Philosophy and the Spontaneous Philosophy of the Scientists

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The publication in 1965 of For Marx and Reading Capital established Louis Althusser as one of the most original and controversial figures in the Western Marxist tradition; a thinker whose renewal of Marxism was to enjoy great influence over the next decade.

Collected here are Althusser's most significant philosophical writings from 1965 to 1978; the majority previously untranslated. Intended to contribute, in his own words, to a "left-wing critique of Stalinism that would help put some substance back into the revolutionary project here in the West," they are the record of a shared history. At the same time they chart Althusser's critique of the theoretical system unveiled in his own major works, and his developing practice of philosophy as a "revolutionary weapon."

The collection opens with two lucid early articles--"Theory, Theoretical Practice and Theoretical Formation" and "On Theoretical Work." The title piece--Althusser's celebrated lectures in the "Philosophy Course for Scientists"--is the fullest exploration of his new definition of philosophy as politics in the realm of theory; a conception which is further developed in "Lenin and Philosophy." "Is it Simple to be a Marxist in Philosophy?" provides an invaluable account of Althusser's intellectual development. The volume concludes with two little-known late pieces--"The Transformation of Philosophy," in which the paradoxical history of Marxist philosophy is investigated; and "Marxism Today," a sober balance-sheet of the Marxist tradition.

Attesting to the unique place which Althusser has occupied in modern intellectual history--between a tradition of Marxism which he sought to reconstruct, and a "post-Marxism" which has eclipsed its predecessor--these texts are indispensable reading.

ISBN: 
9781844677894
Author: 
Publisher: 
Binding: 
Paperback
Publication Date: 
January 16, 2012