Louis Althusser

Louis Althusser 1918 -1990 was a Frenchman and a Marxist born in Algeria. He claimed that he was deeply psychologically damaged over some trifle. He was in the army and got captured so he spent the rest of the war lounging around in a POW camp while better men broke out and took the war to the enemy. Afterwards he took up with some Jewish scrubber nearly old enough to be his mother until he murdered her. He got stuck in a lunatic asylum for a few years which was better than meeting Madame la Guillotine. He abandoned Holy Mother Church and became a Communist and the lead ideologue of the PCF.

His thought can be reasonably described as incoherent tosh which was sufficiently convoluted to fool other patter merchants. He influenced Michel Foucault which says nothing for the good sense of either.

Several of Althusser's theoretical positions have remained very influential in Marxist philosophy, though he sometimes overstated his arguments deliberately in order to provoke controversy. Althusser's essay On the Young Marx proposes that there is a great "epistemological break" between Marx's early, Hegelian writings and his later, properly Marxist texts. His essay "Marxism and Humanism" is a strong statement of anti-humanism in Marxist theory, condemning ideas like "human potential" and "species-being," which are often put forth by Marxists, as outgrowths of a bourgeois ideology of "humanity." His essay "Contradiction and Overdetermination" borrows the concept of overdetermination from psychoanalysis, in order to replace the idea of "contradiction" with a more complex model of multiple causality in political situations (an idea closely related to Antonio Gramsci's concept of hegemony).

If you think that is worth understanding that is up to you. Gramsci did at least make sense. He was malicious and a destroyer. The author of the Wikipedia's offering takes the man and his waffle seriously. See for yourself at Louis Althusser


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Updated on Wednesday, 18 July 2012 18:38:33