Althusserian Essay Future In Marxist Materialism Postmodern Theory Tradition

Althusserian Essay Future In Marxist Materialism Postmodern Theory Tradition-42
While the youthful philosopher imagined a project in which alienated human essence could finally return to itself, the battle-hardened communist thought in terms of a mode of production grounded on the antagonistic struggle between classes.

While the youthful philosopher imagined a project in which alienated human essence could finally return to itself, the battle-hardened communist thought in terms of a mode of production grounded on the antagonistic struggle between classes.

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In terms of Marx’s texts, this meant moving back from the economism/technologism of the 1859 “Preface” to : dialectical materialism was the worldview of the proletariat, the universal class, and it therefore represented the subject and goal of history.

Fittingly, the postwar philosophy of the bureaucracy was a sublation of this earlier dissent.

The Second International, oriented by Kautsky and Plekhanov and grounded in Engels’s , developed a form of dialectical and historical materialism that viewed history as an evolutionary process driven by technological development, which would ultimately result in socialism.

Despite its attempt to pass itself off as a scientific philosophy of nature against Hegelian idealism, the teleology of the Second International, which would eventually be reproduced by the Third, actually represented an impoverished Hegel.

For the PCF the humanism of the young Marx was not only the truth of Marxist theory; it had practical utility as a basis for uniting with Catholics and social democrats, on display in the Party’s support for Mitterrand’s campaign in 1965.

The problem was that this new humanism was everywhere.

But knowledge could be ideological or scientific; Marxist philosophy was the “theory of theoretical practice,” finally capable of sifting through the history of science and its ruptures, distinguishing between ideological and scientific knowledge.

At the same time, Althusser intervened against the dominant reading of Marx’s critique of political economy through the theoretical practice of as a political economy in its own right, a correction and completion of the work of Adam Smith and David Ricardo, Althusser and his colleagues emphasized Marx’s scientific revolution.

What follows will not only introduce “On Marxist Thought,” contextualize it, and provide the beginnings of a close reading, but will also attempt to reconstruct Althusser’s own theoretical development from the ground up.

We are taking this opportunity to reanimate a sorely misunderstood thinker, trace his trajectory, and draw out the contemporary political implications of his theory.

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