Althusser and His Contemporaries: Philosophy’s Perpetual War by Warren Montag

By Warren Montag

Althusser and His Contemporaries alters and expands realizing of Louis Althusser and French philosophy of the Nineteen Sixties and Seventies. millions of pages of formerly unpublished paintings from varied classes of Althusser's profession were made to be had in French seeing that his dying in 1990. in accordance with meticulous examine of the philosopher's posthumous courses, in addition to his unpublished manuscripts, lecture notes, letters, and marginalia, Warren Montag offers a thoroughgoing reevaluation of Althusser's philosophical venture.

Montag exhibits that the theorist was once intensely engaged with the paintings of his contemporaries, quite Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze, and Lacan. analyzing Althusser's philosophy as a sequence of encounters along with his peers' concept, Montag contends that Althusser's significant philosophical confrontations revolved round 3 subject matters: constitution, topic, and beginnings and endings. interpreting Althusser analyzing his contemporaries, Montag sheds new mild on structuralism, poststructuralism, and the intense second of French proposal within the Nineteen Sixties and Seventies.

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The Hegel of “Contradiction and Overdetermination,” written a few months before the beginning of the seminar, is well known: if not a caricature of Hegel, even a brilliant and eloquent caricature, it is the Hegel of the famous programmatic statements in the preface to the Phenomenology of Spirit, that is, precisely Hegel taken at his word rather than at his work. ”19 Althusser’s objective during this period was, as is well known, not to “read” Hegel but Marx, to read Marx’s relation to Hegel or even to the Hegel-­in-­Marx, the Hegelian survivals that haunted Marx’s materialist dialectic.

In fact, when we turn to Althusser’s Montesquieu: Politics and History published in 1959, and thus several years before the seminar took place, it is possible to read the work not simply as textual analysis (even one in which Althusser performs a symptomatic reading) but also, as might be expected from the author, as the taking of a position through Montesquieu in the theoretical conflicts of the time. Althusser’s identification in 1962 of Montesquieu as the founding moment of structuralism’s prehistory makes visible the way in which his analysis of some of Montesquieu’s key concepts, notably those of law, spirit, nature, and principle, is simultaneously a meditation on what he will later explicitly identify as the central problems of structuralism.

32 It was precisely the idea of a subjective totality that made historicism a tempting alternative (and therefore a dangerous adversary) to the depthless “naturalism” that converted even spiritual, intellectual realities into reified empirically determinable facts like any others. Dilthey recognized that human history or geistige history necessitated a different kind of knowledge. 34 It is an Ur-­struktur not only because it is the structure of all structures but because it makes possible the thinking of its own origin, the structural a priori of all historicity, genesis, and becoming.

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