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

By Warren Montag

Althusser and His Contemporaries alters and expands knowing of Louis Althusser and French philosophy of the Sixties and Seventies. millions of pages of formerly unpublished paintings from diverse classes of Althusser's occupation were made on hand in French given that his demise in 1990. in accordance with meticulous research of the philosopher's posthumous courses, in addition to his unpublished manuscripts, lecture notes, letters, and marginalia, Warren Montag offers a thoroughgoing reevaluation of Althusser's philosophical venture.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 used to be intensely engaged with the paintings of his contemporaries, fairly Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze, and Lacan. reading Althusser's philosophy as a sequence of encounters together with his peers' concept, Montag contends that Althusser's significant philosophical confrontations revolved round 3 topics: constitution, topic, and beginnings and endings. interpreting Althusser interpreting his contemporaries, Montag sheds new mild on structuralism, poststructuralism, and the intense second of French proposal within the Sixties and Seventies.

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22 Chapter One 2 Toward a Prehistory of Structuralism From Montesquieu to Dilthey There is no more accurate a gauge of the importance with which Althusser regarded the structuralist movement than the fact that he organized an entire year’s seminar on it. 2 It also, however, and perhaps even more importantly, reflected his excitement at contemporary developments in the sciences, social sciences, and in philosophy—his sense that his own work was part of a larger movement. Indeed, his voluminous correspondence with Franca Madonia, the Italian translator of Althusser and Lévi-­Strauss during the crucial years 1961– 68, reveals the eagerness with which Althusser devoured the monuments of structuralism.

Dilthey’s history is also a succession of epochs but without any origin or end. On the contrary, the intelligibility of a historical epoch can de derived from it alone, in precisely that inner unity to which all external manifestations can be reduced. If Dilthey thereby escapes one Hegel, he nevertheless runs headlong into another: Althusser’s Hegel, the Hegel whose (fortunate) failure to realize the teleology of spirit he hoped to establish resulted in the first and perhaps most coherent presentation of the synchronic-­diachronic opposition, making visible the impasse to which such an opposition must lead.

But while Althusser rejects in Aron exactly what Ricoeur singles out for a critique, he takes great pains to demonstrate that he does so for very different reasons. ” But what historian does not imagine that he or she has chosen objectivity? To call this choice transcendental rather than merely empirical, implying that it is the precondition of research only begs the question. ”7 Althusser dismisses this antimony (in which subjectivism and formalism coexist in perfect harmony) as a dilemma only for those who see science as the double of immediate experience rather than as the knowledge of the concrete, which among other things will make its transformation possible.

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