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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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.

WORKS

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

M. K. MAMARDASHVILI

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Humanism, in Althusser's texts, is revealed as an ideology, but not just that: it becomes visible, in the words of Warren Montag, as the ideological "sine qua non of capitalist society" (Louis Althusser 19).
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As part of his analysis, McLaughlin dialogues with essential scholars of the humanities, including Louis Althusser, Mikhail Bakhtin, Homi Bhabha, Ernest Bormann, and Michel Foucault.
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Behind Gramsci lay Marx's Eighteenth Brumaire and Lenin's Letters from Afar, read through Louis Althusser's 1962 essay 'Contradiction and Over-determination'.