At present, Althusser’s philosophy as a whole is undergoing a contradiction, uneven development, and overdetermination is that of the. In Althusser the need for a concept of overdetermination appears in Marxism at the point where the ideology of simple and general contradictions is undermined . Abstract, This article has no associated abstract. (fix it). Keywords, No keywords specified (fix it). Categories. Louis Althusser in Continental Philosophy.

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And how many peremptory attacks on economism there are to counterbalance that well-thumbed piece on the steam engine! Althusser and His Contemporaries: Presses Universitaires de France, 87— But such an inversion in sense would in fact leave the dialectic untouched. This overdetermination is inevitable and thinkable as soon as the real existence of the forms of the superstructure and of the national and international conjuncture has been recognised — an existence largely specific and autonomous, and therefore irreducible to a pure phenomenon.

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Jaroslav Krejci – – History of European Ideas 8 3: This weakness was the product of this special feature: And how else could the ruling classes aristocrats, big bourgeois, industrial bourgeois, finance bourgeois, etc. Eliminativism, Interventionism and the Overdetermination Argument.

Political practice, Althusser maintained, was mostly motivated by ideological understandings of what the good is and how to accomplish it. Whereas Althusser had known only home, school, and P. Althusser himself gives examples of three such major transformations. In two short essays from on Marxist philosophy, this switch is fully apparent.

That the concepts Althusser derived from his symptomatic reading of Marx, Lenin, and Mao were Marxist concepts was avowed. If it is possible, in principle, to reduce the totalitythe infinite diversity, of a historically given society Greece, Rome, the Holy Roman Empire, England, and so on to a simple internal principle, this very simplicity can be reflected in the contradiction to which it thereby acquires a right.


In the philosophy of sciencethis means that more evidence is available than is necessary to justify a conclusion. What is the essence of this practical experience and the reflections it inspired in Lenin?

As Althusser understands them, whatever conceptions we have of the nature of human beings or about the proper function of the state are historically generated and serve to contradictionn existing social relations. I could go further, and suggest that in the well-known passage: This page was last edited on 6 Aprilat There are patterns and orders to historical life and there is historical change.


It is simply to invert the relation of the terms and thus to retain them: But it is not just the terms which change, it is also their relations themselves. Of these frameworks, Marx was not fully conscious.

The Detour of TheoryNew York: Already, even in defeat, the Revolution had demonstrated and measured the weakness of Tsarist Russia.

Richards used the idea of overdetermination to explain the importance of ambiguity in rhetoricthe philosophy of languageand literary criticism.

Appendix Althusser Internet Archive. However, there is no necessity to any of these transformations and history does not necessarily progress.

Montesquieu and Feuerbach 3. He also managed to write an autobiography, a text he averred was intended to provide the explanation for the murder of his wife that he was never able to provide in court.

Louis Althusser, Contradiction and overdetermination – PhilPapers

However, they do so only when the contradictions and levels of development inherent in a mode of production allow for such change.

A critical ReaderOxford: Presses Universitaires de France. Just as at the dawn of Human History the first stammerings of the Oriental Spirit — joyous captive of the giants of the sky, the sea and the desert, and then of its own stone bestiary — already betrayed the unconscious presage of the future achievements of the Absolute Spirit, so in each instant of Time the past survives in the form of a memory of what it has been; that is, as the whispered promise of its present.


Given his mental state, his frequent institutionalizations, his anomie, and the drugs he was prescribed, these were not very productive years.

Both also anticipate future concerns in their speculations about alghusser ideological character of current scientific knowledge and in their incorporation of ideas from Mao about the relationship between theory and practice. One of the ideas borrowed from Spinoza was the contention that texts and authors are cotradiction products of their times and that the thoughts authors set down on the page cannot help but be a part of, and be affected by, the ideological currents that accompany and allow for the satisfaction of needs in a specific era.

In other words, they are ideological. Classic Work — With qlthusser perspective afforded by the mass of posthumous writings published since the s, it has become clear that Althusser was perennially concerned with important issues in metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of science, historiography, hermeneutics, and political philosophy. But this raises the ghost of the Hegelian model again — not of its abstract model of contradiction, but of the concrete model of the conception of history reflected in it.

In addition to Marx, the philosophers that he cites as being part of this underground tradition include Democritus, Epicurus, Lucretius, Machiavelli, Spinoza, Hobbes, Rousseau, Montesquieu, Heidegger, and Wittgenstein. For others, they simply revealed his project as a whole to be untenable and self-contradictory. These included the Humanist interpretations of Marx described above as well as variations on the orthodox Marxist-Leninist theory, which specified the strict determination of culture and history by the existing modes of economic exchange and resulting class struggles.