (4); she contends that together the novels and the critical tradition have repeatedly recognized--or hailed in Althusserian fashion--a number of features as definitive of realist fiction and thus have worked together to construct "a fantasy of the real" that persists beyond the Victorian period (5).
The main thread in this work is the evaluation and impact of Thompson's The Poverty of Theory and Other Essays, which luckily includes a full comment on those 'other' texts which complement this famous sharp response to the althusserian marxist method and its adherents in Britain.
In other words, he will refrain from using Diyanet as an Althusserian ideological apparatus for social engineering and brainwashing purposes.